fisheries news update
currrent with important national fisheries information.
International United States Pushes for
Action at Global Tuna Summit
National U.S. Seafood Consumption Declines Slightly in 2005;
Dutch Harbor/Unalaska and New Bedford Remain Top U.S. Fishing
National Notification of Overfishing in Winter Skate, Gag,
Gray Triggerfish and Eastern Pacific Yellowfin Tuna Fisheries
National Proposal Would Promote Safety and Efficiency of
Northeast 2007 Management Measures Set for Bluefish
Northeast Temporary Gear Restrictions in Effect to Protect
Northeast 2007 Measures Set for Mackerel, Squid and Butterfish
Gulf of Mexico Grouper Forum Planned
Northwest NOAA Fisheries Accepts States' Application for
Sea Lion Removal Authority; Task Force to be Established
Pacific Coast Proposed Rule Clarifies Process for Closure
of Drift Gillnet Fisheries to Protect Sea Turtles
Pacific Coast Mackerel Harvest Guidelines Set
past archived Northeast region fisheries news here.....
International - United
States Pushes for Action at Global Tuna Summit
The United States participated in the first ever joint meeting
of the world's five tuna regional fisheries management organizations
(RFMOs) in Kobe, Japan during the week of January 22, 2007.
These organizations are responsible for the management of
highly migratory species, such as bluefin tuna and swordfish,
throughout the world's oceans. The groups represented at
the meeting included the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission
(IATTC), International Commission for the Conservation of
Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC),
Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)
and the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin
The newly reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation
and Management Act calls for the United States to use multilateral
activities such as the Kobe meeting to strengthen regional
action on illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing
and bycatch. The issue of IUU fishing was discussed throughout
the week, particularly as it related to overcapacity and
effects on non-target species. In addition, the meeting included
discussion of performance evaluations for each of the five
tuna RFMOs as has been called for by the U.N. Fish Stocks
Agreement Review Conference.
agreed to a "Course of Action", which
lays out 14 key areas and challenges facing the tuna RFMOs.
Within this course of action was the formation of a technical
Working Group to look at issues such as harmonization of
trade tracking programs. The United States will host the
first meeting of the technical Working Group and a meeting
of the tuna RFMO Chairs as part of the follow up to the Kobe
For more information, contact Kelly.Denit@noaa.gov.
National - U.S. Seafood Consumption Declines Slightly in
2005; Dutch Harbor/Unalaska and New Bedford Remain Top
U.S. Fishing Ports
NOAA has just released its annual publication, Fisheries
of the United States. Americans ate 16.2 pounds of fish
and shellfish per person in 2005, a two percent decrease
from the 2004 consumption figure of 16.6 pounds. Despite
the decline in consumption, consumer expenditures for seafood
products increased by $3.3 billion, representing a five
percent increase for a total of $65.2 billion. The commercial
marine fishing industry contributed $32.9 billion to the
U.S. Gross National Product in 2005, up from $31.6 billion
in 2004. In 2005, Americans spent $44.5 billion in seafood
restaurants, a $1.7 billion increase over 2004. Americans
also purchased $20.5 billion worth of seafood for home
consumption, an increase of $1.6 billion over 2004.
Despite the slight decrease in 2005, overall seafood consumption
in the United States has shown an upward trend over the past
five years. The United States imports roughly 80 percent
of its seafood, and remains the third largest global consumer
of fish and shellfish, behind Japan and China. Shrimp continues
to be the top seafood consumed in the United States.
Commercial fishermen unloaded 887.6 million pounds of fish
and shellfish in 2005 at the port of Dutch Harbor-Unalaska,
AK, making it the country's top port for landings for 17
consecutive years. This represents a 1.2 million pound increase
in landings over 2004. Intracoastal City, LA , jumped from
fifth to the number two position, while Reedville, VA, slipped
into the number three position. Cameron , LA , dropped off
the top 10 list to rank 50th, with landings declining from
243.1 million pounds in 2004 to 10.6 million pounds in 2005.
