IPHC Commissioner Appointments Announced by White House

The White House issued a press release January 8th with the appointment of Commissioners to the International Pacific Halibut Commission. Bob Alverson, Jim Balsiger, and Don Lane were appointed. Below is information about each individual.

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Robert D. Alverson, Appointee for United States Commissioner, International Pacific Halibut Commission
Robert D. Alverson is currently Manager and Executive Secretary of the Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association, a position he has held since 1976. Since 2007, Mr. Alverson has served as a member of the Pacific Fishery Management Council Groundfish Advisory Panel. Mr. Alverson has also served on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s ITQ Advisory Committee for Halibut and Sablefish since 2005. He has served on both the Pacific Fishery Management Council and North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Mr. Alverson has been the recipient of numerous professional awards, including the Norwegian Commercial Club’s “King Neptune” award, for 30 years of service to the fishing industry. Mr. Alverson received a B.A. from the University of Washington.

Dr. James W. Balsiger, Appointee for United States Commissioner, International Pacific Halibut Commission
Dr. James W. Balsiger is currently Regional Administrator for the Alaska Region of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Marine Fisheries Service, a position he has held since 2000. He was appointed as United States Commissioner on the United States Section of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission in 2013. From 2008 to 2010, he served as the Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries at NOAA. Dr. Balsiger served as the Acting Regional Science and Research Director at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center from 1996 to 2000, where he also served as Deputy Science Director from 1991 to 1995. Prior to that, he was the Program Leader for the Status of Stocks Task within the Center’s Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management Division from 1977 to 1991. Dr. Balsiger received a B.S. from the Michigan Technological University, an M.S. from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington.

Donald R. Lane, Appointee for United States Commissioner, International Pacific Halibut Commission
Donald R. Lane is a commercial fisherman in Homer, Alaska. For more than 30 years, Mr. Lane has been the owner and operator of the fishing vessel Predator and has worked closely with the Alaska fishery communities, including recreational sport users, sport charters, and the commercial industry. From 1984 to 1992, Mr. Lane served as a member of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Homer Advisory Committee. He has served as member of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission since 1988 and as a member of the North Pacific Fisheries Association since 1985, serving as President from 1996 to 2002. Mr. Lane served in the United State Coast Guard from 1972 until 1975 and holds a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer Masters License.

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Gillnet Task Force Agenda Dec 4, 2013

       Southeast Alaska Drift Gillnet Task Force Agenda

Ted Ferry Civic Center, Naha Room, Ketchikan, Alaska

December 4, 2013, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

A.    Introduction of meeting participants, distribute meeting materials, and review agenda  

B.  Review of 2013 season and 2014 season outlook

  1. 2013 Gillnet Fishery Harvest and Value– Handouts
  2. Justin Breese – Tree Point
  3. Tom Kowalske – Prince of Wales and Stikine
  4. Dave Harris – Taku/Snettisham
  5. Randy Bachman – Lynn Canal
  6. Andy Piston – 2013 escapement review 

C.  Hatchery Operators Summaries and Forecasts

  1. DIPAC – Eric Prestegard
  2. NSRAA – Steve Reifenstuhl
  3. SSRAA – John Burke/Susan Doherty

D.  Discussion Issues

  1. McDonald Lake update, escapement, sentinel project. (Andy Piston)
  2. Status update for the statewide pink and chum salmon hatchery/wild interaction studies. (Ron Josephson)
  3. District 8 spring troll and gillnet openings. (Troy)
  4. Stikine subsistence fishery, FSB increase of subsistence sockeye harvest. (Troy)
  5. Taku and Stikine Chinook spring opening. (Troy, Dave H)
  6. Amalga Harbor purse seine fishery, sockeye harvest 2012-13. (Dave H)
  7. Snettisham wild/hatchery harvest strategy. Stephens Passage mesh restrictions. (Dave H)
  8. Icy/Chatham/Amalga/Lisianski sockeye genetic sampling program update (Andy Piston, Dan Gray)
  9. Genetic analysis, capacity & ability to handle demands, status of funding and laboratory capacity, status of sockeye baseline studies.  (Dan Gray)
  10. Troll and Gillnet Coho extensions, additional gillnet opportunities. (Dan Gray/Troy T)
  11. Limestone Inlet pink salmon harvest management. (Dave H)
  12. Pink and coho salmon escapements. (Andy Piston, management staff)
  13.  Kootznoowoo concerns, update on extended jurisdiction, ADFG cooperation, 2013 subsistence harvest and escapement, Kanalku modifications, collection of sockeye genetics – 2012 – 2014 plan, harvest in Icy Strait, Chatham and Lynn Canal. (USFS, Dave H, Randy B)
  14. Skeena River issues. (Scott W)
  15. Adding latitude/longitude to regulations and EO announcements. (Staff)
  16. Opening District 11C below Midway Island on a regular basis, beginning the 1st week of the gillnet season. (Dave H)
  17. Discussion of impacts of increasing gillnets from 60 to 80/90 meshes deep. (5AAC33.331) (Staff)
  18. Board of Fisheries proposals. (Dan Gray, staff)
  19. Department budget update for FY2014 and FY2015.  How did SE absorb FY2014 cuts? (Dan Gray)
  20. ADFG involvement/funding in evaluating USFS rehabilitation projects and AK/BC mine reviews:
    1. Overview of Unuk River stocks and potential KSM Mine impacts(Scott W)
    2. Tulsequah Chief Mine (Taku)(Dave H)
    3. Galore Creek Mine (Stikine)(Troy)
    4. Bokan Mine (Moira Sound) (Scott W)
  21. ADFG Personnel changes and replacements – Deputy Commissioner Bedford, Gordy Williams, Sue Aspelund, Scott Kelley. (Dan Gray)

