Governor Nominates Duncan Fields & James Hubbard for NPFMC

     March 15, 2010, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell forwarded his nominations of Duncan Fields of Kodiak and James Hubbard of Seward for consideration by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for seats on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC). The governor also forwarded Sam Cotten of Eagle River and Matt Moir of Kodiak as alternate nominees.
     “I have confidence that these nominees will serve with the best interest of Alaska’s resources, coastal communities and Alaskans at heart,” said Governor Parnell. “Continuing our tradition of sound fisheries management is essential to protecting Alaska jobs and families who rely on these resources.” 
     The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional councils established by the 1976 Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, later renamed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, to oversee management of the nation’s marine fisheries. The council has jurisdiction over 900,000 square miles of ocean from three to 200 miles off Alaska’s shores, and the primary responsibility for managing pollock, cod, halibut, sole and other groundfish.
     Duncan Fields, of Kodiak, is completing his first term on the NPFMC. He has been an active fisherman since 1960 and also serves as a technical advisor for the Gulf of Alaska Coastal Communities Coalition (GOAC3), the vice president of natural resource and community development for Old Harbor Native Corporation, and a natural resource consultant for Shoreside Consulting. He served on NPFMC Advisory Panel from 2001–2007, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the United Fishermen of Alaska. He earned a bachelor’s degree with a comprehensive social science major from Cedarville College, and a juris doctorate from the University of Oregon School of Law.
     James Hubbard, of Seward, has been a fisherman since the 1970s and participates in the halibut, sablefish, Pacific cod, and other groundfish fisheries throughout the entire Gulf of Alaska. With his wife, Rhonda, he is a co-owner of J&R Fisheries, which markets the seafood products caught and processed aboard his freezer-longliner, the F/V Kruzof. He currently serves on the Research Advisory Board to the International Pacific Halibut Commission. Hubbard is also a member of the United Fishermen of Alaska and several other commercial fishing organizations.
     Sam Cotten, of Eagle River, is completing his first term on the NPFMC. He is a resource analyst for the Aleutians East Borough and has significant experience in Alaska as a sport fisherman and commercial fisherman. Cotten is a former director of the Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank, and a former member of the Alaska State Legislature.
     Matthew Moir, of Kodiak, is the general manager of Alaska Pacific Seafoods, where he has worked since 1987. He is a current member of the NPFMC Advisory Panel. Moir is also a member of the Alaska Fishery Development Foundation, the Kodiak Fishery Advisory Committee, the Kodiak Island Borough Fisheries and Oceanic Research Board, and is an advisor to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. He earned a bachelor’s degree in natural science from St. John’s University and a master’s degree in food technology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
     The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires governors of specific coastal states to provide nominations for each vacancy, from which the Secretary of Commerce makes a final appointment.

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House Fisheries Committee

House Fisheries Committee will be meeting Tuesday March 16, 2010 in Barnes room 124 and hearing the following three bill plus any bills previous heard and held.

HB 365 – Processors records for federal buyback programs http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_complete_bill.asp?session=26&bill=HB365

HB 389 – Commercial Fishing Loan Act http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_complete_bill.asp?session=26&bill=HB389

HB 246 – Sport Fish Guide Licenses http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_complete_bill.asp?session=26&bill=HB246

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RPT Meeting Announcement

SOUTHERN, NORTHERN, & JOINT SOUTHEAST 

REGIONAL PLANNING TEAM MEETING & WORKSHOP 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 (9:00 a.m.) and  Wednesday, April 7, 2010 (9:00 a.m.) 

NSRAA Board Room 1308 Sawmill Creek Road, Sitka, Alaska 99835 

Juneau. . .The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), announces the Joint, Northern, and Southern Southeast Regional Planning Teams Spring 2010 meeting will be held at the above time and place. Tuesday, April 6 a workshop to discuss the development of a long-term solution to address allocation imbalances within the current allocation management plan will be held. These meetings will be open to the public. The Regional Planning Teams consist of representatives of salmon fishing gear groups and regional ADF&G representatives. The Planning Teams were established by the Commissioner of ADF&G for the purpose of development and amendment of comprehensive salmon plans; making recommendations concerning private non-profit hatchery permit alteration requests (PARs); and the allocation of enhanced fish throughout Southeast. 