The port of Los Angeles is new to the top 10 list, now ranking
9th. Total domestic commercial landings for 2005 were 9.6
billion pounds, valued at $3.9 billion.
port of New Bedford, MA, once again claimed the top spot
of landings, setting a new record at $282.5
million – an increase of $75 million from 2004. The
last record high value was set by Dutch Harbor-Unalaksa in
1994 at $224 million. This was the sixth year in a row that
the dollar value of landings at New Bedford increased. Dutch
Harbor-Unalaska was ranked second in value of landings at
For more information, read the press releases posted at
NOAA Fisheries' Media Center.
National - Notification of Overfishing in Winter Skate,
Gag, Gray Triggerfish and Eastern Pacific Yellowfin Tuna
NOAA Fisheries, on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce,
has determined that overfishing is occurring in fisheries
for Northeast winter skate; Gulf of Mexico gag and gray
triggerfish; and Eastern Pacific Ocean yellowfin tuna.
NOAA has also determined that the rebuilding plan for Gulf
of Mexico greater amberjack needs to be revised. NOAA Fisheries
has notified the respective regional fishery management
councils responsible for these fisheries. The Councils
are required to take action within one year following NOAA
Fisheries' notification that overfishing is occurring or
a stock is approaching overfishing, a stock is overfished
or approaching an overfished condition, or existing remedial
action taken to end overfishing or rebuild an overfished
stock has not resulted in adequate progress.
For more information on these determinations, read the Federal
Register notice or contact Mark.Millikin@noaa.gov.
National - Proposal Would Promote Safety and Efficiency
This proposed rule would enhance the safety of fishery
observers and the efficiency of their deployment at sea.
The proposal would clarify prohibited actions regarding
observers, reinforce that an observer may not be deployed
or stay aboard an unsafe vessel, clarify when a fishing
vessel is inadequate for observer deployment and how an
owner or operator can resolve discrepancies, improve communications
between observer programs and fishing vessel owners and
operators, and provide for an alternate safety equipment
examination of certain small fishing vessels. This proposed
rule is necessary to maintain and improve the safety and
effectiveness of fishing vessel observers while carrying
out their duties.
Comments on the proposed changes may be sent to 0648-AU46@noaa.gov
through 5pm, EST, on March 1, 2007.
More information is available online, or contact Lisa.Desfosse@noaa.gov.
Northeast - 2007 Management Measures Set for Bluefish
NOAA Fisheries has set management measures for the 2007
Atlantic bluefish fishery, including state-by-state commercial
quotas, a recreational harvest limit, and recreational
possession limits. The intent of these measures is to establish
the allowable 2007 harvest levels and possession limits
to attain the target fishing mortality rate, consistent
with the stock rebuilding program for Atlantic bluefish.
Although the Mid-Atlantic Council's recommendation was
based on the best information available at the time, more
recent information has been used to develop a new landings
projection for the 2007 fishing year.
Based on data provided by the Marine Recreational Fisheries
Statistic Survey (MRFSS) program, estimated recreational
landings in 2006 were 18,823,384 lb. Using this amount as
a proxy for expected landings in 2007, NOAA has determined
that the proposed transfer would exceed the amount allowable
under the regulations. Therefore, this final rule reduces
the amount of the transfer from the recreational to the commercial
sector by 810,780 lb, to account for the increase in projected
recreational landings. After adjusting for the research set
aside quota, the final 2007 specifications include a commercial
quota of 8,574,939 lb and a recreational harvest limit of
18,823,384 lb. This final rule is effective March 2 through
December 31, 2007.
For more information, contact Allison.McHale@noaa.gov.
Northeast - Temporary Gear Restrictions in Effect to Protect
Temporary restrictions are in effect for lobster trap/pot
and anchored gillnet fishermen in an area totaling approximately
2,185 nm 2. The restricted area is in the proximity of
Jeffreys Bank, approximately 80nm east of Portland, ME.
The purpose of this action is to provide protection to
an aggregation of northern right whales. On January 22,
2007, an aerial survey reported a sighting of thirty right
whales in the proximity 43[deg] 22' N. lat. and 68[deg]
21' W. long. (east of Portland, ME). After conducting an
investigation, NOAA Fisheries determined that the report
came from a qualified individual and that the report was
The use of lobster trap/pot and anchored gillnet gear is
prohibited in the designated area through February 20, 2007,
unless it is modified in the manner described in this temporary
For more information, contact Diane.Borggaard@noaa.gov.
