Ocean Ranching by Hatcheries is top agriculture Product in Alaska

Ocean Ranching of salmon by our hatcheries is considered largest agricultural industry in Alaska. Laine Welch in her weekly column wrote, “According to the annual report on Alaska’s salmon enhancement programs, nearly 1.5 billion baby salmon were released to the ocean last year, while 48 million returned to their home hatcheries.

Those fish accounted for about 20 percent of Alaska’s total salmon catch last year — and at nearly $59 million, 21 percent of the harvest value.”



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NMFS Publishes Proposed Rule to Restrict the Halibut Charter Fishery in 2C for 2007

The NMFS has published a proposed rule that would restrict the 2C halibut charter fleet for the 2007 season a 2-fish bag limit but one of the fish must be under 32″.  The expectation is that this will save approximately 400,000 lbs of fish.  This regulation is meant to replace the IPHC recommendation that was rejected by the Sec of State & Sec of Commerce.  NMFS believes that this rule will have less impact on the charter operators, and communities than a one-fish bag limit for 6 weeks.  While a maximum size limit of 32″ on the second fish is not a choice that leaps to the minds of commercial operators as a choice that makes sense,  the thing to keep in mind is that a regulation that restricts the charter industry is being implemented and this rule should be supported with that in mind.  Through the council process we can comment in June on an alternative that we believe would be better for implementation in 2008. 

The attached press release below provides additional information along with links to the analysis for the options considered and to the proposed rule.


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Pollock Fishery Has High Chinook Bycatch Numbers

Becca Robbins Gisclair works for the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association in Anchorage wrote an opinion piece in the Anchorage Daily News.  Shestates that the Bering Sea/Aleution Island pollock fleet caught 74,000 chinook in 2005; 84,000 chinook in 2006 and 700,000 chums in 2005 and 325,000 chums in 2006.  Two months into the pollock season in 2007 the chinook cycatch is already at 64,000.  Go to attached link for full letter to the editor.


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Salmon Treaty Chinook Numbers Released

The Abundance level (AI) of chinook for the pre-season estimate is 1.60 compared to 1.69 preseason estimate last year.  The final post-season abundance index ended at 1.73.

This abundance index gives Southeast Alaska a harvest quota of 329,400 kings.  This translates into:

Drift Gillnet              9,552

Purse Seine            14,164

Setnet                     1,000

Troll                     243,747

Sport                    60,936

This amounts to 17,000 fish less than last year on the overall quota.


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NPFMC Halibut Charter Actions and motions

The NPFMC finished action on halibut charter agenda items 24 hours later than expected at noon on Sunday 4/1/07.  The actual motions are attached at the end of this summary – these motions are what they started with and my notes as they made amendments are handwritten in. 

The NPFMC took final action on the halibut charter moratorium.  The qualifiying criteria is 5 bottomfish trips in 2004 or 2005 and the year prior to implementation.  It is expected that the charter fleet will be operating under the moratorium in 2009.

The NPFMC initiated an action for a halibut charter allocation package.  This was two actions that are linked.  The first action was the allocation amounts that might be determined as a percent of a combined fishery catch limit (floats with the abundance of the biomass) or fixed poundages with stair steps up or down with the biomass.  The ranges for 2C are 12-17% or 1.4Mlbs-1.9Mlbs and in 3A 13-15% or 3.7Mlbs-4.2Mlbs.  This would become a hard allocation with sector accountability in other words if the charter industry exceeds their allocation it will be subtracted from them the following year.  This action was tied to analysis of compensated reallocation mechanisms.  Several council members expressed their opinion that they want initial review of this package in October and final action on the allocation in December.

The NPFMC failed a motion to support the amendment of the halibut act that would allow delegation of authority for management of the halibut charter fishery to the State of Alaska.

The NPFMC released the 2C GHL management measures to the public with final action scheduled for June 2007.  An analysis of 3A management measures was initiated with initial review in June and final action in October.

 The NPFMC also provided the halibut charter stakeholder meeting with some directions.  One that the allocation between the sectors was not to be discussed but a priority was given to work on the compensated reallocation issue followed by work on the long term solutions with a emphasis on the limited entry program rather than the IFQ.


Council Draft of Moratorium Motion


2C and 3A GHL management measures

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NPFMC Meeting

The NPFMC took final action today March 30th on the moratorium.  The minimum amount of bottomfish effort necessary to qualify for a moratorium permit is 5 trips in either 2004 or 2005 and the year prior to  implementation.  Any business owners that qualify a vessel for less than 15 bottomfish trips will receive a non-transferable permit until the long term solution is acted on, at that point they might receive something different or not qualify.

Next the NPFMS took action on GHL 2C management measures by requesting the analysis be released for public review with final action scheduled in June 2007 and started an analysis for 3A management measures.

The NPFMC is still hearing public testimony on the halibut allocation issue and state delegation. 

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HB 186

HB 186 to allow ADFG to share sportfish charter data with NMFS and NMFS enforcement was passed out of the House and was transmitted to the Senate on March 30, 2007. 

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Under the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species they are looking to list spiny dogfish as a species in danger.  This is due to the population decline in the European Countries.




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HB 186 Passes Out of Fishery Committee

HB 186, the legislation that allows ADFG to share charter logbook data and licensing with NMFS, IPHC and NOAA enforcement passed out of house fisheries committee today March 21, and will next go to  the Resources committee. This is one of the pieces needed to deal with the halibut charter issue.



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Shrimp Task Force Meeting Notes

Attached are the final notes from this years shrimp task force meeting.

Shrimp Task Force Meeting Notes

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