ADFG released their Southeast Alaska Pink Salmon Forecast for 2012 at 17 million pinks below the 10 year recent average of 40 million pinks. The point estimate of 17 million pinks has an 80% confidence level with a range of 10 to 29 million.
News Release 2012 SE Pink Salmon Forecast
Congressman Don Young had a Natural Resource Committee held a legislative hearing today on H.R. 2714 which would allow the interstate sale of sea otter pelts and the export of handicrafts, garments, and art made from such pelts of the Southcentral or Southeast Alaska northern sea otter stocks that are taken for subsistence purposes. “Alaska’s sea otter population has grown too large and too quick to the point that it is starting to have a negative impact on Alaska’s economy,” said Rep. Young. “By authorizing the domestic sales of pelts and the exportation of handicrafts; the market would increase for both Alaska Native hunters and craftsman alike and provide a greater incentive for harvesting sea otters.”
“The subsistence provisions were included in the Marine Mammal Protection Act to protect cultural traditions and increase economic opportunities for Alaskan Natives, not create an environment of distrust between the Federal Government and Alaskan Natives. I look forward to working with Members of the Committee to ensure this crucial bill is passed, because too much is at stake,” Don Young stated.
Senator Murkowski submitted companion legislation on the Senate side S 1453
The Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee (CFSAC) to the USCG & Homeland Security will be meeting in Seattle the week of Fish Expo on November 14-16. Written comments on topics being discussed are being taken through Nov. 4th to be provided to the committee. The committee will meet at the Henry M Jackson Federal Building Room 440 at 915 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98174.
The CFSAC purpose is to provide advice and recommendations to the US Coast Guard and the Dept of Homeland Security on matters relating t the safety of commercial industry vessels.
Day 1 of the meeting and, if necessary, the morning of Day 2 will include the following reports and representations: 1.) Review of Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Requirements amended, added or deleted by the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010. 2.) status of commercial fishing vessel safety rulemaking. 3.) Commercial fishing vessel safety District Coordinators reports on activities and initiatives. 4.) Industry Representatives updates including safety and survival equipment, and class rules for fishing vessels. 5.) Presentation on fatality rates by regions and fisheries and update on safety related projects such as wearing of Personal Floatation devices when working on deck by NIOSH and 5.) Presentations on safety standards by NMFS/NOAA
Days 2 & 3 of the meeting will be primarily dedicated to subcommittee sessions and reports on these topics: USCG communications and outreach to the fishing industry; risk management for vessel owners, operators, and crews; operator competency training requirements; vessel construction standards and alternate safety compliance program requirements; safety and survival equipment requirements, inspections, and testing; mandatory safety examinations and certificates of compliance; and safety program strategies, future plans and long range goals.
the federal register notice linked below describes how to submit comments which are due by Nov. 4th.
USCG CFSAC Meeting notice Oct 2011
The Dept of Revenue is accepting comments on draft proposed regulation changes to the Fishery Business regulations. There are changes in 17 different sections. Comments must be received no later than November 10, 2011. Electronic comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
15 AAC 75.300 definition section is being repealed and readopted to add or clarify definitions of depreciable tangible personal property, lienable value, market value, person, predominantly, processing, quality, related person, taxpayer and weight of raw salmon.
DOR Proposed changes Oct 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a long session that went into the early morning hours, the U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan amendment authored by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that calls for an investigation and rapid response plan to prevent the spread of a potentially deadly salmon virus. The virus, which was recently found for the first time in Pacific wild salmon, may pose a threat to the Pacific Northwest salmon fishing industry and the coastal economies that rely on it. The virus does not pose a threat to human health.
The bipartisan amendment was backed by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Begich (D-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
The amendment, introduced October 19th to the pending appropriations bill (H.R. 2112), calls on the National Aquatic Animal Health Task Force to evaluate the risk the virus could have on wild salmon off West Coast and Alaskan waters, and to develop a plan to address this emerging threat. The minibus appropriations bill – including Cantwell’s accepted amendment – is scheduled for a final vote in the Senate during the week of October 31st.
“We thought it was very important that this amendment pass tonight because scientists are calling it a disease emergency. That is, that the Pacific Northwest wild salmon might be threatened by a virus that hasalready decimated fish farm salmon from around the world,” Cantwell said on the Senate floor. Watch a video of her delivering her remarks here. “We cannot risk having this impact the Pacific Northwest wild salmon.”
“It’s tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars as it relates to our economy. …We need an action plan immediately and we need to make sure that we are formulating a rapid response to what to do if we do detect that this virus is spreading with the potential impact that we’ve seen in other areas.”
There will be workshops about the gillnet observer program on Nov. 14th in Petersburg and Nov 15th in Wrangell. A letter will be going to all permit holders with the details. The intent is still to implement the observer program in Districts 6 & 8 in 2012 using leased boats as remote platforms to observe from. The intent will be to observe approx. 7-1/2 % of the boat days in the district.
At this meeting, NMFS informed the Council that it would need to revisit its proposed Area 2C/3A halibut catch sharing plan (CSP), citing policy and technical issues which compromise their ability to proceed to a final rule. Specifically, NMFS requested additional Council input on the following three concerns, along with other technical issues that may be identified by NMFS after further review:
(1) Evaluation of the management implications at lower levels of abundance;
(2) Economic impacts of the CSP under all potential combined catch
(3) Methods for calculating the average weight for guided angler fish (GAF) that may be leased from commercial IFQ operators, and the specific means for tracking and reporting GAF.
NMFS also strongly encouraged the Council to schedule time at the December 2011 Council meeting to provide guidance to the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) for actions on the specific allocation and management measures appropriate for the charter halibut fisheries in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska for 2012. The IPHC meets in Anchorage in January 2012 to set fishing levels and management measures for halibut along the Pacific Coast.
The Council also requested that NMFS provide additional detail in December regarding perceived deficiencies in the CSP, so that the Council can discuss an appropriate course of action, including the process and timing to address the concerns identified by NMFS. For December 2011, the Council also had previously scheduled 1) a review of the ADF&G estimates of sport halibut data for 2010; 2) review committee recommendations to consider alternative management measures under Tier 1 of the charter halibut CSP.
NMFS Press Release on CSP
ADFG halibut CSP comments to NMFS Sept 21 2011
IPHC CSP Comments
SEAFA CSP comments on Proposed Rule 9.21.11
HC CSP PR Comments 21Sep2011
The Board of Fish Proposal Book has been posted online at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/regulations/regprocess/fisheriesboard/pdfs/2011-2012/2011_2012prop_book.pdf
The long awaited halibut catch sharing plan proposed rule will be in the federal register July 22 with a 45 day comment period which ends September 6th.
The link to the NOAA press release and draft rule is: http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/newsreleases/2011/halibutstock072111.htm
The Chatham blackcod overall quota limits decreased by 16% from 2011. The annual harvest objective is 1,046,873 round pounds. There are currently 83 permits issued for this fishery 4 less than last year; therefore the individual equal quota share will be 10,602 round pounds. Fishery opens on August 15th at 8:00 am and closes at 12:00 noon on November 15th. The news release that is attached contains much more information. Of note is based on logbook data, the guided charter fishery had a decrement of 3% removed from the total allowable catch before determining the commercial catch and the other removals equaled 2.5%. Previously before documentation of what was taken as required at the last SE Board of Fish meeting a total of 3% was taken off the top for all removals.