The RPT will vote on PARs submitted by: 1) Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association to; a) allow Whitman Lake Hatchery to collect Chinook salmon eggs for POWHA, b) allow Whitman Lake Hatchery to collect coho eggs for Neets Bay Hatchery, c) change permit accounting to allow Neets Bay Hatchery to collect chum salmon eggs for Whitman Lake Hatchery, d) establish a permitted capacity of chum salmon eggs at Burnett Inlet Hatchery, e) allow Neets Bay Hatchery to collect chum salmon eggs for Burnett Inlet Hatchery, 2) Prince of Wales Hatchery Association to; a) change broodstock of the Coffman Cove project from Unuk River Chinook stock to Chickamin River Chinook stock, b) increase permitted capacity of  Klawock Hatchery from 5M green coho eggs to 6M green coho eggs, 3) Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association to; a) increase permitted capacity of Hidden Falls Hatchery from 6.1M green coho eggs to 6.9M green coho eggs, b) increase permitted capacity of Hidden Falls Hatchery from 91M green chum eggs to 136M green chum eggs, 4) Douglas Island Pink and Chum inc. to; increase permitted capacity of Macaulay Salmon Hatchery from 121M green chum eggs to 125M green chum eggs, 5) Armstrong Keta Inc. to; a) change the permitted capacity from 85M green pink salmon eggs and 30M green chum eggs to a combined permitted capacity of 115M combined pink and chum eggs with no more than 50M being chum eggs and no more than 85M being pink eggs, b) allow collection of an additional 50M green chum eggs for other hatcheries. The Joint Southeast Regional Planning Team will make a recommendation to the commissioner regarding the review of the final 2008 enhancement allocation numbers and the preliminary 2009 enhancement numbers for Southeast Alaska. The RPT will discuss Sheldon Jackson Hatchery chum salmon monitoring and possibly additional hatchery topics. 

PDF copies of PARs can be found at http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/geninfo/enhance/enhance.php

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EPA Vessel Discharge Draft Report Released

EPA has released the draft report on vessel discharges (including fishing vessels).  Fishing vessels and some others were exempted from the new Vessel Discharge Permit requirements for two years while a study by the EPA was conducted.  Comments on the draft report will be accepted through April 7, 2010.

http://frwebgate3.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/PDFgate.cgi?WAISdocID=09150632391+0+2+0&WAISaction=retrieve Federal Register notice for comments

http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/vessels/reportcongress.cfm Page with draft report and/ or summary

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Last Day to Comment on DOT Proposed Rule

Today, March 5th is the last day to comment on the DOT proposed rule 17 AAC 25.210 and 17 AAC 25.220 which proposes to be changed to exempt in certain circumstances persons holding commerical fishing licenses, sport fishing operator licenses, or sport fishing guide licenses from commercial vehicle safety and hours of service regulations.

http://www.dot.state.ak.us/mscve/main.cfm?go=director Link to Proposed Rule

SEAFA Testimony

 

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Deep Inlet Rotational Schedule

     The following information is my understanding of the motion just passed at the NSRAA board meeting.

     The NSRAA Board has made some changes to the way the Deep Inlet rotation schedule will be conducted.    Rather than try to conduct cost recovery throughout the season, Deep Inlet THA will be closed when the chum runs builds in strength in August, closed until cost recovery is reached and then re-opened.  Staff will attempt to close the fishery following gillnet days and after cost recovery is done the troll fleet will get two days in the terminal harvest area followed by 2 seine days and then 2 days and thereafter it will be two seine/two gillnet continuously.

