Tag: NPFMC

Comment Period For December NPFMC Meeting Runs From Nov. 18 Through Dec. 2
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Comment Period For December NPFMC Meeting Runs From Nov. 18 Through Dec. 2

Crab, groundfish and final action on charter halibut management measures are all on the agenda when the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meets in early December in Anchorage. Major issues on the agenda include an emergency rule request for the red king crab savings area, an initial review of the snow crab rebuilding analysis as well as the Cook Inlet salmon fishery management plan and final action on the charter halibut management measures.  Public comment on these and other agenda items is being accepted from Nov. 18 through Dec. 2. All submitted comments will be reviewed and posted online on the council’s website. Also, both the council and the advisory panel meetings are being broadcast on Zoom. The council is also accepting nominations from Alaska Native tribes and/or trib...
NPFMC Requests December Review of Crab Fisheries Emergency Rule Request Analysis
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NPFMC Requests December Review of Crab Fisheries Emergency Rule Request Analysis

Federal fisheries managers have requested a December review of National Marine Fisheries Service’s analysis of an emergency rule request to prohibit pelagic trawl, pot and hook-and-line fisheries in the Red King Crab Savings Area and Subarea from Jan. 1 through June 30, 2023. Council members said they would review the information in the analysis so that they can make an informed recommendation on the emergency rule request. During its October meeting in Anchorage, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) declined to impose any restrictions on trawl fisheries, as requested by the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers (ABSC) and others concerned that trawling is having an adverse impact on crab abundance. The Bristol Bay red king crab fishery subsequently was closed for a secon...
Crab Rebuilding Issues on NPFMC’s Oct. 9-10 Agenda
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Crab Rebuilding Issues on NPFMC’s Oct. 9-10 Agenda

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is set to hear reports on shellfish stocks and adopt acceptable biological catch limits and overfishing limits during its Oct. 6-11 meeting in Anchorage. King crab and snow crab are among the major issues up for discussion, with final action still months off, as Bering Sea crabbers face a second year of multi-million-dollar loses due to the demise of Bristol Bay red king crab as well as snow crab. The October meeting will be held virtually and in person at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Anchorage. The Zoom link is https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81451130091 and the meeting ID is 814 5113 0091. The council is also slated to take final action on Pacific cod small boat access, to provide greater stability for participants with smaller than 60-...
Comment Period Open for Items on NPFMC’s October Agenda
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Comment Period Open for Items on NPFMC’s October Agenda

Comment is being accepted in advance of the Oct. 6-11 meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Anchorage on agenda topics ranging from integration of electronic monitoring on Pollock catcher vessels to a proposal for expanded Pacific cod catches in federal waters. Final decisions on both matters are expected at the meeting. Development of the trawl electronic monitoring program evolved as part of a cooperative research plan developed by the Trawl Electronic Monitoring Committee through pilot projects in 2018 and 2019, and under an exempted fishing permit, which has expanded participation since 2020. The proposed amendment to redefine the current federal Bering Sea/Aleutian Island Pacific cod jig sector to include jig catcher vessels and catcher processors, as...
Public Comment Sought on Reducing Mortality For Red King Crab, Snow Crab
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Public Comment Sought on Reducing Mortality For Red King Crab, Snow Crab

Federal fisheries managers are seeking public comment through Sept. 23 on how to reduce fishing-related mortality for Eastern Bering Sea snow crab and Bristol Bay red king crab. A notice published by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in the Federal Register on July 14 invites comments to be posted online at “Request for Information (RFI) – Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Eastern Bering Sea Snow Crab” (found online at www.federalregister.gov). The National Marine Fisheries Service notified the council in October of 2021 that Eastern Bering Sea Snow crab’s status had been changed to overfished. The Eastern Bering Sea snow crab assessment showed that mature male biomass was 50,600 metric tons, less than the minimum stock size threshold of 76,700 metric tons. Total snow c...
NPFMC Urges Pollock Industry to Reduce Bycatch, Declines to Impose Restrictions
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NPFMC Urges Pollock Industry to Reduce Bycatch, Declines to Impose Restrictions

