Alaska/Pacific Coast

A Dozen Coastal Alaska Legislators Ask Council for 50% cut in Bering Sea Halibut Bycatch
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  By Peggy Parker – April 22, 2015
The letter, signed by twelve coastal legislators, ask the NPFMC to “adopt a regulation change this June to reduce halibut bycatch limits by 50 percent.”

The group of four senators and eight representatives are from most coastal communities in Alaska, with a few exceptions, most notably Kodiak.

The letter describes the “startling dynamic” of high volumes of bycatch in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) while directed landings of halibut have decreased over the past ten years.

“In 2014, the BSAI trawl fisheries killed and discarded seven times more individual halibut than the directed fishery in the same region landed,” the letter states.

“This bycatch total was overwhelmingly comprised of juveniles, weighing less than five pounds on average and well below the level of maturity necessary ever to have reproduced.

“In tagging studies conducted by the International Paacific Halibut Commission, 70 to 90 percent of halibut tagged in the Bering Sea were recovered in the Gulf of Alaska. Hense, the waste allowed int eh BASAI is adversely affecting halibut users far beyond the Bering Sea.”

The legislators referred to bycatch caps remaining unchanged while directed halibut landings have diminished by 70 percent over the last 15 years.

Overall bycatch landings in the BSAI had been declining but by smaller incredments than directed landings. In 2014 halibut bycatch increased significantly in a large portion of the Bering Sea.

“Conservation measures implemented over the past 15 years to address declining halibut stocks have fallen disproportionately on the backs of halibut fishers all over the state,” the letter claims.

We urge the NPFMC to carefully consider the effects of halibut bycatch on all Alaskan coastal communities and in June make a 50 percent reduction in bycatch limits in the BSAI to ensure tha the directed halibut fisheries across Alaslan waters remain viable.

The letter is signed by Senators Hoffman, Olson, Egan, Micciche, and Representatives Edgmon, Herron, Foster, Munoz, Seaton, Kreiss-Tomkins, Ortiz, and Colver.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/972791/A-Dozen-Coastal-Alaska-Legislators-Ask-Council-for-50-percent-cut-in-Bering-Sea-Halibut-Bycatch

State Lawmakers Echo Calls to Limit Halibut Bycatch
KUCB by Lauren Rosenthal – April 22 2015
Alaska lawmakers are adding their voices to the chorus seeking new limits on the Bering Sea trawl fleet.
A dozen representatives and senators from around the state have sent a letter to the chair of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. They’re asking for a 50 percent reduction in the amount of halibut that trawlers can take as bycatch.
http://kucb.org/news/article/state-lawmakers-echo-calls-to-limit-halibut-bycatch/

 

International

New Report Values World’s Oceans at $24 trillion
The Fish Site – April 23, 2015
GLOBAL – The value of the ocean’s riches rivals the size of the world’s leading economies, but its resources are rapidly eroding, according to a newreport released by WWF.
The report, Reviving the Ocean Economy: The case for action – 2015, analyses the ocean’s role as an economic powerhouse and outlines the threats that are moving it toward collapse as well as highlighting three essential actions for governments in 2015.
http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/25523/new-report-values-worlds-oceans-at-24-trillion/

Seafood Expo Global Turns in Solid Show Despite Transit Strike, Weak Euro
Seafood News – April 22, 2015
Inline image 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLesIt7MVoTPqBXJyfHTSKzb09u2ekM5AB&v=n469Viu9iqw

Federal Register

Endangered and Threatened Species; Identification of 14 Distinct Population Segments of the Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae
A Proposed Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 04/21/2015
We, NMFS, have completed a comprehensive status review of the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and announce a proposal to revise the listing status of the species. We propose to divide the globally listed endangered species into 14 distinct population segments (DPSs), remove the current species-level listing, and in its place list 2 DPSs as endangered and 2 DPSs as threatened. The remaining 10 DPSs are not proposed for listing based on their current statuses. This proposal also constitutes a negative 12-month finding on a petition to delineate and “delist” a DPS of humpback whales spanning the entire North Pacific and a positive 12-month finding on a petition to delineate and “delist” a DPS in the Central North Pacific (Hawaii breeding population).
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/21/2015-09010/endangered-and-threatened-species-identification-of-14-distinct-population-segments-of-the-humpback

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Trawl Catcher Vessels in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 04/23/2015
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2015 Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to trawl catcher vessels in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA.
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/23/2015-09456/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-trawl-catcher-vessels-in-the?utm_campaign=subscription+mailing+list&utm_medium=email&utm_source=federalregister.gov

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of Alaska
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 04/23/2015
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the B season allowance of the 2015 total allowable catch of pollock for Statistical Area 630 in the GOA.
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/23/2015-09450/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pollock-in-statistical-area-630-in-the-gulf-of?utm_campaign=subscription+mailing+list&utm_medium=email&utm_source=federalregister.gov

FYI’s

Seafood Harvesters of America Adds Two Fisheries Organizations
Fishermen’s News – April 22, 2015
Seafood Harvesters of America has announced the addition of the Midwater Trawlers Cooperative and Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association to its membership list.
http://fnonlinenews.blogspot.com/2015/04/seafood-harvesters-of-america-adds-two.html

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April 23, 2015