     Between June 21st and August 8th the Deep Inlet rotation will be Seine on Sundays, Thursday and Fridays; Gillnet on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturdays;  Troll on Saturday. 

     After August 8th the schedule will be 2 seine days followed by 2 gillnet days until closed for cost recovery.

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Field Hearing to be Conducted on Sealaska Land Bill

Senator Murkowski is holding field hearings that will be recorded and transcribed for Senate Energy  Natural Resources Committee on the Sealaska Lands Bill on S. 188.

The hearings will be held in the following communities:

3/8/10  6:30 pm  Craig School Auditorium

3/9/10  12:00 pm  Thorne Bay City Council Chambers

3/10/10  5:30 pm  Naukati School

3/11/10  12:30 pm Port Protection Community Building

3/11/10  7:00 pm Petersburg City Council Chambers

3/12/10  7:00 pm Sitka Centennial Building

Senator Murkowski’s website regarding Sealaska Lands Bill http://murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=SealaskaLandBill

Sealaska website for Lands bill legislation http://www.sealaska.com/page/our_lands.html

Sealaska Land Bill link to legislation http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/thomas

 

Residents can also submit comments on the bill to: Chuck Kleeschulte, Professional Staff, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, SD 316, Washington, DC 20510.

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AFDF Takes on Role as MSC Client for Alaska Salmon

Feb. 19, 2010 (Seattle, WA)—The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has been informed by the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF) that the AFDF board voted today in favor of AFDF serving as the client for the purpose of maintaining MSC certification for the entire Alaska salmon fishery.  AFDF will immediately begin work with an independent certifier to conduct the required annual audit for the fishery.  Successful completion of the audit will ensure an unbroken supply of MSC-certified Alaska salmon. 

 

MSC had previously been in discussions with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), which had made a provisional commitment to become the client.  At their December 3 board meeting, however, new issues extending beyond the established MSC program structure were introduced by ASMI regarding client cost sharing.  ASMI indicated the issues could have an impact on their state funding relationship, and the board voted to further postpone decision on whether to become the client for MSC certification of Alaska salmon. 

 

AFDF was able to move forward with a commitment to become the client, which removes further delays and uncertainty about management of the certificate.  MSC appreciates the commitment of ASMI, United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) and the other Alaska fishing industry representatives in addition to AFDF who have worked to ensure an ongoing MSC certificate for Alaska salmon.  MSC will continue to work in cooperation with the state’s fishery managers, processors and fishermen to help highlight and add market benefit to this important and sustainable fishery. 

 

AFDF takes over the role of client for MSC certification of Alaska salmon from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), which served as the client since Alaska salmon was first certified to the MSC standard in 2000.  ADFG was in the unusual role of a government fishery management body serving as an MSC certificate holder, and indicated that it wanted to transition that role to another entity. 

 

MSC is an international nonprofit organization that operates a widely recognized sustainability and eco-labeling program for wild-capture fisheries.  Under the program, fisheries voluntarily seek an independent, third-party assessment by an accredited certifier who leads an objective, scientific evaluation of the fishery to determine if it meets the MSC standard for sustainable, well-managed fisheries.  If certified, fisheries may use the MSC ecolabel in marketing and promoting their products provided they continue to meet the standard.  MSC fishery certifications are valid for five years, subject to annual audits. 

 

The Alaska salmon fishery was recertified in November of 2007.  If the fishery successfully completes the current and subsequent annual audits as planned, the existing MSC certificate will be valid until November of 2012.  To continue certification beyond 2012, the fishery will have to pass a recertification assessment and obtain a third five-year certificate. There has been no break in the status of the current certificate in this client transition, and all Alaska salmon caught since the original certification in 2000 has been eligible to carry the MSC ecolabel. 