Northeast - 2007 Measures Set for Mackerel, Squid and Butterfish
This action implements 2007 specifications and management
measures for Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish and
modifies existing management measures. Specifically, it
implements trimester quota allocations for the Loligo squid
fishery and establishes the protocol for an inseason adjustment
to increase the mackerel harvest, if landings approach
harvest limits. The incidental Loligo squid possession
limit for Illex squid moratorium vessels during closures
of the directed Loligo squid fishery continues to be 2,500
lb per trip per calendar day.
This final rule takes effect March 1, 2007.
Gulf of Mexico- Grouper Forum Planned
NOAA Fisheries, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council,
and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
are sponsoring a Gulf of Mexico Grouper Forum. This free
public forum provides a unique opportunity for the agencies
and stakeholders to explore more effective ways to work
together. Topics of discussion will include the following:
Understanding the State and Federal Regulatory Process;
Understanding Grouper Assessments and Management; Update
on Grouper Assessments; Enhancing Public Participation
in Science and Management; and Enhancing Communication
between Fishery Managers and the Public. The Forum will
take place February 27-28 at the Fish & Wildlife Research
Institute in St. Petersburg, FL.
Please go to www.gulfcouncil.org and click on Grouper Forum
to access the registration form.
For more information, contact Kim.Amendola@noaa.gov.
Northwest - NOAA Fisheries Accepts States' Application
for Sea Lion Removal Authority; Task Force to be Established
Last month, the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho
formally asked NOAA Fisheries for permission to permanently
remove California sea lions that are having a significant
negative impact on populations of salmon and steelhead
protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NOAA
has agreed to consider this request, under conditions provided
for in the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The MMPA
allows NOAA Fisheries to authorize the intentional lethal
taking of individually identifiable pinnipeds that are
having a significant negative impact on the decline or
recovery of salmonids that are listed as threatened or
endangered under the ESA.
NOAA is currently seeking public comment on the states'
application, as well as any additional information on sea
lion predation of salmon at Bonneville Dam. In particular,
NOAA Fisheries requests information regarding:
1) Observations of sea lions (number, species and predation
on salmonids) in the Columbia River above or below Bonneville
2) Information on areas where numbers of sea lions are concentrated
in the lower Columbia River, between Tongue Point (river
mile 16) and Navigation Marker 85 (river mile 135), including
resting (haulout) sites and locations where sea lions have
been repeatedly observed taking salmonids; and
3) Dates when sea lions have been observed in the river
above Tongue Point to Bonneville Dam.
Please send information to SeaLion.Predation@noaa.gov by
April 2, 2007.
In addition, a special task force will be set up to examine
the states' request. NOAA is seeking the names and affiliations
of experts from the academic and scientific community, tribes,
Federal and state agencies, and the private sector for consideration
as potential Task Force members. Nominations must include
sufficient background information (e.g., 1-page resume) and
should also indicate the prospective candidate's willingness
to serve without compensation.
For more information, visit the Northwest Region's website.
Pacific Coast - Proposed Rule Clarifies Process for Closure
of Drift Gillnet Fisheries to Protect Sea Turtles
NOAA Fisheries has proposed to amend regulations governing
closures of the California/Oregon swordfish/thresher shark
drift gillnet fishery in the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation
Area during El Nino events. The regulations are necessary
to avoid jeopardizing loggerhead sea turtles, which are
listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
These proposed changes would clarify the time period during
which the area is to be closed and the methods that NOAA
Fisheries will use to determine if an El Nino event is
occurring or forecast to occur. This action would also
correct an inaccurate cross-reference in the regulations
governing special requirements for fishing activities to
protect endangered sea turtles under the Fishery Management
Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory
Send comments on the proposed rule to 0648-AS89.SWR@noaa.gov
by March 1, 2007.
For more information, contact Craig.Heberer@noaa.gov.
Pacific Coast - Mackerel Harvest Guidelines Set
NOAA Fisheries has published a final rule to implement
the annual harvest guideline for Pacific mackerel in the
U.S. exclusive economic zone off the Pacific coast for
the fishing season of July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2007.