E.  Future Task Force Meetings

1.   Set next meeting time and place (Petersburg/Wrangell)  

F.  Adjourn

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Purse Seine Agenda – December 3, 2013

Southeast Alaska Purse Seine Task Force Agenda
Ted Ferry Civic Center, Naha Room, Ketchikan, Alaska
December 3, 2013, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

I. Call meeting to order and introductions – Introduce participants, distribute handouts, and review agenda. Dan Gray & Bob Thorstensen

II. Review of 2013 season and Preview of 2014 season

1) Summary of 2013 Season Harvest, Effort, & Value – Handouts
2) 2013 salmon escapements/harvests and 2014 ADF&G pink salmon forecast– Andy Piston
3) The NOAA 2014 Southeast Pink Salmon Forecast from Ecosystem Monitoring in Southeast Alaska – Joe Orsi
4) Ketchikan Management Area – Scott Walker
5) Petersburg Management Area – Troy Thynes
6) Sitka Management Area – Dave Gordon
7) Juneau Management Area – Dave Harris

III. Review Hatchery harvests, forecasts, and plans

8) SSRAA – John Burke
9) NSRAA – Steve Reifenstuhl
10) DIPAC – Eric Prestegard

IV. Discussion of issues identified by Task Force Members
1) Status update for the statewide pink and chum salmon hatchery/wild interaction studies. (Ron Josephson)
2) Kendrick Bay spring fishery – conservation measures due to excessive bycatch. (Scott Walker)
3) Loss of one day of fishing at Dall Island during week 31. Management of Week 30 and the Juel Pt. line. (Scott Walker)
4) Northern Gravina Island closure during the final weeks of the season. (Scott Walker)
5) 20% Hidden Falls Tax Assessment – is legislation needed and how is this cost recovery system working? (NSRAA)
6) Hidden Falls broodstock. (NSRAA)
7) Amalga fishery – management and other issues that may arise from fishing in a small area on a road system. (Dave Harris)
8) Hawk Inlet fishery management and breakdown of District 12 subdistrict harvests in 2013. (Dave Harris)
9) Board of Fisheries Proposals. (Dan Gray)
10) GSI Sampling – number of samples, from which fisheries, preliminary data. (Dan Gray)
11) Coho salmon escapement. (Andy Piston, management staff)
12) Pink salmon escapement – low water/weather related issues; thoughts on why SSE was stronger than NSE compared to 2011. (Andy Piston, management staff)

V. ETJ Petition – Forest Service staff

VI. Time and location of next meeting – Petersburg/Wrangell

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ADFG 2014 Southeast Pink Salmon Prediction

The 2014 pink salmon prediction is for 22 million pinks. This is below the 10 year average of 41 million pinks but consistent with the average for even years only. This put the return in the average range for management actions. This will be discussed at the Seine task force meeting December 3rd in Ketchikan at 9:00 and NMFS will present their forecast at this meeting.

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District 1 Gillnet Fishery Closed.

ADFG in their weekly announcement closed District 1 for the gillnet salmon fishery. District 6, 8, 11 and 15 are still open.

