Alaska/Pacific Coast

Pacific Cod Pot Gear Harvests Closed in Western GOA
Fishermen’s News – February 22, 2017
Federal fisheries officials have issued a temporary rule putting a halt to the harvest of Pacific cod by vessels using pot gear in the western Gulf of Alaska.
http://fnonlinenews.blogspot.com/2017/02/pacific-cod-pot-gear-harvests-closed-in.html

Alaska Fisheries Board to Tackle Upper Cook Inlet Finfish Issues
Fishermen’s News – February 22, 2017
There are 174 proposals on Upper Cook Inlet finfish issues that are up for consideration when the Alaska Board of Fisheries begins a 14-day public meeting in Anchorage tomorrow, Feb. 23. All portions of the meeting are open to the pubic and live audio stream is intended to be available at www.boardoffisheries.adfg.alaska.gov
http://fnonlinenews.blogspot.com/2017/02/alaska-fisheries-board-to-tackle-upper.html

National

Feds Quickly Exempting Fishery Regulations Stalled by Federal Freeze Order
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh – February 21, 2017
The federal freeze on approving new regulatory measures issued by the Trump Administration last month has stalled some fishery policies across the country. However, regional management councils and lawmakers have been able to secure quick exemptions from the freeze for some quota allocation changes and other vital fishery management protocols.

Last month, the White House issued a memo that called for a freeze on the implementation new federal regulations for further review.

The notice said regulations that have been sent to the official Federal Register but were not published,  should be withdrawn for review and approval.

Additionally, regulations that were published to the Federal Register but were not made effective, were temporarily postponed from their effective date for 60 days from January 20 when the freeze was initiated.

This order had repercussions for implementing several fishery regulations across the US.

In the South Atlantic, regulatory measures for black sea bass, dolphin and the king mackerel fisheries were stalled.

“NOAA Fisheries has delayed the effectiveness of two final rules affecting fishermen in Atlantic waters: a requirement to mark buoy lines for black sea bass pots in the South Atlantic with purple marks, and a 4,000-pound whole weight trip limit for dolphin in the Atlantic after 75 percent of the commercial sector annual catch limit has been met or projected to be met. The delay is in accordance with a memorandum dated January 20, 2017, issued by the White House,” NOAA said in a press release on February 2.

For king mackerel, this freeze delayed the implementation of stock boundary and annual catch limits. The South Atlantic Council office said these regulations were vital to the economic and social benefits of the commercial and recreational fishing sectors in the South Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic and Gulf regions.

“It is imperative that NMFS implement the new regulations as soon as possible,” said Dr. Michelle Duval, Chair of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Leanne Bosarge, Chair of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, said in a letter to NMFS.

On the West Coast, the regulatory freeze also stalled the issuance of updated rockfish quotas and the start of harvest specifications for 2017-18.

However, the federal freeze order includes an option to file for an exemption from the directive.

“The Freeze Memo authorizes the Director or Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget to make exceptions from the Freeze Memo’s requirements under paragraphs 1-3 “for emergency situations or other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial, or national security matters, or otherwise.” Please send your OIRA Desk Officer a list of such regulations, if any; the type of regulatory action each regulation is; which paragraphs of the Freeze Memo those regulations should be excepted from; and a brief explanation for each such regulation of the emergency situation or urgent health, safety, financial, national security, or other matter that forms the basis of the requested exception. The Office of Management and Budget will review your justification promptly and provide further guidance,” the White House said in a statement.

One such exemption was secured by Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio and other West Coast lawmakers. His office worked with several industry associations to immediately petition the Office of Management and Budget to exempt the West Coast rockfish quota implementation from the regulatory freeze.

This request was granted.

“Unfortunately, Oregon’s fishermen got caught in the Trump Administration’s blanket regulatory freeze, so I jumped in,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio. “I’m happy that the White House provided an exception so we could help a critical industry in the Pacific Northwest.”

A similar exemption for a cobia closure in the Mid-Atlantic was also approved.

So while the federal freeze law is stalling some regional regulations, obtaining a quick exemption from the OMB appears to be a viable option.
http://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1051644/Feds-Quickly-Exempting-Fishery-Regulations-Stalled-by-Federal-Freeze-Order

Environment/Science

Fluctuations in forage fish population are common, a study reveals
Fis.com – February 23, 2017
A new study shows in detail that forage fish stocks have experienced peak and decline cycles for centuries, and that at least three species living off the west coast of the United States have repeatedly experienced steep increases in population, followed by falls, long before the commercial fishing began.
http://fis.com/fis/worldnews/worldnews.asp?l=e&country=0&special=&monthyear=&day=&id=90163&ndb=1&df=0

Ask a Climatologist: We know it’s bad in the Arctic, what about the Antarctic?
Alaska Public Media by Annie Feidt – February 22, 2017
This week, we’re responding to a listener who asked whether it’s true that sea ice in Antarctic waters has been generally increasing, while Arctic sea ice has seen dramatic declines.
http://www.alaskapublic.org/2017/02/22/ask-a-climatologist-we-know-its-bad-in-the-arctic-what-about-the-antarctic/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+aprn-news+%28APRN%3A+Alaska+News%29

Global warming, overfishing threaten Earth’s “super-zoos,” scientists warn
CBS News by AP – February 22, 2017
WASHINGTON — The six ocean hot spots that teem with the biggest mix of species are also getting hit hardest by global warming and industrial fishing, a new study finds.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/global-warming-overfishing-threaten-earth-hot-spots-biodiversity-super-zoos/

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
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February 23, 2017