Chatham Blackcod Quota

ADFG announced today (6/19/07) the Chatham Blackcod fishery quota for 2007.  Each permit holder will receive as his share 14,450 pounds, down from the 2006 split of 19,550 lbs each.  This is a 28% decrease from the 2006 quota. 

The Dept. provided notice in the 2006 Chatham sablefish news release dated May 5, 2006, that updated biomass and harvest rate data could be anticipated for the 2007 fishery.  The May 2006 news release also indicated that unless the 2000-year class recruits strongly into the fishery in 2006 it was likely that the quota would be reduced in 2007. There has been no definitive evidence of strong recruitment of the 2000 year class into Chatham Strait. 

The reduced annual harvest objective (AHO) for 2007 is a result of two main factors: 1) a 15% decrease due to the difference between the 2004 biomass estimate and the 2007 forecast and 2) a 13% decrease due to application of an updated harvest rate which was calculated using standardized data.  The Dept. has determined that the harvest rate used from 2004-2006 (0.138) was inappropriately high and the update harvest rate (0.116) is more in line with rates accepted by agencies managing adjacent sablefish fisheries.

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Council Action on Halibut Issues

2C Management Measures for 2008

The Council took final action and recommended two preferred alternatives to move forward through the proposed rule process.  The first action is a combination of management measures that includes a.) no harvest by skipper and crew for halibut; and line limits (number of lines fished cannot exceed the number of paying clients) b.) Annual limit of four fish per angler and c.) a two fish bag limit with one fish of any size and one fish 32″ of less in length (minnow fish). The second preferred alternative is if the Charter GHL is stepped down because of a drop in the CEY the proposed recommendation is a one fish bag limit for the entire season and no harvest by skipper and crew; and line limits.  The vote on this option was close with a vote of 6 to 5.  One council member voting in support of this alternative pointed out that “to vote against this motion is voting for allocation which is not what was analyzed.  The action for today is to choose the management tool to meet the GHL”  After the two preferred alternatives are published in the proposed rule, only one will be published in the final rule and implemented.
Compensated Reallocation between the Commerical and Charter Sectors in Areas 2C and 3A

 The Council accepted most of the stakeholder recommendations and the AP reorganization.  They did add back into the motion a pro-rata reduction with compensation option with further explaination of what was meant. 

The complete motion is attached as a word document for viewing.  These are my notes regarding the actions taken by the Council.

npfmc-motion-compensated-reallocation-507.doc

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FEDERAL PERMIT REQUIRMENTS FOR TROLLERS FISHING IN FEDERAL WATERS CORRECTION

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the following information correcting information contained a May 30, 2007 News Release concerning Federal Fisheries Permit requirements for trollers participating in the troll fishery in the EEZ. The department has conducted a very detailed regulatory review and a review of Board of Fisheries intent language and found that Chapter 28 Groundfish regulations requiring the full retention of Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR) only apply to vessels fishing for groundfish unless otherwise specified. The salmon troll fishery is not specified in the DSR full retention and reporting regulations (5 AAC 28.171) and therefore that regulation is not in effect for the troll fishery. As a result of this review, the provisions of 50 CFR Part 679.4(b)(2) that require a vessel that fishes in the EEZ for any non-groundfish species and that is also required to retain any bycatch of groundfish must obtain a Federal Fisheries Permit (FFP) is also not in effect for the salmon troll fishery. All troll vessels that have an FFP may retain and sell up to the 10% bycatch limits and must forfeit to the state revenue above that limit. Note: Any troll vessels that do not have an FFP, who do fish in the EEZ and do catch groundfish may not retain those fish.

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Charter Halibut Regulations for “Minnow” fish Published

NOAA Fisheries publishes guided sport halibut fishing regulations for SE Alaska

NOAA Fisheries today issued new regulations for guided sport halibut fishing in Southeast Alaska (Area 2C).

“The new regulations keep the current sport fishing bag limit of two halibut per day but require that, if two fish are taken, at least one of them is no more than 32 inches long,” said Doug Mecum, Acting Administrator for NOAA’s Alaska Region. “Enforcement officers must be able to accurately measure the fish. It can be filleted, but the entire carcass, with the head and tail as a single piece, must be retained onboard until all the fillets are offloaded.”

The new regulations apply only to halibut harvested by anglers fishing from a vessel with a hired operator in International Pacific Halibut Commission Area 2C. The complete new regulations will be published in the Federal Register on June 4, 2007 and posted at www.fakr.noaa.gov.

The new regulations, effective June 1, 2007, are designed to remain in place for the entire sport fishing halibut season, but may be superseded by charter halibut fishing management measures currently being considered by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. The charter halibut fishing season ends December 31.

The intended effect of the new regulations is a reduction in the number of pounds of halibut harvested by the guided sport charter vessel sector in Area 2C, while minimizing negative impacts on this sector, its sport fishing clients, and the coastal communities that serve as home ports for the fishery.

“The State of Alaska appreciates the efforts NOAA Fisheries has made to modify the one-fish bag limit that the Halibut Commission proposed,” said Denby Lloyd, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “This new regulation will help stabilize charter harvests in Southeast Alaska without being as onerous as the Commission’s proposal; it will retain domestic management of the fishery; and we are confident it will result in fewer negative impacts on state-managed species.”

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates that the 32-inch maximum size restriction for one of two potential halibut taken by charter vessel clients would reduce the overall harvest in Area 2C by the charter vessel sector by about 518,000 pounds (234.8 metric tons).

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat. To learn more about NOAA Fisheries in Alaska, please visit our websites at www.fakr.noaa.gov or at www.afsc.noaa.gov.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America’s scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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Trollers REQUIRED to Get Federal Fisheries Permit if Trolling in EEZ

ADFG just released the following news release about the requirement for a federal fisheries permit because of Demersal rockfish.

