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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CFEC Licensing Available On-line

You may now renew limited entry permits and vessel permits on-line through a secure site for 2009.

http://www.cfec.state.ak.us/

 

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Tulsequah Chief Mine Permit Process Suspended For Now

Indefinite Extension of Tulsequah Barging Proposal Comment Periods due to Requests for Additional Information
December  17, 2008 at 5:00PM was the deadline under the Alaska Coastal Management Program (ACMP) rules for submittal of agency Requests for Additional Information (RFAI’s) to the Division of Coastal and Ocean Management (DCOM).  DCOM received several information requests and is compiling those requests into a consolidated RFAI that will be submitted to the applicant, Redfern Resources Ltd (Redfern).  That consolidated RFAI will be posted to the state’s webpage for the Tulsequah project barging proposal,
http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/mining/largemine/tulsequah/publicnotice.htm
when it’s complete.
The submittal of the agency information requests stopped the ACMP clock at 5:00PM on December 17, 2008.  This means the review and comment periods for both ACMP Consistency and the Land Use Permit are indefinitely extended. 

     Because the stoppage of the ACMP clock occurred on Day 13 (the RFAI Deadline) of the Consistency Review schedule,  the clock will re-start on Day 14, after receipt of responses to the RFAI questions and agency determination of their adequacy.  The close of the ACMP comment period, per ACMP regulations, will be at 5:00PM on Day 17 of the review schedule.  Because the Land Use Permit is dependent on first having an ACMP Consistency Determination, the comment period for the Land Use Permit is also indefinitely extended, pending the re-start of the ACMP clock.  Comments on the Land Use Permit will be accepted at least through ACMP Clock Day 30.
Updates about the ACMP clock stoppage and the indefinite extension will be posted to: http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/mining/largemine/tulsequah/publicnotice.htm
 

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2009 Tanner Season Length Announced

Petersburg . . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the season length for the 2008/09 commercial Tanner crab fishery in Southeast Alaska. The 2008/09 season will open by regulation at 12:00 noon on Sunday, February 15, 2009. The season will close in ‘core’ fishing areas after six fishing days at 12:00 noon on Saturday, February 21, 2009 and close in ‘non-core’ areas after eleven fishing days at 12:00 noon on Thursday, February 26, 2009. Written descriptions of closed, core, and noncore areas, and a map for visual reference, are included in this news release.

For the full news release click on link below.

http://documents.cf1.adfg.state.ak.us/AdfgDocument.po?DOCUMENT=19985 

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Jane Lubchenco Appointed to Head up NOAA Agency

Jane Lubchenco will head up the NOAA agency.  Dr. Jane Lubchenco is an environmental scientist and marine ecologist who is actively engaged in teaching, research, synthesis and communication of scientific knowledge. She graduated from Colorado College, received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in marine ecology, taught at Harvard for two years, and has been on the faculty at Oregon State University since 1978.  She is an internationally known marine ecologist who is deeply concerned about climate change and overfishing.

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Fax Number Currently Not Working

Due to some communication glitches, our fax number is not working (523-1168).  We will let you know what gets worked out.

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Sport Fish Guide Services Board Meeting Summaries

Public Meetings summaries regarding the Sport Fish Guide Services Board are now posted on line at:

http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/Guides/index.cfm/FA/issues.meetingSummaries#Fairbanks

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FDA Reviewing Mercury Levels for Fish Consumption

The FDA is currently reviewing the seafood advisory consumption warnings and considering revising the warning because the benefits of eating seafood outweigh the mercury concerns.

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Southeast Tanner and Golden King Crab Season Announcements

Petersburg . . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that the seasons for the 2008/09 commercial Tanner and golden king crab fisheries in Southeast Alaska will open by regulation at 12:00 noon on Sunday, February 15, 2009. The season start for the Tanner and golden king crab fisheries was changed by the Alaska Board of Fisheries in 2005 to: “the smallest Juneau tidal range between February 10 and February 17” [5 AAC 35.110. and 5 AAC 34.110 (b)]. The registration deadline for both fisheries will be Friday, January 16, 2009. According to SEC 16.05.065(b), registrants after that date will be required to pay a $45.00 late fee. Buoy tags are mandatory for all commercial Tanner and golden king crab gear and are available in any area office in Southeast Alaska for $1.25 each. 

The Department is in the process of finalizing the details of the Tanner crab and golden king crab fisheries. These details will be announced in subsequent news releases. Both the Tanner and GKC 2008/09 news releases will be announced during the week of January 5, 2009. 

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