Taku River designated “Important Habitat”

ADFG requested Dept of Natural Resouces to designate the mainstem of the Taku River below the high tide mark as important habitat in regards to a coastal zone management consistency review.  See attached document for all the information. taku-designated-as-important-habitat-13009.pdf

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SE Shellfish Board of Fish Decisions

The Decisions from the shellfish meeting are as follows (Preliminary results from personal notes and not the official record) SEAFA submitted proposals in bold.

SPORT SHELLFISH

Proposal #133 – close all sport shellfish fisheries in Southeast – Failed (too draconian  of an action/no conservation or economic reason to close area)

Proposal #134 – close sport shellfish fishing in Sitka Management Area – Failed

Proposal #135 – Require sport shellfish pots and rings be pulled by hand – failed

Proposal #136 – define sport shellfish pot with 5” tunnels – failed
Proposal #137 – sport fish bag & possession limit of 2 fish – We withdrew the shellfish portion as this proposal was intended for finfish only – Board took no action
Proposal #368 – Establish one daily bag limit as the possession limit – failed
Proposal #139 – Reduce daily bag limit for sport caught shrimp to 3 pounds or 3 quarts (was 10 quarts or 10 pounds) – PASSED (Alaskan residents fish under personal use (PU) regulations and limit stays the same)
Proposal #160 – Reduce daily bag limit for sport caught Dungeness and tanner crab in combination to 3 (was 5 daily – same note as above on PU) – PASSED
 

SHRIMP

Proposal #140 – ADFG proposal for reporting requirements for shrimp catcher-processor and catcher-seller vessels – Passed as amended based on feedback from shrimp task force.  Changed the 48 hour notice to “up to two State of Alaska business days after fishing has ceased” 

Proposal #141/142 – change number or size of shrimp pots – Passed an amendment to go to 120 pots of any size BUT MAIN MOTION FAILED AFTER AMENDMENT WAS PASSED.

Proposal #143 – Eliminate trip bycatch limit for coonstripe shrimp – failed

Proposal #144 – Close commercial shrimp fishing around Sukoi Islands – failed

MISC. SHELLFISH

Proposals #187-197 – dive fisheries & Scallops – call or email if you are interested

Proposal #198 – Octopus management plan – PASSED
 

SUBSISTENCE – C&T FINDINGS

Proposals #164-168 asking for subsistence C&T findings for king and tanner crab in Hoonah, Petersburg, Kake, Hoonah Sound and Sitka were all withdrawn and the board ended up taking no action on the proposals.  Had they taken action it would have likely been to table the proposals until the next Southeast shellfish cycle to allow staff, time to find the previous information from when a negative C&T finding was determined for these species.  They also expect the proposals to be resubmitted next cycle if action on proposal #176 doesn’t provide access to the resource and deal with the frustration of the Dept closing all personal use fisheries.  We had forgotten that under STATE subsistence regulations that all Alaskan residents qualify for subsistence and in the federal arena of subsistence it’s the urban/rural divide.  In addition, there are areas of non-subsistence use such as the area around Juneau that would not be able to be opened for subsistence uses even though Juneau residents qualify for subsistence.  Is was also stated several times on the record that even if a positive C&T finding was determined that subsistence crabbing wouldn’t be opened if the Dept determines that the stock is in poor health.

KING AND TANNER CRAB

Proposal #176 – would allow dept to amend the bag limits for personal use king crab fishing between 0 – 6.  Currently the Dept could only have a bag limit of 6 or 0.  There is no guarantee that the change in bag limits will open up the fishery if the Dept determines that the stock is in poor health. 

Proposal #145 – Require measurement devices used by enforcement and ADFG samplers to be made of material that is impervious to weather and be certified by weights and measures – Failed  (Have found state statute that requires it and enforcement & law dept will review the statutes when they have time)
Proposal #146 – tolerance on crab deliveries if returned to water unharmed – failed
Proposal #177 – Guideline harvest ranges for golden king crab – passed as amended

      Northern Area – 0 to 175,000 lbs (was 145,000)

      Icy Straits Area – 0 to 75,000 lbs (was 55,000)

      East Central Area – 0 to 300,000 lbs (was 225,000)

      Remember that this is the range and the Dept sets the GHL somewhere within the range.

