ADFG announced today the preliminary GHL for the 2012 Sitka Sound Sac Roe herring fishery is 29,208 tons based on a 20% harvest rate of a forecast biomass of 145,042 tons. The 2011 commercial sac roe herring harvest was 19,430 tons.
Senator Murkowski and Don Young work Together to block National Park Service from Conducting Boating Safety Checks
The following Press Release was issued December 15th by Senator Murkowski’s Office
Bill Blocks National Park Service (NPS) from Conducting Boating Checks on State Waters
Senator Murkowski: “Park Service Rangers Are Not the Coast Guard”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Lisa Murkowski today announced that the 2012 Interior Appropriations bill includes language restricting the National Park Service’s authority to conduct boater safety checks within the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.
“Congressman Young and I worked together to craft this language to address the growing frustration Alaskans have with the unprecedented overreach of federal land managers,” Murkowski said. “Park Service rangers are not the Coast Guard.”
The provision prohibits the National Park Service from enforcing boating regulations on the Yukon River within the Yukon-Charley National Preserve. Instead, it properly leaves the authority to conduct boater safety and registration checks to the U.S. Coast Guard and Alaska State Troopers.
The legislation was prompted by an ongoing dispute between the state and federal government over jurisdiction on state waterways within federal land management units that arose out of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980. Murkowski said the dispute reached a tipping point in September 2010 with the arrest of a 71-year-old boater on the Yukon River in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.
“While this does not resolve the underlying jurisdictional dispute between the state and federal government over who has authority over navigable waters within Alaska’s federal park units, it does eliminate the possibility of future confrontations between boaters and rangers,” Murkowski said. “It is my hope that this will free up the Park Service to work on land-based recreational issues within the preserve.”
The language was anticipated to be included in an omnibus package this week. In an unexpected development, the appropriations bills were unveiled as stand-alone legislation in the House of Representatives early Thursday morning. The Senate is expected to introduce companion legislation soon, though final passage is not assured.
In August, Murkowski held a roundtable discussion in Fairbanks on limits to federal jurisdiction on state waters. In addition, the state has sued the federal government, asserting that the Alaska Statehood Act and ANILCA give it sole jurisdiction over all navigable waters, even those that pass through federal lands.
ADFG announced December 9th the following information concerning the preseason forecast for king salmon returning to the Stikine River in 2012.
The 2012 preseason terminal run forecast for large Stikine River King Salmon is 40,800 fish. The resulting US Allowable Catch (AC) is 5,890 large Stikine Kings. An AC of 5,890 fish allows for limited directed commercial fisheris to occur in District 8 beginning May 7. News Releases announcing specific opening times and areas will be released in mid-April, 2012. The 2012 preseason forecast marks the first forecast since 2008 that allows for directed commercial fisheries in District 8.
After 27 testifiers during public comment on the Halibut Catch Share Issues (CSP) this afternoon a motion was made by Bill Tweit (WA) that the Council continue support for implementation of the CSP as the best approach to resolve longstanding allocation and management issues between the commercial and charter halibut sectors. How long this process will take is still unknown. It is more likely that their will be halibut issues on the April Council agenda to review agency & staff progress on the CSP motion. It is unknown until staff tasking is over tomorrow if there will be halibut issues on the Feb. council agenda.
The motion read:
The Council continues to support implementation of the Halibut Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) as the best approach to resolve longstanding allocation and management issues between the commercial and charter halibut sectors, as currently identified in the CSP Problem Statement.
The Council also recognizes that there are deficiencies in the current analysis that must be addressed before implementation can take place. Additionally, since 2008, changes in halibut management and the condition of the halibut stock have occurred, which will impact the effective implementation of the CSP as envisioned by the Council.
MOTION: (for this section you must refer to the NMFS report
The Council provides the following policy guidance to NMFS on issues raised during the public comment period on the Halibut CSP Proposed Rule.
Comment 1: At this time the Council continues to support the implementation of the CSP concurrently in Areas 2C and 3A. Supplemental analysis of and revisions to the CSP being requested in this motion are applicable to both management areas.
Comment 2: The Council agrees with NMFS suggested response regarding the proposed method to adjust charter harvest estimates from the ADFG mail survey using the non-GAF proportion of charter harvest reported in logbooks under the CSP.
Comment 3: The Council recommends using Method 3 (length measurement) to convert IFQ to GAF and for calculating an average GAF weight.
Comment 4: The Council recommends that the provision allowing charter operator to return GAF to an IFQ holder at any time during the season be removed from the CSP and that CSP retain the mandatory return date.
Comment 5: The Council agrees with NMFS suggested response regarding the rationale for believing that charter overages and underages will balance out over time.
Comment 6: The Council agrees with NMFS suggested response regarding the rationale for the range of +/- 3.5% around the harvest projections.
The Council requests additional analysis and revisions to the Halibut CSP that more specifically address a variety of public comments as outlined in the NMFS CSP report:
• Add a description of the status quo GHL allocations, such as a table of the stair step GHLs under different Total Area CEY’s, and a comparison of the way in which annual allocations are made to the charter sector under both the GHL and the CSP.
• Revise the analysis so that it incorporates allocations at lower levels of abundance, and assesses the economic impacts, to the extent practicable, of the full range of allocations. Data from recent years should be used to determine what the charter and commercial allocations would have been under the CSP, and what management measures would have been in place.
• Add other indices to the analysis to describe the economic condition of the charter and commercial sectors over the last ten years. Examples for a typical charter and longline business in 2C and 3A could be provided. For the commercial sector, examples could include changes in QS prices and annual QS value, ex-vessel prices, and annual revenue. Consider the differences between vessel classes, when QS was bought, etc. For the charter sector it could include permit prices (minimal data), number of trips and clients and annual revenue.
