Tag: NOAA

NOAA Fisheries: More Than Half of Seafood Import Entry Filings Noncompliant
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NOAA Fisheries: More Than Half of Seafood Import Entry Filings Noncompliant

A new NOAA Fisheries report to Congress on combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing finds that about 56% of audited import entry filings are noncompliant, mostly for incomplete chain of custody and misreporting of harvest weight. The volume and value of seafood species subject to the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) during fiscal year 2023 included over 1.7 billion pounds of seafood with a combined value of more than $6.4 billion in U.S. dollars. NOAA announced delivery of the report on May 31. The SIMP imports represented about 32% by volume and 30% by value of all seafood imports into the United States last year. The decrease in imports subject to SIMP reporting requirements is reflective of the overall decline in imports observed over the past fi...
NOAA Fisheries Updates Efforts on Wild Fish Conservancy Remand
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NOAA Fisheries Updates Efforts on Wild Fish Conservancy Remand

NOAA Fisheries officials say they are working to complete the analyses required by a district court under remand in the Wild Fish Conservancy litigation involving Chinook salmon. The federal agency announced May 31 that it’s finalizing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on Expenditure of Funds to Increase Prey Availability for Southern Resident Killer Whales and an associated Endangered Species Act Biological Opinion, for a prey increase program that mitigates the impacts from the U.S. salmon fisheries managed under the 2019 Pacific Salmon Treaty. NOAA is also finalizing an environmental impact statement for the issuance of an Incidental Take Statement Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for Salmon Fisheries in Southeast Alaska subject to the 2019 Pacific Salmon Tre...
NOAA Recommends Funding 46 Fish Passage Projects
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NOAA Recommends Funding 46 Fish Passage Projects

NOAA Fisheries has recommended nearly $240 million to fund 46 fish passage projects this year, plus an additional $38 million for addition fish passage projects in future years. The funds are to come through the Biden-Harris administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, NOAA announced May 22. The project list includes over $158 million for 27 projects selected through the Restoring Fish Passage through Barrier Removal funds. The goal is to restore access to healthy habitat for migratory fish nationwide through efforts including on-the-ground fish passage restoration. Funds are currently being processed and the regional federal fishery councils are expected to receive initial funds this summer, with the remainder coming in fiscal 2025, NOAA Fisheri...
NOAA to Determine if Chinook Salmon Should Be Declared Endangered
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NOAA to Determine if Chinook Salmon Should Be Declared Endangered

NOAA Fisheries has initiated a review of the status of Gulf of Alaska Chinook salmon, to see if protections under the Endangered Species Act sought by a Seattle conservation group are warranted. NOAA’s May 24 announcement in the Federal Register for a study sought by the Wild Fish Conservancy in Seattle, notes that in reviewing the conservancy’s petition it found numerous factual errors, omissions, incomplete references, and unsupported assertions and conclusions. But the petition contained enough information for a reasonable person to conclude that the petitioned action may be warranted, NOAA said. NOAA said the agency would accept public comment on the petition through July 23. The conservancy, which advocates for more Chinook salmon to feed southern resident orca whales ...
NOAA to Remove Derelict Fishing Gear From Midway Islands Shores
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NOAA to Remove Derelict Fishing Gear From Midway Islands Shores

Officials with the NOAA Marine Debris Program say that the program’s expected to soon complete a mission to Midway Atoll, also known as Kuaihelani, to clean up derelict fishing gear and other debris from the shoreline. The plan, announced May 2, is supported through a five-year grant to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), using $5.8 million in funds provided by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This 1,350-mile stretch of small, uninhabited atolls, reefs and shoals is home to unique wildlife and incredible historical sites. The atoll is also known as Kuaihelani, which means “the backbone of heaven,” and describes a mythical floating island in the sky, possibly originating from the large lagoons that reflect the sky. Despite their significance and remot...
Record Low Fish Stocks Subject to Overfishing
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Record Low Fish Stocks Subject to Overfishing