Proposal #178 – manage Golden king crab with in-season data – No action taken/proposal withdrawn

Proposal #179  – allow dual permit holders to legally retain golden king crab caught in a tanner pot if both seasons and areas are open. – Passed

Proposal #180 – prohibit square king crab pots – failed

Proposal #171 – open red king crab personal use fishery on July 1st – no action – already starting date

Proposal #172 – Change Yakutat personal use king crab season to the same as in Southeast – passed

Proposal #173 – PVOA proposal to Eliminate the reallocation of the Section 11-A commercial GHL to the personal use fishery in years when the commercial fishery is not opened. PASSED

Proposal #174 – Close all of District 11A to commercial king crab fishing – failed

Proposal #175 – Establish a seven day red king crab commercial fishery – failed

Proposal #169 – close tanner crab sport and personal use fisheries for two weeks before the start of the red and blue personal use king crab season – passed

Proposal #170 – close tanner crab sport and personal use fisheries for one week before the start of the red and blue personal use king crab season – no action based on action taken on previous proposal.
Proposal #181 – Tanner crab management plan – passed as amended

      5 AAC 35. XXX Registration Area A tanner crab harvest strategy

      (a) The provisions of this section establishes the abundance thresholds for the southeast Alaska tanner crab fishery.

      (b) In registration area A, the minimum stock threshold for a commercial fishery is 2,300,000 pounds of mature male Tanner crab, which is one-half the long-term average (1997-2007) of mature male abundance. If the estimated abundance of mature male tanner crab is below this level, the commercial fishery shall remain closed.

      (c ) the season length will be five days and additional fishing days will be determined by the estimated biomass of mature male crab and the number of validly registered pots by the start of the fishery as follows:

      Pots registered              >2.3 Mlbs and < 5.5 Mlbs                    = to 5.5Mlbs or >
      1,600 – 2,399                          4                                                          5

      2,400 – 3,199                          3                                                          4

      3,200 – 3,999                          2                                                          3

      4,000 – 4,799                          1                                                          2

      4,800 – 5,599                          1                                                          2

      5,600 – 6,399                          0                                                          1

      6,400 – 7,000                          0                                                          1

      (d) Registration Area A shall be managed using a core and non-core area approach.  All waters of Registration Area A not listed below are defined as non-core areas.  Non-core areas will be opened for five additional days after core areas are closed.  Core area definitions are:  (not listed – same as they have been)

Proposal #182 – Manage tanner crab season for a length of two weeks – no action due to previous action

Proposal #183 – extend the time to store tanner crab pots from 72 hours to 5 days after a portion of  Registration Area A closes during the commercial tanner season – Passes

Proposal #186 – require escape rings for all personal use, sport and subsistence tanner crab pots in Southeast and Yakutat – Passes

Proposal #184-185 – Permit stacking king & tanner fisheries – moved to restructuring committee which means they won’t be heard again until the next shellfish cycle.

Proposal #147 – Modify sport fish and personal use definition of a legal size crab – passed

Proposal #148 – change Dungeness crab season to July 1 – Nov 1 in all waters of SE – failed

Proposal #149-150 – change District 1 & 2 season to match the rest of Southeast Alaska’s summer and fall seasons.  – Passed.  First time proposal failed on a 3/3 vote with John Jensen conflicted out but when brought up on reconsideration passed with a 3 year sunset clause on a 5/1/1 vote

Proposal #151 – ADFG proposal to allow for flexibility in retaining fall season if the management plan harvest forecast is affected by light crab at the start of the season. Passes

Proposal #152 – require in the Dungeness fishery that all permit holders be onboard at all times when gear is in the water or onboard – Passes (language clarification more than a change in the current law)

Proposal #153 – prohibit stacking of Dungeness permits – failed

Proposal # 154 – close sport fishing for Dungeness crab in areas that are  closed to commercial Dungeness crab fishing – failed
Proposal #155 – Open up closed waters for Dungeness crab fishing in the Whale Pass area for the fall season – passed on split vote 4/3
Proposal #157 – Close waters near Coffman Cove to commercial Dungeness fishing – failed

Proposal # 158 – Close part of the narrows to commercial dungy fishing – failed

Proposal #156 – Reopen Chaik Bay to commercial dungy fishing – passed
Proposal #159 – Close Naukati Bay to commercial dungy fishing – failed

Proposal #161 – Allow ecotourism clients without sport fishing licenses to handle gear or fish under direct supervision of a registered guide – failed

Proposal #162 – allow ecotourism crabbing in George Inlet – passed (regulations sunset March 31, 2009 and this re-established the regs without a sunset date.

