Alaska/Pacific Coast

Naknek River Special Harvest Area’s tight fishing ground draws spectators
KDLG by Mitch Borden – July 10, 2018
The Naknek River is a little chaoctic as fishermen compete for fish in the Naknek River Special Harvest Area. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game have mandated fishermen fish in the river to help the Kvichak River reach its escapement goal. This is a challenge for fishermen but it is exciting for locals who now get to watch the sockeye fishery from the shores of the Naknek River.
http://kdlg.org/post/naknek-river-special-harvest-areas-tight-fishing-ground-draws-spectators#stream/0

Politics

Controversial Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Bill with 11 Amendments Goes to House Vote Today
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – July 11, 2018
As expected, the U.S. House of Representatives is set today to vote on H.R. 200, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act — the Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization bill sponsored by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.

The contentious legislation was delayed in June and instead sent to the Rules Committee to sort out which of the 27 proposed amendments would go to the House floor. The Rules Committee, along party lines, agreed to 11 of those amendments.

Those 11, in order, include:

1. A revised manager’s amendment by Young and Rep. Garret Graves, R-La. It revises some sections and adds a new section regarding the Western Alaska Community Development Quota Program. It proposes some reallocations of unused harvests of certain fish species in the Bering Sea, changes the voting structure of Community Development Quota Program Voting Panel and makes some technical fixes. It also allows for state marine statistical surveys of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico;

2. An amendment to create an industry-based pilot trawl survey for the new England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council regions (Reps. Joe Courtney, D-Conn. and Lee Zeldin, R-NY). The goal is to improve current NMFS trawl surveys using industry vessels;

3. A provision for a voting representative from Rhode Island on the MAFMC (Reps. Jim Langevin and David Cicilline, D-RI). Rhode Island lawmakers have been pushing for this for years and could change the entire voting structure on the Council;

4. An amendment ensuring rebuilding plans are successful in rebuilding overfished fish stocks (Reps. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., and Alcee Hastings, D-Fla.). Huffman has led the opposition to H.R. 200, even circulating a discussion draft of a bill that later was considered a substitute amendment but not approved by the Rules Committee. This amendment says, “… the new plan, amendment, or proposed regulation has at least a 75 percent chance of rebuilding the overfished fishery within the time limit proposed by the Council, as calculated by the scientific and statistical committee of the Council with jurisdiction over the fishery …,” which in many cases, is more restrictive than what some regional fishery management council currently deal with. This amendment has gotten both strong support and strong opposition. The National Coalition for Fishing Communities opposes the amendment: “If the provisions contained in this amendment were implemented, the required theoretical probability of management measures rebuilding a stock int he shortest time period as possible would increase from 50 percent to 75 percent for many species,” the NCFC wrote in a letter to lawmakers. “… While this sounds like an innocuous effort to strengthen and improve the law, the fact is, the only way to meet the requirements of the amendment would be to significantly reduce many commercial, charter and recreational quotas significantly. … Why, if the current Act’s requirements are having success in rebuilding stocks, is there a reason to require the law to be substantially more conservative?”

5. Waiving compensatory mitigation requirements for maintenance dredging projects in certain waterways (Reps. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., and Daniel Webster, R-Fla.);

6. Requiring the Comptroller General to report to Congress on the resource rent of Limited Access Privilege Programs in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Council areas (Rep. Garret Graves, R-La.). This requires a study to determine if resource rents on limited access privilege programs, or individual fishing quotas, exist and how to reclaim those rents. In other words, how some of the surplus revenue of quota programs can be reclaimed for the U.S. Treasury;

7. A plan to establish fully operational electronic monitoring and reporting procedures for the Northeast Multispecies Fishery (Rep. William Keating, D-Ma.). NOAA/NMFS would be required to pay for the equipment costs and installation, with some of the operational costs covered by the vessel owner.

