West Coast West Coast Dungeness Crab Quality Improving; Opening Date Still Unclear SeafoodNews by Susan Chambers - December 4, 2023 All three states released the latest round of Dungeness crab meat recovery results on Friday and while the numbers are improving, some areas -- primarily in northern Oregon and Washington -- are close but don't quite meet the threshold. Long beach, in Washington, increased from 18.4% to 19.4%, but is still shy of the 23% level necessary to open the season. Similarly, Astoria, Oregon, went up from 18.9% to 21.1 percent. Garibaldi met the 23% requirement, but the Newport North area, which must meet the higher threshold of 24%, was close at 23.7%. The rest of the areas south of there in both Oregon and California have crab that is ready for harvest. The full table of results can be found on the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission Tri-state Dungeness Crab website.Industry representatives are scheduled to discuss potential season opening structure with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife representatives today. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state's Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group will likely also assess the risk of whale entanglement this week prior to a potential mid-December season opening. According to the November 17 CDFW notice, the state would assess the risks in "early December" for a December 16 opening.The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will likely work with its industry representatives this week as well prior to managers from all three states determining a season opening date and for which areas. Additionally, the WDFW notified crabbers recently that all vessels participating in the Washington coastal Dungeness crab fishery must have a qualifying electronic monitoring system installed, activated with WDFW, and transmitting data to the Pacific States Marine Fishery Commission by January 1, 2024. More information on EM can be found at this link. .WDFW has partnered with PSMFC and Archipelago Marine Research to provide an EM system to qualifying fishery participants. As of mid-November, Archipelago has shipped an EM system to every fisherman who applied through WDFW. EM systems are still available and WDFW will continue to accept EM applications based on availability. Instructions on how to apply can be found here. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1266872/West-Coast-Dungeness-Crab-Quality-Improving-Opening-Date-Still-Unclear National Biden-Harris Administration makes $106 million available for Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund as part of Investing in America agendaFunds will support West Coast and Alaska salmon and steelhead recovery NOAA Fisheries - December 5, 2023 Today, the Department of Commerce and NOAA are announcing the availability of up to $106 million in funding through the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) for Pacific salmon and steelhead recovery and conservation projects. This funding — which includes funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — will support state and tribal salmon restoration projects and activities to protect, conserve and restore these fish populations and their habitats. https://www.noaa.gov/news-release/biden-harris-administration-makes-106-million-available-for-pacific-coastal-salmon-recovery-fund Senators Markey, Sullivan Introduce FISH Wellness Act Urner Barry by Amanda Buckle - December 4, 2023 Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska are working together to address occupational safety and health risks facing commercial fishermen.Late last week Markey and Sullivan introduced the Fishing Industry Safety, Health and Wellness Improvement (FISH Wellness) Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation to build upon the success of the Commercial Fishing Occupational Safety Research and Training Program.Commercial fishing is considered one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reporting that in 2019, commercial fishermen “experienced world-related fatalities at a rate over 40 times higher than the average worker. Based on data from 2000 to 2019, 878 commercial fishermen died from a traumatic injury while fishing in the U.S., which is an average of over 43 deaths per year. This new legislation will increase the authorized funding for the Commercial Fishing Occupational Safety Research & Training Program, which will in turn make the research and training grants more accessible on every coast.“Every day, our fishermen are faced with demanding and dangerous working conditions that take both a physical and mental toll, all while they work to bring food to the tables of families across the country,” said Senator Markey. “The FISH Wellness Act will provide much needed funding to ensure that fishermen are getting the information and resources they need to stay safe and healthy on the job.”“Fishermen contend with extreme weather, long distances and periods away from shore and family, and often strenuous working conditions – factors that contribute to the industry being consistently ranked among the most dangerous in the country,” added Senator Sullivan. “I’m glad to introduce the FISH Wellness Act with Senator Markey, which would expand job safety training opportunities to support our fishermen as they sustainably harvest a world-class renewable resource and strengthen our coastal communities.”Looking further at data compiled by NIOSH, nearly half of all the 878 fatalities reported occurred after a vessel factor. 266 of the recorded deaths were due to falls overboard, and another 122 deaths were results from injuries sustained while onboard. The remaining 76 fatalities occurred while diving or from onshore injuries. While the fatalities were spread across the U.S., the most occurred on the East Coast (288 or 33%) and Alaska (236 or 27%).You can find a copy of the FISH Wellness Act here. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1266878/Senators-Markey-Sullivan-Introduce-FISH-Wellness-Act Environment/Science NOAA Study Focuses on Marine Heatwave Impacts on Chum Salmon Fishermen's News - December 6, 2023 Federal fisheries scientists who have been studying Western Alaska chum salmon for nearly two decades say recent marine heatwaves in the eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska may have had a critical role in the survival of juvenile chum salmon. https://fishermensnews.com/noaa-study-focuses-on-marine-heatwave-impacts-on-chum-salmon/ NPAFC Workshop to Focus on Climate Change’s Impact on Salmon, Trout Fishermen's News - December 6, 2023 A two-day workshop planned for June 4-5 in Vancouver, British Columbia by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC), is to focus on abundance and distribution trends of Pacific salmon and steelhead trout in a changing North Pacific Ocean. https://fishermensnews.com/npafc-workshop-to-focus-on-climate-changes-impact-on-salmon-trout/ Federal Register Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher/Processors Using Hook-and-Line Gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/05/2023 NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher/processors using hook-and-line (HAL) gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2023 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) apportioned to catcher/processors using HAL gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/12/05/2023-26660/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pacific-cod-by-catcherprocessors-using Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; Revised Final 2023 and 2024 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/06/2023 NMFS publishes revisions to the final 2023 and 2024 harvest specifications for the 2024 groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI) that are required by the final rule implementing Amendment 122 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). This action is necessary to revise the 2024 trawl catcher vessel sector's Pacific cod allocation of the total allowable catch and associated halibut and crab prohibited species catch (PSC) limits in the BSAI. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/12/06/2023-26639/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-bering-sea-and-aleutian-islands-revised-final Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; Proposed 2024 and 2025 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish A Proposed Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/05/2023 NMFS proposes 2024 and 2025 harvest specifications, apportionments, and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) management area. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2024 and 2025 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The 2024 harvest specifications supersede those previously set in the final 2023 and 2024 harvest specifications, and the 2025 harvest specifications will be superseded in early 2025 when the final 2025 and 2026 harvest specifications are published. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/12/05/2023-26707/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-bering-sea-and-aleutian-islands-proposed-2024 Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Review and Approval; Comment Request; West Coast Groundfish Trawl Economic Data A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/05/2023 https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/12/05/2023-26661/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-to-the-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-for
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