Tuesday, March 10, 2020

March 11, 2020

Alaska/Pacific Coast

Alaska ports surged in national rank during 2018 salmon season
KBBI by Jay Barrett - March 10, 2020
Salmon got its due in the latest “Fisheries of the United States” report by the National Marine Fisheries Service, released last week.
https://www.kbbi.org/post/alaska-ports-surged-national-rank-during-2018-salmon-season

Bristol Seafood invests in groundfish processing equipment; launches new cod, haddock portions
Seafood Source by Madelyn Kearns - March 9, 2020
Portland, Maine, U.S.A.-based supplier Bristol Seafood has invested in new equipment and technologies for its growing groundfish business, the company announced on 8 March.
https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/processing-equipment/bristol-seafood-significantly-invests-in-groundfish-processing-equipment-launches-new-cod-haddock-portions

Low Salmon Forecasts Cast a Pall Over Upcoming Salmon Seasons
SeafoodNews.com by Susan Chambers - March 10, 2020
Forecasts for many Chinook and coho stocks on the West Coast are low -- lower than last year and some nearing historic lows. Regardless, the Pacific Fishery Management Council and its advisory bodies developed alternatives for sport and commercial ocean salmon fisheries when it met last week in Rohnert Park, Calif.

The alternatives now go out for public review before the Council makes a final decision on salmon seasons at its meeting in Vancouver, Wash., on April 5-10.

“Developing the seasons for this year’s ocean salmon fisheries will be challenging for ocean fishermen and managers,” Council Executive Director Chuck Tracy said in a press release.

In addition to low forecasts, the Council is constrained by requirements to conserve Fraser River (Canada) coho and other natural coho runs; to conserve lower Columbia River natural tule fall Chinook; and to protect Sacramento River winter Chinook and Klamath River fall Chinook.

“Meeting our conservation objectives continues to be the highest priority for the Council,” Council Chair Phil Anderson said in the release. “In addition, the Council is considering the needs of Southern Resident killer whales as part of its deliberations. Poor ocean conditions and their effects on salmon productivity continue to make it challenging for the Council to meet its management objectives and sustain healthy fisheries. With five salmon rebuilding plans in place in 2020, the Council will look to adopt seasons designed to meet the requirements of the plans and provide meaningful commercial and recreational fisheries.”

Washington and Oregon north of Cape Falcon

Fisheries north of Cape Falcon (in northern Oregon) are limited by the need to reduce catch of lower Columbia natural tule Chinook and coho stocks of concern.

Additionally, three coho salmon stocks remain categorized as overfished (Queets River, Strait of Juan de Fuca) or not overfished/rebuilding (Snohomish), which is also a concern when structuring 2020 fisheries.

Tribal negotiations are under way, but at this time the Chinook and coho quotas for tribal ocean fishery alternatives range from 20,000 to 45,000 for Chinook salmon, compared to 35,000 in 2019; and from 0 to 30,000 coho, compared to 55,000 coho in 2019.

Under the range of alternatives, seasons open May 1 and continue through either August 31 or September 15.

North of Cape Falcon, the non-Indian ocean commercial fishery consist of two alternatives with traditional Chinook seasons between May and September. Chinook quotas for all areas and times range from 22,875 to 30,000, compared to 26,250 in 2019. Coho quotas in both alternatives range from 2,500 to 5,600 marked coho, compared to 30,400 in to 2019. The third alternative has the season closed in this area.

It's another challenging year for north of (Cape) Falcon, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's salmon fisheries policy lead Kyle Adicks said as he made the motion to finalize the three alternatives for public review. The low coho fishing in (alternatives) 1 and 2 and no fishing in alternative 3 reflect that, he added.

"With these alternatives in hand, we will work with stakeholders and co-managers to develop a final fishing package for Washington's coastal and inside waters that meets our conservation objectives for wild salmon," Adicks said.