Proposal #163 – change the number of pots and lifts allowed in the George Inlet ecotourism permit – failed

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IPHC 2009 Catch Limits

Official IPHC Meeting Results:  http://www.iphc.washington.edu/halcom/newsrel/2009/nr20090120.htm 

The IPHC Commissioners announced their decision on catch limits for 2009 at the end of the annual meeting held in Vancouver on January 16, 2009. 

The catch limits are up from staff recommendations for Area 2 A,B,C and down for 3A

AREA

2008 CATCH LIMIT

STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS

2009 ACTUAL CATCH LIMIT

% CHANGE FROM 2008

2A

1.22

0.86

.950

-22%

2B

9.0

6.96

7.63

-15.2%

2C

6.21

4.47

5.02

- 19.1%

3A

24.22

22.53

21.7

-10.4%

3B

10.9

11.67

10.9

=

4A

3.1

2.65

2.55

-17.7%

4B

1.86

1.94

1.87

+.53%

4CDE

3.89

2.93

3.46

-11%

         
TOTAL

60.40

54.01

54.01

10.5%

Catch limits are in Million pounds  

Remember that Areas 2A & 2B includes Sport, Tribal and commercial fisheries and that the Alaska catch limits quotas are for commercial only and does not include the catch target limits for sport (unguided & guided), and subsistence.

More information to come later to members by email in the next day or so.

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Pre-Filed State of Alaska Legislation

The first batch of pre-filed State of Alaska legislation is now available.  We have reviewed the legislation submitted to date and found the following legislation would have an effect on commercial fishing.  Legislature starts on January 20, 2009.

HB 12 An Act establishing the Alaska Council on Invasive Species in the Department of Fish and Game
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/HB0012A.PDF
 

HB 20 An Act relating to commercial fishing loans for energy efficiency upgrades
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/HB0020A.PDF
 

HB 41 An Act relating to participation in matters before the Board of Fisheries by members of the board and to the definition of ‘immediate family member’ under the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act as that Act applies to members of the Board of Fisheries; and providing for an effective date
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/HB0041A.PDF
 

HB 43 An Act relating to aquatic farm permitting involving geoducks and to geoduck seed transfers between certified hatcheries and aquatic farms
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/HB0043A.PDF
 

SB 3 An Act authorizing an Alaska regional development organization to use the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission as an informational resource
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/SB0003A.PDF
 

SB 14 An Act expanding the motor fuel tax suspension period
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/26/Bills/SB0014A.PDF
 

HB 53 An Act relating to eligibility for membership on state boards, commissions, and authorities
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_fulltext.asp?session=26&bill=HB53

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ASMI Sustainability Platform Session

The ASMI Technical Program will conduct a briefing and training session on the Alaska Seafood Sustainability Platform on Monday January 26th, from 9:30am until 11:30 am, at the Westmark Baranof Juneau, Gastineau Suite.
 

As you know, the seafood sustainability issue is an important factor in promoting Alaska seafood. ASMI has prepared a number of materials for use in explaining the sustainability of Alaska seafood and will conduct this session in order to provide answers and information on key questions and issues that arise. Topics that will be covered include Alaska management approach, United Nations Food and Agricultural (FAO) standard, 3rd party NGO certification schemes, the Top 10 things important in seafood sustainability, and ecolabels. This session is intended to provide Alaska seafood suppliers with a deeper understanding of the sustainability issue, and provide the resources that will facilitate the understanding that Alaska Seafood sustainability can stand on its own, without the need for outside certifications.
 