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NPFMC Reviews Observer Program

October 2013 C-1 Observer Program Motion
The Council supports the overall provisions for observer coverage described in the 2014 Draft Annual Deployment Plan and the specific observer advisory committee (OAC) recommendations on page 3-5 of the September OAC report. The Council also recommends continuing the policies that allow vessels to make an annual selection for 100% coverage in the BSAI Pacific Cod fishery, and conditional release of vessels to address space and safety concerns.
The Council requests NMFS consider the suggestions provided on page 6 of of the OAC report regarding how to prioritize deployment of the 14 cameras available in the NMFS electronic monitoring pilot project in 2014.
The Council requests NMFS explore whether allowing clean up IFQ trips in multiple regulatory areas is best addressed through a regulatory amendment to the observer program or the IFQ program.
The Council requests that the tables showing preliminary catch data and data on observer coverage from the B-2 supplemental be updated with the entire 2013 data set and included in the June 2014 program performance review. In addition to these tables should show the percentage of catch observed using these same categories. The methods used to calculate total mortalities of halibut in metric tons should also be reviewed and refined in these tables.
Sentence was added to motion to include comments and requests from the SSC.
Clarified that the EM group will not be formed as it appears the timing is not right.

Points from OAC Meeting pages 3-5
• OAC continues to support the priority of setting a higher selection rate for the PSC-limited fisheries.
• OAC recommends further analysis of the de minimus issue be undertaken to evaluate them.
• OAC recommends that the Council initiate a regulatory amendment to address tender activity.
• Overall, the majority of the OAC supports the 2014 ADP, while continuing to support the need to improve some aspects of the restructured observer program.
• OAC recognizes that the actual sampling rate in the vessel selection pool is a concern
• OAC endorses the alternative salmon genetic sampling approach that is incorporated in the 2014 ADP

Page 6 OAC comments on EM
• Noting the Council’s existing priority for developing EM is the 40-57.5” fleet that is not restricted by PSC limits, these vessels should be the first priority for the 2014 pilot program. Secondary priorities can be determined by seeing how other fleets would match against the pilot program monitoring objectives.
• Focus on vessels that have already been released from the requirement to have a human observer, or go back to the Council’s April 2012 comment letter that linked the release from coverage after random selection to the offer of an EM unit. In this way, the EM program would provide data on vessels that would not otherwise be in the program, rather than reducing the pool of vessels that would otherwise have coverage.
• Get as much utility from the camera units during the year as possible, including deployment on multiple vessels. For example, consider deploying in the small boat Pacific cod A season, until vessels switch to salmon fishing. Need to clarify whether only the 14 vessels identified at the beginning of the year will be placed in the zero selection category, or whether that applies to any vessel on which the cameras are placed during the year.
• Be transparent about the objectives of the 2014 EM pilot program, as a way to determine which are the best vessels to participate. For example, is the objective to observe a vessel that is spending most of its time fishing, in order to assess how a lot of data can be processed; to see how easily (or not) cameras can be transferred among vessels; or to see how physically robust the camera systems are when they are used throughout the year in different weather conditions. Prioritize cameras for those vessels whose fishing characteristics are most likely to achieve the stated objectives.

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Link to OAC minutes Sept 2013 meeting: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/PDFdocuments/conservation_issues/Observer/913_OACreport.pdf
Link to B-2 supplemental report: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/PDFdocuments/conservation_issues/Observer/NMFSletter913.pdf
NMFS Letter to Council about EM pilot program
http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/PDFdocuments/conservation_issues/Observer/EMpilotletter913.pdf
NMFS letter on information requests (council)
http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/PDFdocuments/conservation_issues/Observer/NMFS_InfoRequestsRpt_913.pdf
2014 draft Annual Deployment Plan:
http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/PDFdocuments/conservation_issues/Observer/2014AnnualDeploymentPlan913.pdf

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Southeast Task Force Meetings and RPT Meeting in Ketchikan

SOUTHEAST ALASKA REGIONAL PLANNING TEAM, PURSE SEINE TASK FORCE, AND DRIFT GILLNET TASK FORCE MEETINGS SCHEDULE
Sitka. . . The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the following information about the Southeast Alaska Purse Seine and Drift Gillnet Task Force meetings and the Southeast Regional Planning Team meeting.
The department holds annual meetings each year between fishery managers, researchers, aquaculture organizations, fishermen, gear group organizations, processing company representatives, and interested organizations to review the previous salmon season, to discuss topics of importance for management of the fisheries, and to plan for the following season. Task force meetings have rotated between communities to provide increased access and participation. At the request of participants, task force meetings will be held in conjunction with the Southeast Regional Planning Team (RPT) fall meeting. This year both task force meetings, as well as the RPT, will be held in Ketchikan.
The RPT meeting is scheduled for December 2, 2013. The meeting will be held at the Ted Ferry Civic Center in the Naha Room from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
The Purse Seine Task Force meeting is scheduled for December 3, 2013. The meeting will be held at the Ted Ferry Civic Center in the Naha Room from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
The Drift Gillnet Task Force meeting is scheduled for December 4, 2013. The meeting will be held at the Ted Ferry Civic Center in the Naha Room from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Agendas for the seine and gillnet meetings will be developed in cooperation between the department and the Southeast Alaska Seiners Association, the United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters Association, the Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance, and the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association. Individuals with suggested topics for discussion should contact these organizations or the department. In order to finalize the agenda, please have suggested topics in by November 22.