Southern Oregon and California (south of Cape Falcon)

Fisheries south of Cape Falcon are limited by the need to reduce catch of Oregon Coast natural coho and Klamath River fall Chinook.

Klamath River fall Chinook and Sacramento River fall Chinook contribute significantly to ocean harvest, and currently remain categorized as overfished. Klamath River fall Chinook has a relatively low abundance forecast, which will limit salmon fisheries in Oregon and California.

On the other hand, Sacramento River fall Chinook, which comprises a large percentage of the catch in California and Oregon fisheries, are expected to be relatively abundant. This year’s management alternatives are designed to provide fishing opportunity for this more abundant Sacramento River fall run while reducing fishing impacts on Klamath River fall Chinook.

Commercial season alternatives south of Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain are constrained this year to protect Klamath River fall Chinook. Chinook salmon seasons are open April or May through September or October, with closed periods in most months.

The commercial alternatives in both the California and Oregon sectors of the Klamath Management Zone provide a range of Chinook quotas between May and August, with some additional time without quotas for the Oregon sector in April and May. Two alternatives have the California Klamath Management Zone closed for the season.

Commercial seasons south of Horse Mountain vary considerably between the alternatives, with constraints primarily intended to protect Klamath River fall Chinook. In general, the commercial alternatives in these management areas (Fort Bragg, San Francisco, and Monterey) provide similar or reduced levels of opportunity compared to last year.

Concerns regarding Southern Resident Killer Whales

The Council worked collaboratively with National Marine Fisheries Service to understand the effects of Council-area fisheries on Southern Resident killer whales, which are listed as endangered. Based in part on information provided by the Council’s ad-hoc Southern Resident Killer Whale Workgroup, NMFS provided guidance on the structure of the 2020 salmon fisheries to address the needs of the whales while providing salmon harvest opportunity, the Council noted in the release.

All alternatives keep total Chinook abundance well above the NMFS guidance.

Public hearings to receive input on the alternatives are scheduled for March 23 in Westport, Washington and Coos Bay, Oregon, and for March 24 in Eureka, California. The Council will consult with scientists, hear public comment, revise preliminary decisions, and choose a final alternative at its meeting in Vancouver, Washington, on April 5-10. The Council will forward its final season recommendations to NMFS for its approval and implementation no later than May 6. The alternatives can be found on the Council's website at https://www.pcouncil.org.
https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1166020/Low-Salmon-Forecasts-Cast-a-Pall-Over-Upcoming-Salmon-Seasons


Environment/Science
Narrow culverts have cut salmon off from habitat
CRWP-led project will upgrade culverts along Copper River Highway
Cordova Times by Zachary Snowdon Smith - March 7, 2020
When you put your thumb over the end of a garden hose, the water squirts out twice as hard. Something similar is happening along the Copper River Highway, where narrow, collapsing and clogged-up culverts have produced currents too strong for salmon to swim against. These culverts have, in effect, cut fish off from dozens of miles of upstream habitat.
https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2020/03/07/narrow-culverts-have-cut-salmon-off-from-habitat/


Federal Register
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; Final 2020 and 2021 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 03/09/2020
NMFS announces final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications, apportionments, and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the remainder of the 2020 and the start of the 2021 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 2020 harvest specifications supersede those previously set in the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications, and the 2021 harvest specifications will be superseded in early 2021 when the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications are published.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/03/09/2020-04475/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-bering-sea-and-aleutian-islands-final-2020-and

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 610 in the Gulf of Alaska
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 03/09/2020
NMFS is opening directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to fully use the A season allowance of the 2020 total allowable catch of pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/03/09/2020-04741/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pollock-in-statistical-area-610-in-the-gulf-of

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 03/09/2020
NMFS is opening directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to fully use the A season allowance of the 2020 total allowable catch of pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA.
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/03/09/2020-04742/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-pollock-in-statistical-area-630-in-the-gulf-of
 

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