Halibut Catch Share Plan

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
levels; and,
(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

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Board of Fish Proposal Book Posted Online

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

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Halibut Catch Sharing Plan finally Released as a Proposed Rule

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

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Chatham Blackcod Quota for 2011 Annouced

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.

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2nd Special Session Fails to Save ACMP

The Alaska Coastal Management Program (ACMP) is closed with no chance to revive the program.

The Alaska Coastal Management Program (ACMP) is closed with no chance to revive the program. The Legislature failed to pass in the third attempt to save the program after calling themselved into session that lasted two days. The Senate passed SB 45 and the House of Representatives failed the measure after the Governor stated he would veto any legislation passed and testimony in front of the House Finance committee by Governor’s office stated that the program was closed down, office space let go, files stored, most employees already found another job and that they failed to apply to the federal government for the funding and it was too late to salvage the program.

The ACMP importance is the ability to require federal agencies to meet stricter State regulations/requirements on a federal project in federal waters or land. Without the program the State of Alaska can comment on a permitting process the same as any citizen of the United States.

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Yakutat Commercial, Subsistence and Set Gillnet Announcement

The Alaska Dept of Fish and Game announced a meeting today today to discuss the Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet Subsistence and commercial gillnet salmon fisheries on May 10 at 7:00 pm in the Yakutat High School auditorium.

The preseason projection for Chinook salmon through the Situk weir is very low. According to the Situk management plan this low projection has serious implications for both subsistence and commercial salmon harvest in the Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet fisheries. The meeting is being called to discuss options to allow for subsistence and commercial harvest of sockeye salmon while establishing conservation measures for Chinook salmon. The Situk-Ahrnklin Inlet fisheries are of vital concern to the community of Yakutat, and the public is urged to attend this meeting.

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ADFG Commissioner Confirmed by Legislature

Cora Campbell was confirmed on a 59 to 0 vote as ADFG Commissioner by the Legislature in a Joint session on April 8th confirming Governor appointees.

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2011 SSEI Sablefish Quota Announced

ADFG announced the 2011 Clarence Strait and Dixon Entrance (SSEI) Sablefish Quota will be an equal quota share for each of the permit holders at 23,300 round pounds. This is an 8% decrease from the 2010 quota.

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HERE WE GO AGAIN!

The Charter Operators of Alaska (COA) announced today that they filed a lawsuit in Washington DC and asked for a preliminary injunction to prevent the implementation of the Halibut Charter Limited Entry Permit program.

COA Press Release Lawsuit 4.4.11

Charter Halibut LEP Complaint 4.4.11

COA LEP Injunction 4.4.11

COA Memo of Law PI 4.4.11

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NPFMC Motion on Salmon Fishery Management Plan

The NPFMC today (April 1st) moved forward after presentations and public testimony the following motion:

Develop Alternative 3 as the preliminary preferred alternative for an initial review draft FMP (Fishery Management Plan) and continue to expand discussion of FMP provisions the Council could consider changing or adding, as directed below.

Preliminary Preferred Alternative
Alternative 3:  Modify the FMP to exclude the three historical fishing areas in the West Area (Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, AK Pennisula)
In areas where the Salmon FMP applies, managment would be deferred to the State of Alaska.

Directions for Salmon FMP Additions
Fishery Impact Statement: Use existing documents to the extent possible to describe the fisheries occurring under the FMP.
ByCatch Management:  Include a management objective to minimize bycatch and minimize mortality of unavoidable bycatch in the directed salmon fisheries, but defer bycatch management in the directed salmon fisheries to the State of Alaska.  Document existing monitoring and management measures for initial review analysis.
Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures:

  • Use the NS 1 Guidelines exception for stocks managed under an international fishery agreement with regard to ACL/AM requirements for Chinook salmon harvests under the Pacific Salmon Treaty (labeled Option 1 in analysis).
  • Use the State’s salmon management program as an alternative approach to satisfy MSA requirements (labeled Option 2 in analysis)

Directors for Amending Existing Salmon FMP Provisions

Sport Fishery:  Remove the Sport fishery in the West Area from the FMP.
Management Objectives:

  • Prevent commercial directed fishing of salmon in the EEZ outside of the historical fishing areas.
  • Manage stocks harvested in directed fisheries as a unit throughout their range; manage interrelated stocks as a unit or in close coordination.
  • Retain management objectives for the directed commercial fisheries under the FMP in the East Area for future discussion (evaluate them against current state management objectives and the Pacific Salmon Treaty)

Salmon Plan Team:  For fisheries remaining under the FMP, explore review provided under the State of Alaska salmon management program and Pacific Salmon Treaty processes as alternative peer review processes for status of the stocks and fishery information.

Federal Salmon Limited Entry Permits:  Remove federal permitting provision.

Process for Review and Appeal:  More fully describe the process for the public to appeal and request Secretarial review of state regulations and inseason actions.

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