8. A requirement for NOAA to conduct a study on all fees it charges the lobster industry and report those findings to Congress (Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine);

9. Lifting the ban on striped bass fishing in the Block Island transit zone between Montauk, NY and Block Island, RI (Rep. Zeldin, R-NY);

10. Directing the Secretary of Commerce to use funds collected from penalties and fines for monitoring, in addition to traditional enforcement activities (Rep. Keating); and

11. Rewarding the elimination of lionfish from U.S. waters by allowing individuals to exchange lionfish for tags authorizing fishing for certain species in addition to the number of such species otherwise authorized to be taken by such individuals (Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.). This amendment, called the Reef Assassin Act, aims to incentivize the removal of as many lionfish, an invasive species, as possible. It would allow a fisherman to receive a tag to take federally authorized species for every 100 lionfish tails submitted to state or federal authorities.

It’s expected that each amendment will be allowed 10 minutes of debate on the House floor today. Debates on H.R. 200 and the amendments will likely start around 2 p.m. Eastern time, with final votes near the end of the business day.
https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1109568/Controversial-Magnuson-Stevens-Reauthorization-Bill-with-11-Amendments-Goes-to-House-Vote-Today

Environment/Science

Pruitt resigns from EPA: What is next for Pebble?
National Fisherman by Jessica Hathaway – July 9, 2018
Fireworks rippled across dark horizons around the nation on the Fourth of July in celebration of Independence Day. The following afternoon, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s first foray into federal government leadership came to an end with no sparks, no bang, not even a dull thud. Rather, it came as a Tweet from the president.
https://www.nationalfisherman.com/viewpoints/alaska/pruitt-resigns-from-epa-what-is-next-for-pebble/

CDFW Launches E-tix Commercial Landings System One Year Ahead of Mandatory Electronic Reporting
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Susan Chambers – July 9, 2018
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently announced the availability of E-tix, a new electronic reporting system for commercial fishery landings that came online July 1. With the cooperation of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, the E-tix application has been adapted to allow electronic reporting of all California landing records, CDFW said in a statement.

Since 1933, CDFW has relied on paper landing receipts that over the years expanded to 16 different paper forms. CDFW staff have been responsible for manually entering the data and managing it in data systems that have evolved over the decades. Using E-Tix allows fish receivers to record both federal and state fisheries landings through one application.

Electronic reporting using E-tix has been required for all federal sablefish landings since 2017 and Individual Fishery Quota trawl fisheries landings since 2011.

Between November 2016 and October 2017, CDFW worked with fish businesses and the California Fish and Game Commission to propose and adopt electronic reporting regulations. The regulations allow for voluntary use of the E-tix system to report landings during a one-year transition period, allowing fish receivers to adapt business practices from the old paper system to E-tix by July 1, 2019. Approximately 74 percent of respondents to a December 2016 survey said one year or less was adequate for this transition.

Some first receivers remained concerned the new system will force unnecessary costs on them to upgrade. For example, buying a computer and/or access line at remote buying stations, particularly in smaller ports, can be expensive and could invite vandalism or theft, they said.

However, state and federal enforcement officials have reiterated the need for timely and more accurate catch accounting methods. They note that perhaps inexpensive tablets or smart phones, not full computers, could be used instead.

At the same time as the new E-tix roll out, CDFW’s Data and Technology Division is replacing the outdated Commercial Fisheries Information System to house and manage the landings data with a new, modern Marine Landings Data System. All data submitted using PSMFC’s E-Tix will be automatically transferred to CDFW’s Marine Landings Data System nightly.

CDFW encourages all fish receivers and fishermen with a fishermen’s retail license to begin using E-Tix well in advance of the mandatory electronic reporting date of July 1, 2019.

The E-Tix Login can be found at etix.psmfc.org/Account/Login. Resources to assist in this transition are available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Commercial/Landing-Resources.
https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1109246/CDFW-Launches-E-tix-Commercial-Landings-System-One-Year-Ahead-of-Mandatory-Electronic-Reporting

Vancouver-area laundry microplastics are filtering into ocean: study
Vancouver Sun by Terri Theodore – July 5, 2018
Microplastics from Metro Vancouver’s laundered clothes are ending up in water treatment plants and filtering into the ocean, says a study published in the science journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.
https://vancouversun.com/health/local-health/study-finds-vancouver-area-laundry-microplastics-are-filtering-into-ocean

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
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E-mail: pspafish@gmail.com; Website: www.pspafish.net
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July 11, 2018