Based on the estimated biomass of 112,700 mt and the formula
in the fishery management plan, a harvest guideline of
19,845 mt will be in effect for the fishery which began
on July 1, 2006. This harvest guideline applies to Pacific
mackerel harvested in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific coast
from 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 2006, through 11:59 pm on June
30, 2007, unless the harvest guideline is attained and
the fishery is closed before June 30, 2007. All landings
made after July 1, 2006, will be counted toward the 2006-2007
harvest guideline of 19,845 mt.
This season, there will be a directed fishery of 13,845
mt, followed by an incidental fishery of 6,000 mt. An incidental
allowance of 40 percent of Pacific mackerel in landings of
any coastal pelagic species will become effective after the
date when 13,845 mt of Pacific mackerel is estimated to have
been harvested. A landing of 1 mt of Pacific mackerel per
trip will be permitted during the incidental fishery for
trips in which no other coastal pelagic species is landed.
For more information, contact Joshua.Lindsay@noaa.gov.
EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
New Magnuson-Stevens Act Webpage Created
NOAA Fisheries has created a new webpage for materials related
the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation
and Management Act (MSA). The page currently contains a draft "redline" version
of the new MSA, as well as statements and press releases
related to the reauthorization. The site will be revised
regularly to include fact sheets, notices of upcoming public
comment periods, and updates on MSA implementation. The address
Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Issues 2006 Report Card
The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (composed of the Pew
Oceans Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy)
has issued its 2006 report card on U.S. ocean policies.
The report card can be viewed online at http://www.jointoceancommission.org/.
Mid-Atlantic Council and Committees to Meet; Feb 13-15 in
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and its Bycatch/Limited
Access Privilege Program (LAPP) Committee, Ecosystem Committee,
Tilefish Committee, Executive Committee, and Law Enforcement
Committee will meet February 13-15, 2007, at the Holiday
Inn Select in Claymont, DE. A detailed agenda is provided
in the meeting notice.
For more information, contact the Council at (302) 674-2331.
Pacific Council’s Scientific and Statistical
Committee to Meet; Feb 20-22 in Honolulu, HI
The 94th meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery
Management Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee
will convene February 20-22, 2007, in Honolulu, HI. A detailed
agenda is provided in the meeting notice.
For more information, contact the Council at (808) 522-8220.
Monterey Bay Sanctuary Seeks Education Representative for
its Advisory Council; Deadline Feb 23
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is seeking applicants
for the Primary Education seat on its Sanctuary Advisory
Council. Applications are due February 23, 2007.
More information is available online, or contact Paul.Chetirkin@noaa.gov.
Criteria Amended for Social Science Fellowship; Deadline
Extended to Feb 28
NOAA's National Ocean Service has amended the eligibility
criteria for the Social Science Fellowship in the National
Estuarine Research Reserve Program to allow part-time students
to apply for the program. In addition, two National Estuarine
Research Reserves have been added to the list of eligible
reserves where candidates can propose their research (Huron,
OH and Watsonville, CA ). The deadline for applications has
been extended to February 28, 2007.
For more information, read the Federal Register notice.
King Mackerel Closure
The commercial run-around gillnet fishery for king mackerel
is closed in the southern Florida west coast subzone of
the EEZ. The closure is effective through 6am, January
For more information, contact Steve.Branstetter@noaa.gov.
Pacific Cod Closure
Directed fishing for Pacific cod is prohibited for catcher
vessels 60 feet and longer using pot gear in the Bering
Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is
effective though 1200 hrs, Alaska local time, on June 10,
For more information, contact Jennifer.Hogan@noaa.gov.
FEDERAL REGISTER ACTIONS
For a list of only those actions open for public comment,
try going to http://www.regulations.gov and scroll search
for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
For a list of all daily actions, check the Federal register
online at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html.
NOAA FISHERIES ACTIONS
January 29, 2007
Rule - Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic coastal migratory
Notice - National Estuarine Research Reserve; Social Science
January 30, 2007
Rule - Pacific cod
Rule - Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish
Proposed rule - Domestic fisheries; observer health and
Rule - Western Pacific fisheries; Highly migratory species
Notice - California sea lions; pinniped removal authority
Notice - Meeting; Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council
Notice - Meeting; Western Pacific Regional Fishery Council
January 31, 2007
Rule - Atlantic bluefish
Rule - Pacific mackerel
- Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council Back to top