Superior Court Issues Decision on Chitina Dipnetters Lawsuit

The Alaska Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fund and the Chitina Dippnetters Association filed a lawsuit against the State of Alaska, Board of Fish and ADFG.  The court granted summary judgement to the State of Alaska, Board of Fish and ADFG for all counts but it remanded back to the Board of Fish with instructions to define the term “subsistence way of life” as used in the subsistence criteria regulation using an objective standard supported by law; then provide the plaintiffs an opportunity to supplement the record in light of that definition and then for the Board to reapply the subsistence criteria using the new definition of “subsistence way of life”.  The court decision goes on to explain that in the deliberations of the board, the individual board members admitted to using subjective and personal opinions on the definition of “subsistence way of life”. 

We will post the court decision as soon as we get a good copy of the decision.  You may view the court decision on Wesley Loy’s blog the “Deckboss”

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Pre-Filed Legislation

There was two fishery bills in the batch of pre-filed legislation.  Rep Harris did not submit legislation on DOT transportation issues since DOT is in the process of making regulation changes.  The next batch of pre-filed legislation is due by Jan. 15th.  Legislature convenes Jan 19th.
 

HB 266 “An Act providing for a priority for a fishery that is restricted to residents when fishing restrictions are implemented to achieve an escapement goal”
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill.asp?bill=HB%20266&session=26
 

HB 268 “ An Act relating to management of salmon and other fish stocks and salmon fisheries and to the use of funds received by an enhancement facility from the sale of fish”
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill.asp?session=26&bill=HB+268

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NMFS Issues Press Release on Charter Halibut Limited Entry Program

NOAA Fisheries has announced a new fishery management program passed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council that limits the number of charter boats in the guided sport halibut fishery in Southeast Alaska and the central Gulf of Alaska.

“The new program will stabilize the guided charter fishing sector, maintain access to the fishery for businesses that participated in recent years, and allow access for others who can obtain transferable permits,” said Alaska’s Acting Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, Doug Mecum.

“The guided sport charter halibut sector in these areas has been growing steadily and exceeding harvest levels set to protect the halibut population. This new program adds incentive for fishermen to conserve the halibut population over time,” Mecum added.

Sport charter halibut businesses will have to obtain a permit from NOAA to be able to have clients legally catching halibut in Southeast Alaska and the central Gulf of Alaska. NOAA Fisheries will publicize the 60-day permit application period, which likely will begin in early February 2010.

Charter halibut guides will be required to carry their new permit on board starting February 1, 2011.

Under the new program,

  • permits will be issued to qualifying individuals or businesses that documented fishing trips during a qualifying year (2004 or 2005) and the recent participation year, 2008;
  • halibut charter business operators are required to have a charter halibut permit on board to fish for halibut;
  • charter halibut permit holders are subject to limits on the number of permits they can hold and on the number of charter boat anglers who can catch and retain halibut on their charter boats;
  • newcomers can enter the charter halibut fishery by acquiring a transferable permit;
  • permits will be issued to community quota groups representing specific rural communities;
  • permits will be endorsed for fishing only in a specific International Pacific Halibut Commission management area;
  • permits will be required for charter halibut vessel operation only in International Pacific Halibut Commission regulatory areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska) under this program.

Details of the program are being published in the Federal Register and can be viewed at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/halibut/sport.htm.

Unguided or independent sport fishermen and subsistence fishermen are not affected by the new charter halibut limited access program.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission sets harvest levels within regulatory areas along the coasts of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. In Alaska, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council allocates the harvest between fishing sectors within the Commission’s regulatory areas and NOAA Fisheries develops regulations to implement those harvest levels.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries previously reduced the allowed take of halibut to one per day per charter angler in Southeast Alaska. The new limited access program for sport charter halibut fishing operators is another step towards controlling charter halibut fishing in Southeast Alaska and the central Gulf of Alaska. An expected next step under development by NOAA Fisheries is to establish an allocation of halibut between the charter and commercial fishing sectors and allow fishing quota to flow between the sectors.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit www.noaa.gov. To learn more about NOAA Fisheries in Alaska, visit alaskafisheries.noaa.gov or: www.afsc.noaa.gov.  http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/newsreleases/2010/charterhalibut010410.htm

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

SEAFA hopes all our members have a “safe” and prosperous New Year

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NOAA Releases Draft Catch Sharing Policy

NOAA released the draft catch sharing policy and are accepting comments through April 10, 2010. 