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2013 Northern SE Inside Sablefish Quota Announcement

2013 NORTHERN SOUTHEAST INSIDE (NSEI) SUBDISTRICT SABLEFISH FISHERY ANNUAL HARVEST OBJECTIVE ANNOUNCEMENT
The 2013 NSEI Subdistrict commercial sablefish fishery annual harvest objective (AHO) is 1,002,162 round pounds. There are 78 valid Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) permits for 2013, one less than in 2012; therefore the individual equal quota share (EQS) is 12,848 round pounds (a 4% increase from the 2012 EQS of 12,342 round pounds). The AHO is based on the sablefish acceptable biological catch (ABC) with decrements made for sablefish mortality in other fisheries.
The fishery opens by regulation at 8:00 a.m., August 15, 2013 and will close at 12:00 noon November 15, 2013. Permit holders should have received a letter detailing any legal overage or underage incurred during the 2012 fishing season; 2013 personal quota shares (PQS) will be adjusted based on this amount. Permit holders who did not receive that letter should contact Kamala Carroll at (907) 747-6688.
NSEI sablefish abundance has historically been estimated with a mark-recapture project. The ABC increased 4% in 2013 (1,207,282 round pounds) relative to the 2012 ABC (1,160,674 round pounds). Total sablefish abundance decreased 7% from the last abundance estimate in 2010; the increase in 2013 ABC was due primarily to updated sablefish length, age, and maturity data used in the harvest rate calculation and biomass forecast. An F50% biological reference point (BRP) was used for calculating the 2013 ABC, resulting in a harvest rate of 7.8%. Commercial fishery catch per unit effort (CPUE) increased slightly in 2012 from 2011 levels; longline survey CPUE in round pounds per hook was stable.
2013 Survey Activities
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) conducted a sablefish tagging event in the NSEI Subdistrict using the ADF&G vessel, R/V Medeia, from May 21–June 14, 2013. Sablefish were captured using pot gear, tagged, and released. Tagged fish will be recovered in the 2013 ADF&G longline survey, commercial, subsistence, personal use, and recreational fisheries. The resultant data will be used to calculate a biomass estimate and set the 2014 NSEI Subdistrict commercial sablefish AHO.
The 2013 ADF&G longline survey is scheduled for July 28–August 3, 2013. Data from the 2013 longline survey will be used to obtain current size, age, and sexual maturity information for the 2014 stock assessment. We are still seeking to charter a third vessel for the southern portion of our longline survey. Please contact Kristen Green at (907) 747-6688 for more information about participating in this program
For the full news release http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/home/news/pdfs/newsreleases/cf/293718980.pdf

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Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Shortened

ADFG announced today that the 2013/14 commercial Dungeness crab season will be reduced by 7 days. The summer season will close on August 8, 2013 at 11:59 pm. Season length for the 2013/14 commercial Dungeness crab season will be announced after a thorough review of all available fishery performance data.

 

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Chatham Longline Survey Bid Announcement

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (department) intends to use three chartered commercial fishing vessels to conduct a longline survey assessing relative abundance of sablefish in the Northern Southeast Inside (NSEI) Subdistrict. Chartered longline vessels will be contracted for up to 14 days beginning July 28, 2013. Survey vessels may accommodate up to three NSEI permit holders however, a vessel does not need to have a permit holder on board to bid or participate in the survey. Permit holders will be authorized to sell sablefish harvested aboard the vessel in an amount equal to their 2013 Personal Quota Share (PQS). Participating permit holders must be present on the vessel until their PQS is offloaded and recorded on a fish ticket (i.e. during the mid-trip offload to a tender).
The survey encompasses a northern, middle, and southern portion; each portion includes 14 or 15 sets. Survey portions will be bid separately. The lowest bidding vessel meeting all contract requirements will be selected for each portion. The survey is expected to require seven days of fishing and travel time, but weather or mechanical problems could extend this. Vessels must be a minimum of 50 feet in overall length. Interested vessel owners must provide a vessel captain with five years experience operating a longline fishing vessel in Alaskan waters. In addition, three crew members must be provided, two of which must have a minimum of three years commercial longlining experience. The department will provide bait, hooks, and longline skates. Survey vessels will be responsible for fuel and other fishing gear. Two department staff will be deployed on each vessel to collect survey data. Meals and accommodations for department staff will be provided by the contract vessel. Interested vessels must have passed a United States Coast Guard Commercial Fisheries Vessel Safety Inspection in the past 12 months. The department will provide bid packets to interested parties. Bid packets are due to Kristen Green in the Sitka Area Office no later than 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, 2013.

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