 

AFDF will maintain the scope of the current certificate so that it will continue to cover all Alaska salmon fisheries and species.  They will take responsibility for conducting yearly audits and meeting the requirements of the MSC program, and will keep use of the certificate available to all Alaska salmon harvesters.  AFDF, which currently serves as the client for the MSC-certified Alaska Pacific cod fishery, has indicated they will be establishing a similar cost share mechanism for use of the MSC certificate by members of the Alaska salmon industry.  AFDF will prorate across participants joining the client group the costs associated with maintaining the Alaska salmon fishery certificate.  

 

“The MSC very much welcomes AFDF’s decision to become the client for the Alaska salmon fishery,” said MSC Chief Executive Rupert Howes. “Markets globally will welcome this announcement and MSC looks forward to working with AFDF, ASMI, ADFG and other partners involved in the Alaskan salmon fishery. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank ADFG for their leadership in engaging with the MSC program in our early years. A bold move that led to Alaskan salmon being amongst the first few fisheries in the world to achieve MSC certification.” 

 

Will Martin, Chair of the MSC Board of Trustees, said “We’re grateful to both ASMI and AFDF for the support and consideration they have given to the client role, and are pleased that AFDF has agreed to accept and maintain this certificate. Alaska salmon is an iconic brand, nationally and internationally, and the industry and the fishery managers are some of the most committed and involved in the MSC program. The decision by AFDF is important for many in the industry, and recognizes the benefits that are at the heart of our approach of using the market to promote and reward responsible fishing practices.” 

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Dr. Lubchenco Announces Eric Schwaab as the NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries

Feb. 10, 2010

From: Dr Lubchenco

It gives me great pleasure to announce Eric Schwaab as the new assistant administrator for fisheries, starting Feb. 16.  We are excited to have someone with Eric’s experience and proven leadership to bring a fresh perspective to the management of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.  Eric will lead NOAA’s efforts to rebuild our fisheries and the jobs and livelihoods that depend on them.  His immediate priorities include improving outreach and realationships with recreational and commercial fishermen, better aligning federal and regional fisheries priorities, restoring confidence in fisheries law enforcement, and promoting management approaches that will achieve both sustainable fisheries and vibrant coastal communities.

Eric brings more than 25 years of experience in local, state and federal natural resource mangement.  He has spent the majority of his career at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, where he began as a natural resources police law enforcement officer in 1983.  He eventually served as director of the Maryland Forest Service; director of the Maryland Forest, Wildlife and Heritage Service; and director of the Maryland Fisheries Service.  In 2003, Eric left the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to serve as resource director for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies until 2007.  He then returned to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as the deputy secretary. Eric has also served as a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee.

Eric is a creative and proven manager, consensus builder and leader.  He has developed and implemented solutions to address challenges in regional habitat restoration, including Chesapeake Bay restoration issues, fish and wildlife conservation, public lands management, natural resources law enforcement, public agency administration, strategic planning and leadership development.

I am excited to welcome Eric to the NOAA family.  He will work with NOAA leadership, the fisheries service, his fellow assistant administrators and our many constituents to further our efforts to protect and manage the nation’s fisheries, our other trust resources including marine mammals and sea turtles, and the ecosystems upon which they depend.  Welcome Eric!

I would laso like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to Dr. Jim Balsiger, the acting assistant administrator, for his superb and sustained leadership.  Jim has led the fisheries service for over two years in this capacity, far from his home in Alaska, and done so with distinction. He was especially instrumental in engaging the fishery management councils in the process of developing the draft catch shares policy.  Dr Balsiger will soon return to his position as NOAA fisheries regional adminstrator for Alaska, but before doing so will assist Eric with his transition into the fisheires service and NOAA.  I’d also like to thank the entire team at NOAA Fisheries who have done an excellent job during this period.

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IPHC Announcement is Online

The official Press Release from IPHC is now available on line at:

http://www.iphc.washington.edu/halcom/newsrel/2010/nr20100201.htm

The press release includes actions on all regulatory proposals and other actions taken. Note the comments under other actions regarding the charter fleet.

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