Issue: March 2022

Commercial Poachers Convicted or Illegal Fishing  in Protected California Waters

Commercial Poachers Convicted or Illegal Fishing in Protected California Waters

A San Diego County judge has imposed a $5,000 fine on a Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel (CPFV) operating in a Marine Protected Area (MPA), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in mid-January. The fine represents the first implementation of increased commercial poaching fines and penalties under Assembly Bill 2369, authored by former San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, who resigned from office in early January. AB 2369, which is specific to illegal activity in California MPAs, went into effect in January 2019. The case was initiated in December 2020 by wildlife officers aboard the state patrol boat Thresher as a crew monitored Swami’s State Marine Conservation Area, one of many regions of California’s coast protected by designation as an MPA. Swami’s is ...
Wild Alaska Pollock Wins Sustainability Award

Wild Alaska Pollock Wins Sustainability Award

Management and sustainability efforts within the wild Alaska Pollock fishery have been recognized by the Marine Stewardship Council, which awarded its 2021 Ocean Champion Award to the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers. Bob Desautel, GAPP’s chief executive officer and sustainability committee chair, accepted the award Jan. 20 during the National Fisheries Institute’s Global Seafood Marketing Conference in Orlando, Fla. The award, established in 2017, recognizes fisheries and companies engaged with MSC who show continued leadership on sustainability exceeding MSC fisheries or chain of custody standards. Mikel Durham, chair of the GAPP board of directors, said the association feels so strongly about conserving its fisheries that they self-funded an industry-wide, third-part...
Alaska Bycatch Task Force Members Named

Alaska Bycatch Task Force Members Named

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has released a list of 11 Alaskans who will serve on the state’s Bycatch Review Task Force, which has been given the job of better understanding the unintended bycatch of fish such as halibut and salmon caught in state and federal waters. Bycatch is defined as fish that are harvested in a fishery but are not sold or kept. The state revealed the 11 appointees on January 7. Members of the Alaska legislature will fill two other non-voting seats on the task force. “While Alaska’s healthy and sustainable fisheries are an example for the entire world to follow, bycatch has remained a contentious issue of concern of all Alaskans,” Dunleavy said. “The 11 Alaskans who stepped forward to serve on the Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force represent key stakeholder groups and...
Off-the-Boat  Dungeness Crab Sales Begin in San Francisco

Off-the-Boat Dungeness Crab Sales Begin in San Francisco

A pilot program under which fresh crab may be sold fresh off the boats of commercial fishermen has been launched in San Francisco. The Port of San Francisco began allowing live Dungeness crab sales direct from fishing vessels in Fisherman’s Wharf at the start of the commercial crab season on Dec. 29. This is the first crab season in San Francisco where consumers are able to buy live crabs directly from local fishers. Off-the-boat crab sales were authorized for a pilot program by the San Francisco Port Commission in November. “The kickoff of San Francisco’s commercial crab season is a highlight for so many of us, especially with it coming just in time for New Year’s Eve,” Mayor London Breed said. “This new program will support our family-run businesses and provide the incredible experi...

Shark Fishing Now Mostly Banned in Hawaii

Shark fishing is now banned in Hawaii. A bill passed in the 2021 session of the Hawaii State Legislature to ban shark fishing took effect on Jan. 1. House Bill 553 makes it illegal to knowingly capture, entangle or kill a shark in state marine waters. The new law applies to all shark species found in Hawaiian waters. “Our department is well aware of how important sharks are to maintain healthy marine ecosystems,” state Division of Aquatic Resources Administrator Brian Neilson said. “And we recognize their importance for native Hawaiian cultural practices and beliefs.” The new law does not apply to: People with special-activity permits issued by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR); Shark fishing for public safety purposes as authorized or conducted by D...
Study: Shared Fish Stocks on the Move Due to Climate Change Could Prompt Stock Disputes

Study: Shared Fish Stocks on the Move Due to Climate Change Could Prompt Stock Disputes

A University of British Columbia study predicts that climate change will force 45% of fish stocks that cross two or more exclusive economic zones to shift significantly from their historical habitats and migration paths by 2100, possibly leading to stock ownership conflicts. The report released on Tuesday, Jan. 18, says that by 2030, when United Nations Sustainable Development Goals should be met, 23% of these “transboundary” fish stocks will have changed their historical habitat range. The UBC modeling study also projects that 78% of exclusive economic zones, where most fishing occurs, will see at least one shifting fish stock. By 2100, this climbs to 45% of stocks, with 81% of EEZs seeing at least one stock shift if nothing is done to halt greenhouse gas emissions. Lead author Julia...
Study: Lighted Nets Reduce Bycatch,  Make Fishing More Efficient

Study: Lighted Nets Reduce Bycatch, Make Fishing More Efficient

In what could be considered a win-win for commercial fisheries and marine wildlife, newly released research indicates that using lighted nets greatly reduced accidental bycatch of sharks, rays, sea turtles and unwanted finfish. Publishing their results in the journal Current Biology, researchers found that lighted gillnets reduced total fisheries bycatch by 63%, which included a 95% reduction in sharks, skates and rays, an 81% reduction in Humboldt squid and a 48% reduction in unwanted finfish, while maintaining catch rates and market value of target fish. Authors of the study include Jesse Senko, an assistant research professor with Arizona State University; Hoyt Peckham, a small-scale fisheries director with the Wildlife Conservation Society; Daniel Aguilar-Ramirez, a fisheries biolo...
Regional Update:  Pacific Northwest Fisheries

Regional Update: Pacific Northwest Fisheries

Recent studies by Pacific Northwest fisheries officials note mixed conditions faced by fisheries in Washington state and Oregon, but also report an overall improved and positive outlook. NOAA Fisheries reported declines in the U.S. fishing and seafood industry as a result of COVID-19, and some flexible regulation changes were required in 2021 in an effort to stay nimble in uncertain times. NOAA also reported specific conditions generally associated with higher productivity for certain fisheries, resulting in a number of positive ocean indicators off the Oregon coast. These conditions have led to some favorable 2022 fishery forecasts. BROAD OVERVIEW There is some encouraging recent data, said Michael Milstein, spokesman for the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Northwest Regional Office, in a De...
Becoming Resilient

Becoming Resilient

Gulf of Alaska seafood harvesters have lots of ideas about how to make themselves and their fisheries more resilient as climate continues to change, and NOAA Fisheries research scientist Marysia Szymkowiak is working with them to prioritize and mobilize plans for the rapidly emerging future. Harvesters’ ideas cut across science and communication, fisheries management, national and local policies and broader sociocultural issues, says Szymkowiak, who has spent a decade conducting research on the human dimensions of Alaska fisheries. “The folks I have talked to across the Gulf have put ideas forward like reducing carbon emissions from diesel engines through hybrid models, building networks between scientists and fishermen for exchanging knowledge, expediting policymaking within fisheries...
Support Urged for Moratorium on Deep Seabed Mining in International Waters

Support Urged for Moratorium on Deep Seabed Mining in International Waters

Six Canadian entities have relaunched a parliamentary petition calling on the federal government to help establish an international moratorium on deep seabed mining through the International Seabed Authority, based in Kingston, Jamaica. The parliamentary petition was originally launched in June 2021 by MiningWatch Canada, Oceans North, the Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society, Nature Canada, Northern Confluence and West Coast Environmental Law, but was ended after the most recent national election. Over 1,400 people have signed the petition, sponsored by Gord Johns, a member of Parliament with the New Democratic Party Caucus in British Columbia, and enough signatures have been gathered to assure that the petition will be presented for discussion in Parliament in Ottawa, according to...