Federal fisheries managers have acknowledged the ongoing crisis in Alaska salmon stocks, and have opted to respond with additional research and a request to the Pollock industry to institute immediate measures to reduce chum bycatch during the summer fishery. At its June meeting in Sitka, Alaska, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council requested a discussion paper on chum salmon bycatch building on the previous analysis, which was performed in 2012. But for now, the council has opted not to impose new restrictions that would impact the Pollock trawl vessels whose bycatch of chum salmon in 2021 reached 546,043 fish. Additionally, the Pollock industry was asked to report back at the end of the B season on how bycatch reduction efforts worked. During the meeting, the council...
NOAA Report Shows Huge PSC of Chum Salmon By Pollock Fleet
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NOAA Report Shows Huge PSC of Chum Salmon By Pollock Fleet

New federal and state reports show that while salmon runs in Alaska have in some cases reached a crisis point, that trawlers are catching and discarding more Chinook and chum salmon from the Yukon and Kuskokwim river systems than subsistence and direct fishers are allowed to harvest. The issue of declining salmon stocks remains a complex, multi-faceted one, involving much discussion on topics ranging from trawl bycatch to climate change to the impact of juvenile hatchery fish produced in Alaska, Washington state, Japan, Russia and South Korea. NOAA Fisheries’ genetic studies of trawl salmon bycatch in 2020 and 2021 released at the end of May determined that 52% of the Chinook bycatch from the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock trawl fishery in 2020 included an estimated 16,7...
Gulf of Alaska Expedition Finds Abundant Life on Surface, Sea Floor
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Gulf of Alaska Expedition Finds Abundant Life on Surface, Sea Floor

Researchers engaged in a Gulf of Alaska expedition in late May for ocean conservation organization Oceana say they found every marine site filled with life, from the surface to the seafloor Their initial report on the eight-day expedition exploring 23 sites in search of deep-sea corals and other seafloor habitat areas notes finding striking coral gardens in an area south of Kodiak Island in the open Gulf of Alaska, in an area still open to bottom trawling. Large groves of sea whips, a soft coral, were found in an area closed to bottom trawling to protect king crab. Sea whip groves provide vertical structure in soft sediments on the seafloor and are used by fish and invertebrates to hide from predators. The same area also had other organisms like sea pens, another form of coral th...
Oceana Expedition Documents Seafloor Habitats
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Oceana Expedition Documents Seafloor Habitats

An expedition from the nonprofit ocean conservation organization Oceana this spring used remotely-operated vehicles and other tools for eight days to document the seafloor and ocean life in several locations and depths around Kodiak Island. Their goal was to observe, photograph and record seafloor habitats and associated marine life, to protect important seafloor areas in the Gulf of Alaska from bottom trawling, where huge nets are dragged for miles along the seafloor The expedition was related to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Essential Fish Habitat review process, which is currently underway. Under the review, conservation measures for ocean habitat in Alaska are considered once every five years. Oceana is campaigning to establish new protections for Gulf of ...
Hybrid NPFMC Meeting Scheduled for June 9-14 in Sitka, Alaska
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Hybrid NPFMC Meeting Scheduled for June 9-14 in Sitka, Alaska

Final action on Central Gulf of Alaska rockfish adjustments is on the agenda for the hybrid June meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, set for June 6-14 in Sitka, Alaska. Other major issues on the agenda include a Crab Plan team report on Aleutian Islands golden king crab and adopting alternatives for the snow crab rebuilding plan analysis, initial review of the Bering Sea/Aleutian Island Pacific cod small boat access and trawl electronic monitoring committee report, plus a review of the observer program annual report for 2021. Discussions on salmon research reports on Chinook and chum stock status from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and Alaska Department of Fish and Game are also on the agenda, which is online at https://meetings.npfmc.org/Meeting/Details...