In order for us to prepare materials for attendees, kindly RSVP by Wednesday, January 21 to:
 

Melissa Gonzales
mgonzales@alaskaseafood.org
or 206-352-8920
 

We look forward to seeing you on January 26, 2009. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Randy Rice
ASMI Technical Program Director
206-352-8920

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Agencies Ask Redfern Resources in-depth Questions

ADFG, DNR and DEC have submitted an in depth set of questions regarding the Tulsequah Chief Mine barging Proposal.  In addition, ADFG is asking the Commissioner of ADFG to designate the sections of the river that the barging proposal cover to be considered important habitat.  If this designation is granted it requires a higher standard to be met under the Alaska Coastal Zone Management plan consistency review.

Redfern Information Request 12.30.08

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Pacific Coast Dungeness Crab Season Going Poorly

All reports have the West coast dungeness crab season going poorly this year.  Many West Coast crab fishermen have quit early because of the lack of crab not making it worth the time, effort or expense.  They feel that the crab are cylical in nature and that the have not reached the low years of the cycle after having some really good seasons.

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No Quota Share Transfers in January

Remember that your cost recovery fee is due if you haven’t paid it yet!

NMFS RAM division is not transferring any quota share during the Month of January.  Transfers will occur as normal starting in Feb.  No reason given for the halt on transferring during January.

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Tanner Season News Release Correction

The news release on the Southeast commercial Tanner crab fishing season issued on December 19, 2008 incorrectly stated the guideline harvest level (GHL) that will be targeted in the 2008/09 commercial Tanner crab fishery. The GHL that will be targeted in the 2008/09 commercial Tanner crab fishery is 931,000 pounds. The season length used to target this GHL will be the same as announced in the December 19, 2008 news release.

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NOAA Publishes One Fish Rule for Southeast

The Southeast Charter fleet is having a one fish daily bag limit proposed with comments accepted through January 21, 2009

The Proposed rule may be viewed at:  http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/prules/73fr78276.pdf

Analysis for proposed rule (Secretarial Draft) http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/analyses/halibut/halibut2c_earirirfa1108.pdf

The NOAA Press Release:

NEWS RELEASE
December 22, 2008
Sheela McLean, Public Affairs
(907) 586-7032
NOAA Proposes Rule to Reduce Charter Halibut Catch
NOAA today proposed reducing the number of halibut that charter vessel anglers in southeast Alaska can keep, from two each day to one.
     “Sport charter fishing has grown in southeast Alaska while halibut abundance has decreased,” said Doug Mecum, NOAA’s Fisheries Service acting regional administrator for Alaska. “We’re proposing to reduce the charter halibut catch to protect the halibut resource.”
The proposed rule, which would take effect this spring, would allow each charter vessel client to use only one fishing line, and no more than six lines targeting halibut would be allowed on a charter vessel at one time. The rule would prohibit guides and crew from catching and retaining halibut while charter halibut clients are on board.
     NOAA’s Fisheries Service put a similar rule in place last spring, but sport charter halibut operators challenged it on procedural grounds and the agency withdrew the rule.
     Public comment on the proposed rule is open through January 21, 2009. After considering public comment, NOAA expects to publish a final rule in the spring of 2009. To read the proposed rule and see how to submit comments, go to http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/halibut/charters.htm.
     Charter halibut operators in southeast Alaska waters have exceeded their guideline harvest level of 1.43 million pounds for the past four years. The actual sport charter harvest was 1.75 million pounds in 2004, 1.95 million pounds in 2005, 1.86 million pounds in 2006, and 1.92 million pounds in 2007. The guideline harvest level dropped to 0.93 million pounds for 2008. Managers expect that it will have been exceeded for 2008 when the harvest numbers are final.
     The International Pacific Halibut Commission, with representatives from the U.S. and Canada, annually estimates halibut abundance in each halibut fishing area along the Pacific Coast. NOAA’s Fisheries Service, in cooperation with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, establishes the charter vessel guideline harvest levels based on the commission’s abundance estimates.
The commission annually establishes the commercial halibut fishery catch limits in each area, taking into account charter vessel harvests and other sources of halibut mortality in order to protect the halibut resource from overharvest.    

     The commission has reduced the commercial halibut catch in southeast Alaska from nearly 11 million pounds annually between 2004 and 2006 to just over six million pounds for 2008. The final commercial harvest level for 2009, proposed at four and a half million pounds, will be set by the International Pacific Halibut Commission in January.
 

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