• Review the IPHC process described in the CSP for deducting removals prior to applying the allocation percentages to the combined commercial/charter catch limit. The halibut charter stakeholder committee discussed “separate accountability”, in which each sector would be held accountable for its wastage of halibut. The CSP analysis currently deducts wastage in the commercial sector BEFORE the allocation percentages are applied. In 2011 the IPHC began deducting O26/U32 BAWM before setting catch limits, and this has allocative implications for 2C and 3A. Wastage estimates for the charter sector are not currently available, and so no deductions are made.
• Review the management matrix to determine whether management measures and the data employed are still appropriate in each tier given current charter harvests relative to combined fishery CEY, particularly in Area 3A.
The Council also seeks additional revisions to the Halibut CSP analysis to address the technical comments as outlined in the NMFS CSP report. This is a comprehensive list and it is understood that staff will work to address each of these points, to the extent practicable, in the next version of the Halibut CSP analysis.
With the direction provided above, the Council seeks to address the primary comments and concerns as outlined in the NMFS CSP Report and identified in public comment. It is the Council’s intent to review the additions and revisions to the modified Halibut CSP analysis in a subsequent meeting in order to determine what, if any, additional changes are necessary in order for the CSP to meet Council objectives. The Council also requests feedback from NMFS as to whether the additions and revisions to the CSP result in the need for a new proposed rule, so that the Council may establish a timeline for implementing the CSP.
Given the myriad of components involved in commercial and charter halibut management, the Council recognizes that there are management options available that were not included as part of the original Halibut CSP action. It is not the wish of the Council to delay implementation of the Halibut CSP any further than necessary. As such, the Council is asking for initiation of a discussion paper analyzing the following for potential use in future halibut management:
• The use of ADFG logbooks for official harvest reporting
• Annual limits allowing for the retention of at least one fish of any size
• Restricting captain and crew retention of fish
• Trip limits, reverse slot limits, and two fish of a maximum size
• The use of a common pool purchase of QS by the charter sector
• Long-term management measures under Tier 1 of the CSP as identified in the Charter Halibut Implementation Committee Report
It is intended for this discussion paper to be reviewed by the Council following its review of the modified Halibut CSP. New and revised information received from review of the modified CSP will serve to refine the above discussion paper recognizing that full development of this discussion paper may be difficult until such information is received. At the time of the review, the Council could determine whether to fold any of these new elements into the modified CSP and let others follow as a trailing amendment.
Motion passed with no opposition (no roll call vote)
The NPFMC took action on 2012 charter management measures to recommend to the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), the first of three issues to be considered. In the IPHC webinar Nov 30th and again in the report today in front of the council, the charter fleet in 2C stair steps back up and 3A steps down for the first time so the GHL management levels considered was 931,000 lbs for 2C and 3.103 million lbs.
Council member Ed Dersham made the following motion: Based upon IPHC staff recommendations regarding Total CEY, the Council moves forward the following charter halibut management measures in Areas 2C and 3A for consideration by the International Pacific Halibut Commission in 2012.
Area 2C (GHL 931,000 lbs)
One fish reverse slot limit of U45 – O68 (one fish bag limit of either a fish under 45 inches or over 68″)
Area 3A (GHL 3.103 million lbs)
Status Quo of 2 fish / day of any size
A motion to amend the main motion failed 4 to 7 that would have added a prohibition on skipper & crew fish for June, July & August).
The ADFG report to describe management options is available here.
Tomorrow morning the Council will start discussing the CSP and the issues raised in the NMFS 48 page report available on the NPFMC website.
Industry Consensus Developed During RPT on Board of Fish Proposals Affecting the Southeast Alaska Enhanced Allocation Plan
Industry members developed a consensus document adopted by the Joint Regional Planning Team (JRPT) regarding Board of Fish Proposals that affect the Southeast Alaska Enhanced Allocation Plan. Associations involved in the Development of the consensus is SEAS, USAG, ATA, Chum Trollers Association and SEAFA.
2011 RPT Industry Consensus
USAG and SEAS also came to a separate agreement to withdraw some proposals that conceerned wild stocks and not the enhanced salmon allocation plan and so wasn’t specifically mentioned in the JRPT agreement.
At the RPT meeting the preliminary numbers for 2011 for the Salmon Enhanced Allocation Plan were presented by NSRAA with numbers provided by NSRAA, SSRAA, DIPAC and AKI.
Click here to see presentation
The webinar presentations that IPHC staff went through prior to announcing the staff recommendations for 2012 are now posted online.
IPHC New Relese with 2012 staff recommended Catch Limits
2011 Ciommercial, Sport & Subsistence Halibut Fisheries
2011 Halibut Stock Assessments
2012 IPHC Staff Preliminary Catch Limit Recommendations
Harvest Policy Considerations for 2012
The IPHC annual meeting where 2012 catch limits will be set is Jan 24-27 in Anchorage Alaska at the Hilton Hotel
IPHC staff recommendations for 2012 were presented today on a webinar.
This is a recommendation of 7,935,000 pounds less than 2011 harvest limits. Staff also put on the table that they are considering major changes to the harvest rates/policy for 2013. They showed a slide that would have shown what the staff recommendations would have been with the policy changes they are considering that would be significantly less than the recommendations made.
(Area 2 B (Canada) catch limit includes all recreational harvest limits)
GNTF Agenda 2011 Gillnet Task Force Meeting Dec 6, 9:00 am Sitka Centennial Building
PSTF Agenda 2011< Seine Task Force Meeting, Dec 7, 9:00 am Sitka Centennial Building
Agenda Regional Planning Team (RPT) Dec 8, Officially start @10:00 am but industry gathering before hand to discuss Board of Fish allocation proposals will occur