Fish Caucus – Value Challenges in the Bristol Bay Salmon Fishery 2/12/09

The Alaska Legislative Fish Caucus will meet on Thursday, Feb 12, at 12pm in State Capitol Room 106. This is a brown bag luncheon. Light refreshments will also be provided. Participation by members of the public is welcome.

The subject will be “Value Challenges in the Bristol Bay Salmon Fishery: Partnerships & New Ideas.” A presentation will be provided by Bob Waldrop, Executive Director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.

Learn more about tools for increasing the value of the salmon fishery in the Bristol Bay region including

  • Investments by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association
  • Maximizing harvest opportunities
  • Infrastructure development
  • And more….


For interested parties who are not in Juneau, the Fish Caucus is teleconferenced via the Legislative Information Office network statewide. To find out more about participating, please call your local LIO. (Contact information can be found here:
http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/misc/lios.php.) The meeting will also be streamed live on the internet through Gavel to Gavel. To listen to live or archived audio of the meeting please visit the Gavel to Gavel website, http://www.ktoo.org/gavel/.


For more information, contact Erin Harrington, Legislative Aide to Rep. Alan Austerman

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Study Shows Declining Survival Rates for Coho and Chinook in British Columbia

Seafood.com reported today (2/10/09) about the study results presented at the biennial Puget Sound/Georgia Basin Ecosystem Conference in Seattle.  The Canadian researcher said that the Chinook and coho in the waters of British Columbia and Georgia Strait have showed a “dramatic and alarming” decline while the survival of pink salmon is increasing.  The new research shows that the survival rate has declined from 10% in 1980′s to 0.5% for coho and from 1% to 0.1% for chinook.  It appears that the deaths are appearing during the first four months while juvenile salmon.  It it thought that factors might include an increase in temperature because of climate changes; less food being available as the ecosystem declines; and ocean conditions to name a few.

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Golden Brown King Crab Announcement

Petersburg . . . As announced in a December 11, 2008 news release, the season for the 2008/09
commercial golden king crab fishery in Southeast Alaska will open concurrently with the Tanner crab fishery at 12:00 noon on Sunday, February 15, 2009.
Guideline Harvest Levels
The overall guideline harvest level (GHL) for this season in Registration Area A is 590,000 pounds. The guideline harvest levels set within the guideline harvest ranges (GHRs) are as follows:
Management Area        Guideline Harvest Range          2008/09 GHL
Northern                                   0 – 145,000                        145,000
Icy Strait                                   0 – 55,000                            55,000
North Stephens Passage            0 – 25,000                            20,000
East Central                              0 – 225,000                        225,000
Mid Chatham                            0 – 150,000                        100,000
Lower Chatham                        0 – 50,000                            25,000
Southern                                   0 – 25,000                            20,000
Total Reg. Mgmt Areas              0 – 675,000                        590,000

The announcement when posted should be located here http://documents.cf1.adfg.state.ak.us/SubtopicContents.po?ERA=Current&TOPIC=10&SUBTOPIC=bki

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Fishy Legislation

SEAFA has submitted comments on two pieces of legislation.  We are supporting HB 41 – Board of Fish conflict of Interest legisalation and HB 20 allowing Division of Investments A borrowers to qualify for engine loan retrofits. 

 HB 20 Engine Retrofit loans

HB 41 BOF Conflict of Interest

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Senator Gregg Nominated for Secretary of Commerce

President Obama nominates New Hampshire Senator Gregg to be Secretary of Commerce.  It is expected that he will be a strong advocate for NOAA but he will also be an advocate for offshore aquaculture. 

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Board of Fish Comments Due Feb 3rd

The Board of Fish is accepting comments on finfish proposals through the end of the business day Feb 3, 2009.  Comments can be faxed to 465-6094. 

Staff comments on individual proposals can be viewed at:  http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/fishinfo/meetinfo/2008-2009/RIR-1J-2008-24.pdf

Official BOF Summary of the Shellfish meeting are at:  http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/fishinfo/meetsum/2008-2009/pppppresumm-09pburgetersburg.pdf

 

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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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