A record low number of fish stocks were subject to overfishing in 2023, according to the annual Status of Stocks report that assesses the 506 stocks and stock complexes managed by NOAA Fisheries, which was released May 2. U.S. fisheries data confirmed that 94% of stocks in 2023 were not subject to overfishing and 82% were not overfished, a 1% improvement over 2022 data of 93% and 81% respectively. Ongoing positive trends continued with the number of stocks on the overfishing list decreasing by three stocks, reaching an all-time low of 21 stocks, and the number of stocks on the overfished list decreasing by one stock, to 47. Since 2000, NOAA Fisheries has rebuilt 50 stocks. NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said that by ending overfishing and rebuilding stocks, the agency is s...
NOAA Fisheries Issues Final Rule on Cook Inlet EEZ
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NOAA Fisheries Issues Final Rule on Cook Inlet EEZ

NOAA Fisheries on April 29 announced publication of the final rule implementing federal management of commercial salmon fishing in the Cook Inlet Exclusive Economic Zone Area. Under federal management, which goes into effect 30 days after publication, commercial fishing vessels must obtain a federal permit, maintain a fishing logbook, have a vessel monitoring system (VMS) installed on their vessels, and comply with all other federal regulations laid out in the final rule. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) uses VMS in most federally managed fisheries in Alaska. NOAA Alaska spokeswoman Julie Fair said that the VMS requirement will be new for many Cook Inlet drift gillnet vessels that choose to fish in the EEZ fishery. “NMFS uses VMS to provide vessel location to make sure...
Study: Alaska Snow Crab Collapse Attributed to Starvation
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Study: Alaska Snow Crab Collapse Attributed to Starvation

Federal fisheries researchers studying the dramatic crash of snow crab in the Bering Sea from 2018 to 2021 have determined that caloric requirements of the crab quadrupled when sea temperatures rose and the crab ultimately starved to death. Snow crabs will eat almost anything they can catch and break open with their claws, a diet that may include fish, shrimp, crabs, worms, clams, brittle starts, snails, algae and sponges, as well as anything dead they find. In 2018, there were more snow crab in the Bering Sea than ever seen before, Cody Szuwalski, a fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center, said. So the decline of roughly 10 billion crab from 2018 to 2021 was a precipitous unexpected collapse, he said in a ...
Dutch Harbor Holds Top Commercial Fisheries Landings Honors
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Dutch Harbor Holds Top Commercial Fisheries Landings Honors

The latest data compiled by the federal fisheries officials show in that in 2022 the Port of Dutch Harbor in Unalaska, Alaska ranked again as first in the nation for seafood landings, while the Port of New Bedford, Mass. maintains its status as first in value of deliveries. The annual “Fisheries Economics of the United States Report,” released by NOAA Fisheries April 4, shows among the nation’s 20 top ports that 613.5 million pounds of seafood, with a value of $159.9 million dollars were delivered to the Port of Dutch Harbor in 2022. The value of 88.4 million pounds of seafood delivered at the Port of New Bedford came to $443.2 million. Eight other Alaska ports, plus two from Oregon, one from Washington state and one from California also made the list of top 20 ports in the count...
Emergency Action on Bering Sea Chinook Salmon Bycatch Denied
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Emergency Action on Bering Sea Chinook Salmon Bycatch Denied

NOAA Fisheries has denied a request to institute a zero cap on Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea, to ensure no bycatch of Chinook salmon in the Bering Sea pollock fishery, saying the petition did not meet criteria necessary for emergency action. The decision, announced by NOAA Fisheries on April 18, was in response to a petition submitted Jan. 17 by five Native Alaska tribal entities, asking Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to close the Bering Sea pollock fishery, which opened on Jan. 20. The petition was signed by the Association of Village Council Presidents, Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Tanana Chiefs Conference, Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association and Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. The petitioners also asked the Commerce Department ...