View draft policy at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/domes_fish/catchshare/docs/draft_noaa_cs_policy.pdf

NOAA released today for public comment a draft national policy encouraging the use of catch shares, a fishery management tool that aims to end overfishing and rebuild and sustain fishing jobs and fishing communities.  In doing so, NOAA recognized that catch shares are not a panacea or one size-fits-all solution, but are a proven way to promote sustainable fishing when designed properly at the fishing community level.  “We have made great progress in rebuiling many fisheries, but more than 20 percent of  our fish stocks have not been rebuilt, and an even larger protion of our fisheries are not meeting their full economic potentional for the nation,” Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke said.  “Catch shares are a tool that can help us realize the full economic and biological benefits of rebuilt fisheries.” 

Catch share programs, which include Limited Access Privilege programs and individual fishing quotas, have been used in the U.S. since 1990 and are now used in 13 different commercial fisheries.  Four new programs will begin over the next year. 

“From Florida to Alaska, catch share program help fishing communities provide good jobs while rebuilding and sustaining healthy fisheries and ocean ecosystems,” said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.  “Although this is a national policy, our emphasis is on local consideration and design of catch shares that take into consideration commercial and recreational fishing interests.”

The full press release can be viewed here: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/mediacenter/docs/catchshare_policy_dec09.pdf

Additional information about the catch sharing policy can be viewed at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/domes_fish/catchshare/

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Sitka Sound Herring Quota Announcement

The Alaska Dept of Fish and Game announced the preliminary guideline harvest level (GHL) for the 2010 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is 18,866 tons.  This GHL is based on a 20% harvest rate of the forecast biomass of 94,332 tons of mature herring.   ADFG will release a final announcement of the 2010 GHL after further sampling in January.

Full news release can be viewed on the ADFG website at:

http://documents.cf1.adfg.state.ak.us/AdfgDocument.po?DOCUMENT=21683

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IPHC Staff Catch Recomendations for 2010

The IPHC announced staff catch limit recommendations for 2010.  They are:

2A – 760,000  (-20%)
2B – 6,590,000  (-14%)
2C- 3,710,000  (-26%)
3A – 19,990,000   (-8%)
3B – 9,900,000   (-9%)
4A – 2,330.000   (-9%)
4B – 2,160,000   (+16%)
4CDE – 3,250,000   (-6%)

For comparison the 2009 harvest limits were:
2A – 950,000
2B – 7,630,000
2C – 5,020,000
3A – 21,700,000
3B – 10,900,000
4A – 2,550,000
4B – 1,870,000
4CDE – 3,460,000

The total Coastwide  2010 catch limit is for 48,700,000 lbs  It was 54,080,000 in 2009 a -10% drop.
IPHC Presentations are now available on the web at: http://www.iphc.washington.edu/halcom/meetings/im2009/im2009.htm

IPHC Official New Release

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NOAA Releases Count of Stellar Sea Lion Pups

The number of Steller sea lion pups counted in 2009 in Southeast Alaska (7,462)—part of the threatened eastern stock– exceeded any previous counts going back to the 1960s. The new data indicate that pup production has increased at a rate of almost 4% per year at Southeast Alaska’s five major rookeries since the late 1970s.  The full news release can be seen at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/

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Gillnet Task Force Meeting Materials

The gillnet meeting will be starting at 10:00 in morning to accomodate individuals arriving on the morning flight not the 9:00 posted on the draft agenda previously.

Gillnet Task Force Agenda 2009

2009 District 1 – Tree Point Presentation

2009 District 6 & 8 – Wrangell & Petersburg Presentation PART 1

2009 District 6 & 8 – Wrangell & Petersburg Presentation PART 2

2009 District 6 & 8 – Wrangell & Petersburg PART 3

Taku & Stikine King Fishery Forecast News Release

2009 District 11 – Taku Presentation PART 1

2009 District 11 – Taku Presentation PART 2

2009 District 11 – Taku Presentation PART 3

2009 District 11 – Taku Presentation PART 4

2009 District 11 – Taku Presentation PART 5

2009 District 15 – Lynn Canal Presentation PART 1

2009 District 15 – Lynn Canal Presentation PART 2

2009 District 15 – Lynn Canal Presentation PART 3

2009 Salmon Escapement Summary

 

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Seafood Recipes

Check out our new seafood recipe page link on the right hand side column

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