Federal Subsistence Board rejects Makhnati Island herring proposal

Federal Subsistence Board
News Release

For immediate release: December 14, 2007
Contact: Maureen Clark (800) 478-1456 or (907) 786-3953
     E-mail: Maureen_Clark@fws.gov
Federal Subsistence Board Approves Changes to Subsistence Fishing Regulations

     The Federal Subsistence Board took action on 18 proposals to change Federal subsistence fishing regulations at its Dec. 11-13 meeting in Anchorage. The new regulations take effect April 1, 2008.
     The Board approved a proposal for use of one temporary subsistence fish wheel for the harvest of salmon on the Kasilof River by residents of Ninilchik. Fish harvested by the fish wheel fishery will be included as part of the annual total harvest limits for the subsistence dip net/rod-and-reel fisheries on the Kasilof.
     A proposal that would have reduced the mesh size of gillnets used by subsistence and commercial fishermen on the Yukon River failed on a tie vote. In addition, the Board rejected a proposal to reduce the depth of nets of Yukon River subsistence and commercial fishermen. The proposals were intended to allow greater passage of large Chinook salmon to spawning grounds.
     The Board also rejected a proposal that would have closed a portion of the Makhnati Island area of Sitka to the commercial harvest of herring. Board members said there wasn’t a conservation concern for the herring stocks in Sitka Sound and it was not clear that a closure of the area to the commercial fishery would benefit subsistence users.
     The Board lifted closures to the harvest of sockeye salmon for non-Federally qualified users in Falls Lake Bay, Gut Bay, and Pillar Bay in Southeast Alaska. The Board found that there were no conservation concerns for sockeye at these locations and removal of these closures would allow all users the opportunity to harvest sockeye without concern for Federal jurisdictional boundaries.
     The Board approved a proposal to move the start date of the Stikine River subsistence salmon fishery to Aug. 1, pending coordination with the Pacific Salmon Commission, and to make subsistence fishing permits for the Stikine fishery valid for the length of the fishing season.
     Federal subsistence fishery regulation books will be published in late March and will be available statewide. The regulations also will be posted on the Federal Subsistence Management Program website, http://alaska.fws.gov/asm/home.html.

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December Council Action on Halibut Charter

The Council continued refinement of the interim plan developed in October.  The charter and commercial sectors are still in agreement with the interim plan.  I am pasting the motion as the State of Alaska presented it.  There was a change in one sentence in the Stakeholder committee management objectives section and in the data collection section in the second paragraph they changed the Stakeholders to the Council.

State Motion Dec 07 Halibut Interim Plan

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IPHC Staff Preliminary Catch Limit Recommendations: 2008


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ADFG Sitka Sound Herring Fishery Announcement

Sitka. . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the preliminary guideline harvest

level (GHL) for the 2008 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is 13,796 tons.

This fall the department ran several ASA model runs exploring various biological parameters affecting

the Sitka Sound herring stock and other model parameters to improve the fit of the model to the observed

data. The ASA model uses a long time series of abundance and age composition data from department

surveys conducted during the spring fishery. The best fitting ASA model run included splitting the

maturity schedule estimates for the periods 1978-2001 and 2002-2007. The maturity schedule is the

estimation of what age the herring are reaching maturity and capable of spawning. The model is showing

that during the period 2002-2007 a smaller portion of age-3 through age-7 herring are recruiting as mature

herring to the spawning grounds and the fishery. Maturation of herring is a function of growth and in

recent years younger herring have been growing at a slower rate. The department has selected a more

conservative GHL than that forecast using the ASA model because it is not fully understood how changes

in the environment that are affecting herring growth, maturation and survival will affect the herring

population in future years.

The forecast and quota for the 2008 fishery will be finalized in February, 2008 after a winter test fishery

is completed. The preliminary forecast indicates that the spawning stock will consist of 4% age-3, 6%

age-4, 9% age-5, 13% age-6, 12% age-7, and 57% age-8+.

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December Council Meeting

The NPFMC meeting starts December 3 with the Advisory Panel and SSC panel starting their meetings Monday morning and Wednesday Dec 5, the Council will start meeting.  Comments are due Wedenesday November 28th.  The Council has 6 hours scheduled for halibut charter issues.  They will be reviewing the following halibut issues:

(a.) Committee report on longterm solutions and allocation/reallocation.

(b) Review progress on Charter Halibut Allocation/Reallocation and provide

direction/refine alternative as necessary.

 Final action is not scheduled for either of these items.  Comments that are important to make at this point is support for the interim allocation/reallocation package initiated in October.  That the allocation should be set at the GHL level.  The Council set up a market based system for the commerical industry that required you to purchase into the program and new entrants (the charter fleet) should purchase into the system as we have had to.  I will be sending out SEAFA’s comments early next week to members by email.

The following letter was sent by NMFS to Eric Olson chair of the NPFMC regarding the 2C management measures recommended in June. 

Letter to Eric Olson, Chair NPFMC

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Plan Team recommends Slight Decrease in Southeast Outside Sablefish Quota

The Plan team met and set it’s recommendations which will be given to the NPFMC at their December meeting.  The Southeast Outside sablefish recommended TAC is 3,353 compared to the 2007 TAC of 3,370.  The list of all recommendations can be viewed at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/CouncilSpecs1007.pdf

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Dr Hogarth Resigns

Dr. William Hogarth, NOAA’s Assistant Administrator for Fisheries announced his intention to leave NOAA at the end of December.  He has taken a new job as Interim Dean for the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida.

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ADFG Release Bromley Report

ADFG released a copy of the Bromley report.  the following links will take you to the report titled “Rethinking Fisheries Policy in Alaska: Options for the Future and a cover letter by ADFG.

ADFG Cover Letter to Bromley Report

Rethinking Fisheries Policy in Alaska: Options for the Future

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ADFG Releases SE Pink Salmon Forecast for 2008

Ketchikan. . . The Southeast Alaska pink salmon harvest in 2008 is predicted to be below average, with a

point estimate of 19 million fish (80% confidence interval: 10–34 million fish). An actual harvest of 19

million pink salmon would be 40% of the recent 10-year average of 47 million pink salmon. The 2008

forecast is a “model average” of two forecasts: 1) a forecast of the trend in the harvest, and 2) the forecast

trend adjusted using 2007 pink salmon fry abundance data provided by the NOAA Fisheries, Alaska

Fisheries Science Center, Auke Bay Laboratories. A brief discussion and description of the forecast

methods can be found at:


Department staff will be available to discuss this forecast and plan for the 2008 season at the SE Alaska

Purse Seine Task Force Meeting scheduled for November 27, 2007 in Sitka.

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