NEWS RELEASE

Date: May 30, 2007  Time: 1:00 p.m.

FEDERAL PERMIT REQUIRED FOR TROLLERS FISHING IN FEDERAL WATERS

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the following information concerning Federal Fisheries Permit requirements for trollers participating in the troll fishery in the EEZ. The state groundfish regulation adopted by the Alaska Board of Fisheries requiring full retention of demersal shelf rockfish has been in effect since July 25, 2000. 5AAC 28.171 ROCKFISH POSSESSION  AND LANDING REQUIREMENTS FOR EASTERN GULF OF ALASKA AREA requires that “(a) in the Southeast District, a CFEC permit holder must retain, weigh, and report all demersal shelf rockfish taken.” The DSR assemblage is defined to include yelloweye, canary, china, copper, quillback, rosethorn and tiger rockfish. This regulation was adopted since it is considered necessary for the sustainable management of DSR. The Southeast District encompasses all waters of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska east of 144° W. longitude including waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) east of 144° W. longitude.

The EEZ is defined in groundfish regulation 5AAC 28.010 (b) to mean “all the waters adjacent to a registration area…” (state waters within 3 miles of the Alaska coastline) “…seaward to a boundary line drawn in such a manner that each point on the line is 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the territorial sea is measured.”

In a recent News Release NOAA Fisheries/NMFS has interpreted 50 CFR Part 679.4(b)(1) to requireany troller fishing in the EEZ to possess a Federal Fisheries Permit (FFP) because ADF&G groundfish regulations currently require the full retention of demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) caught in the troll fishery.

The following News Release was posted on the NOAA Fisheries/NMFS web site:

http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/index/infobulletins/bulletin.asp?BulletinID=3571 on April 13, 2007:Because of the above interpretation, on behalf of salmon troll fishermen who are planning to fish in the EEZ or who think they may fish in the EEZ, when the EEZ opens during the summer troll season on July 1, the Department recommends trollers obtain a Federal Fisheries Permit. Trolling in the EEZ  without an FFP could result in federal enforcement action. To obtain this permit troll fishermen should submit an FFP Application As soon as possible in order to receive the FFP prior to the opening of the summer troll fishery on July 1. The FFP application form can be found at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/ram/FFPAPP.pdf or may be requested from NMFS by calling the Restricted Access Management Program at either (800) 304-4846 or (907) 586-7202 and selecting Option 2. The department has been informed by NMFS that applications generally require 10 days to be processed following receipt. If you already possess an FFP for another fishery, but do not have an FFP for the troll fishery, you must resubmit an FFP application and check the “troll” box on the application.

Please note:  Only persons who are U.S. Citizens are authorized to receive or hold a Federal Fisheries Permit.

 

 

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B.C. Legislature’s Sustainable Aquaculture Committee Releases Report and Recommendations

The committee was split on their recommendations with the 5 new Democrats supporting the recommendations and the 4 Liberal members opposed.  The report recommends that the Northern Coast of BC reinstate the moratorium against any new fish farm permits keeping this area farm free and that within five years all salmon farms be converted to closed containment net pen systems.  Some state that the technology is not developed and test have proved unsuccessful in raising fish in closed containment systems.  One news article on this report stated that the BC Fish farming industry is a $453 billion dollar industry. 

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Swiftsure Foods of Washington and Sitka being Investigated

Swiftsure Foods of Washington with a plant in Sitka (Baranof Seafoods) is being investigated for mislabeling coho salmon as king salmon.  A search warrant was served at both facilities but no charges have been filed as they continue the investigation.

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Exxon Told to Pay Settlement

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider the Exxon Valdez case and told Exxon to pay the 2.5 Billion dollars punitive damages to the fishermen.  Exxon has already stated that they will take the case to the US Supreme Court. 

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HB 186 Charter Boat Data Sharing Legislation Passes Senate

The full Senate passed HB 186 the evening of May 15th unanimously.  The bill is now awaiting transmittal to the Governor.

This legislation allowed ADFG to share charter logbook data with NMFS/NOAA enforcement.  The legislation was supported by the charter industry and commerical longline industry equally.

SEAFA would like to thank the legislature for supporting and passing this legislation that both sectors agreed was important this session with an immediate effective date.  This will make all management measures being looked at by The North Pacific Fishery Management Council in June for 2C and October for 3A viable without the development of a second federal reporting system and make the application for moratorium permits a smoother process.

We would like to extend special thanks to Representative Harris who introduced the legislation at our request and the Representatives and Senators that co-sponsored the legislation.  These include REPRESENTATIVE(S) Thomas, Kelly, Seaton, Johnson, Wilson, Kerttula, Roses and SENATOR(s) Elton, Stedman, Wilken, Therriault, Kookesh, Thomas, Wagoner, Cowdery, Huggins, Stevens

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Are the Fisheries Used for Fish Meal Sustainable?

There are two fisheries undergoing MSC certification that are mainly used as ingredients in fish meal and fish oil. The use of forage fish in fish meal for feed for the farmed fish industry has been one of the factors that have prevented fish farms being certified under programs such as MSC. 

The Mexican Sardine fishery is currently undergoing the certification process and the Scottish western mackerel and North Sea herring fisheries are starting to seek the MSC certification process through the industry group  Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group.

Camiel Derichs, MSC’s North   European fisheries manager, told IntraFish.  “It’s a first step in the direction of having sustainable fish feed  or at least independently verified sustainable marine ingredients in  those feeds,”

The Intrafish article went on to say that “With fish feed accounting for as much as two-thirds of aquaculture 
producers’ costs, sustainable fish feed is not expected to come  cheap, especially in the early stages when volumes are low.

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