Alaska Tribes, fishermen slam halt to Alaska-Canada water analysis Washington Post by Associated Press - March 2, 2021 JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska officials and authorities in the Canadian Province of British Columbia have announced they have completed and will not continue data collection on three transboundary watersheds, despite concerns from fishing and tribal interests that the effort does not go far enough. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/tribes-fishermen-slam-halt-to-alaska-canada-water-analysis/2021/03/02/397ebbbe-7b83-11eb-8c5e-32e47b42b51b_story.html West Coast States, Fishermen Form Salmon Season Options Ahead of PFMC Meeting SeafoodNews by Susan Chambers - March 1, 2021 As usual, the news about salmon returning to West Coast rivers and forecasts of abundance were mixed as state fishery managers met last week with sport fishermen and commercial trollers. The states, tribes,federal managers and industry will get together this week and next at the Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting to start formulating upcoming summer salmon seasons. They will meet again in April to finalize them before NMFS approves them later that month. A review of last year's seasons showed a dire season for most fisheries. Oregon fishery managers showed trollers caught only 12,755 Chinook, compared with almost 29,000 in 2019. But the low catch wasn't due just to impacts of lower demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. In some areas, the salmon just weren't there. One hundred seventy-four trollers fished 2,030 boat days last year, compared with 2,539 boat days in 2019 and almost the same number in 2018. So while 2020 effort was roughly 80 percent of what it was in 2019, fishermen caught less than half of what they did the year before. Last year was the lowest harvest Chinook except in 2008-2009, some seasons were completely closed, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Deputy Fish Division Administrator Chris Kern said. "Very, very, poor catches last year." In Washington and northern Oregon, the North of (Cape) Falcon area, fishermen didn't meet their quota, Oregon fishery managers said. For this year, some runs are weaker and will likely constrain some target fisheries, managers said. As always in years when many runs are expected to come in below average, fishery managers will be required to make some tough choices on what fisheries can open and when, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind said in a press release. About 354,200 "upriver brights" are expected to return to areas of the Columbia River above Bonneville Dam, a sizeable increase over the 299,300 fish that returned in 2020, but still below the 10-year average, WDFW said. Those increases will likely allow for some additional ocean and Columbia River fishing days. Additionally, coho runs look good, up from some dire years in the past decade. Nearly 1.6 million early and late Columbia River coho are projected to be available for this year’s ocean and Columbia River fisheries, primarily sport fisheries, which would represent a marked increase from last year’s return of approximately 363,000 fish, according to WDFW. In Oregon, coho abundance also is up, providing trollers with some optimism for a potential, keep-your-fingers-crossed coho season. "I'm not ruling out coho harvest on the troll side," Kern cautioned, "but we still have some other things to look at." In California, the forecast of escapement for the Sacramento River fall Chinook looks good, and that stock should be out of the "overfishing" box this year, managers said. And while those Sacramento numbers are key to the ocean salmon seasons south of Cape Falcon, in Oregon and California, managers cautioned the forecast for Klamath River fall Chinook is bleak. Incidental catch of Klamath Chinook will drive restrictions on potential troll seasons, particularly around southern Oregon and northern California. The Pacific Council will develop sport and commercial salmon seasons for review next week. Each state will also hold hearings to take input on those seasons before fishery managers finalize them in April. All meetings will be held virtually due to the pandemic. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1193126/States-Fishermen-Form-Salmon-Season-Options-Ahead-of-PFMC-Meeting National American Rescue Plan Act faces US Senate scrutiny this week Seafood Source by Christine Blank - March 2, 2021 U.S. foodservice industry groups celebrated after the House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan Act – U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposed USD 1.9 trillion (EUR 1.6 trillion) COVID-19 relief plan – in the early morning hours of Sunday, 28 February. https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/supply-trade/american-rescue-plan-act-faces-us-senate-scrutiny-this-week Biden's Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo, Confirmed By Senate NPR by Hansi Lo Wang - March 2, 2021 The Senate confirmed Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo on Tuesday as the next secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department. https://www.npr.org/2021/03/02/962856664/bidens-commerce-secretary-gina-raimondo-confirmed-by-senate Federal Register Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 03/02/2021 The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit application from the Coonamessett Farm Foundation contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. This Exempted Fishing Permit would allow a participating party/charter fishing vessel to temporarily possess undersized black sea bass for tagging and biological sampling purposes. Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for proposed Exempted Fishing Permits. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/03/02/2021-04264/magnuson-stevens-act-provisions-general-provisions-for-domestic-fisheries-application-for-exempted North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 03/02/2021 The Center of Independent Experts (CIE) will be hold a web conference in March. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/03/02/2021-04268/north-pacific-fishery-management-council-public-meeting FYI’s PFMC: Notice of availability: Salmon Preseason Report I Pacific Fishery Management Council - March 1, 2021 The following was released by the Pacific Fishery Management Council: This is the second report in an annual series of four reports prepared by the Salmon Technical Team of the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) to document and help guide ocean fishery salmon management off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. The report focuses on Chinook, coho, and pink salmon stocks that have been important in determining Council fisheries in recent years, and on stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with established National Marine Fisheries Service ESA consultation standards. This report will be formally reviewed at the Council’s March 2021 meeting. https://www.savingseafood.org/news/council-actions/pfmc-notice-of-availability-salmon-preseason-report-i/
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