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The following is a summary of decisions made at the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) meeting, which was held from April 2-6, 2007 in Seattle, Washington. The summary is adapted from the Council’s summary, which can be found at http://www.pcouncil.org/decisions/0407decisions.html .  A list of ODFW contacts is given at the end of this summary.

Groundfish Items

Amendment 15

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) revisited the range of alternatives for protecting West Coast fisheries from harm caused by new entry by vessels qualified under the American Fisheries Act (AFA). The Council adopted three alternatives for preliminary analysis:

  • Alternative 1 Status quo.
  • Alternative 2 Prohibit participation in the shoreside, catcher/processor, and mothership sectors of the Pacific whiting fishery by AFA-qualified vessels that do not have a significant historic participation record in those sectors between January 1, 1994 and January 1, 2006.
  • Alternative 3 Prohibit participation in the shoreside, catcher/processor, and mothership sectors of the Pacific whiting fishery by AFA-qualified vessels that do not have a significant historic participation record in those sectors between January 1, 1994 and January 1, 2007.

For both Alternative 2 and Alternative 3, “significant historic participation” is defined -

  • For catcher/processors (two alternative definitions for analysis) as:

a.       having caught and processed at least 1,000 metric tons (mt) of whiting in any one qualifying year; or

b.      having caught and processed at least 1,000 mt of whiting in any one qualifying year subsequent to December 31, 1996.

  • For motherships (two alternative definitions for analysis) as:

a.       having caught and processed at least 1,000 mt of whiting in any one qualifying year; or

b.      having caught and processed at least 1,000 mt of whiting in any one qualifying year subsequent to December 31, 1996.

·        For catcher vessels in the shore-based or mothership fishery (two alternative definitions for analysis) as:

a.       having landed at least 500 mt of whiting in any one qualifying year; or

b.      having landed at least 1,000 mt of whiting in any one qualifying year.

The Council is scheduled to consider analysis of the range of alternatives at the June Council meeting in Foster City, California with the intent to take final action at the September Council meeting.

Consideration of Inseason Adjustments

The Council recommended no inseason adjustments to ongoing 2007 groundfish fisheries at the April Council meeting.

Non-whiting Trawl Fishery

Leadbetter Point to WA/OR Border - 60 fm shoreward RCA boundary

Excerpt from the Groundfish Management Team statement to the Council:

At the March 2007 meeting, the Council asked the Groundfish Management Team (GMT) to analyze the effect of closing the shoreward area between Leadbetter Point and the OR/WA border during period 4. The concern was that a 60 fathom shoreward trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) boundary would result in increased trawl effort in shallow areas where Dungeness crab are more abundant and that the RCA boundaries adopted during the March inseason session would negatively impact softshelled crab, molting crab and crab fishery participants. The GMT reviewed logbook, fish ticket, and observer data to compare the impact of closing this area in period 4 against the impact of a 60 fathom RCA boundary. Available information shows that in recent years the majority of trawl effort and catch has occurred shoreward of 60 fathoms and substantial amounts of this effort and catch occur shoreward of 40 fathoms. Available observer data shows that closing this area to shore in period 4 would result in a reduction of 0.1 metric tons of canary rockfish in the non-whiting trawl fishery. Based on this information, the GMT believes that a 60 fathom RCA boundary in this area would not lead to a substantial shift in trawl effort and therefore should not result in significant increased impacts on the crab resource and on crab fishery participants.

The GMT recognizes that Dungeness crab bycatch occurs in the groundfish trawl fishery and that there are varied perceptions regarding the associated impacts upon the crab resource. While the Council manages groundfish, Dungeness crab management has been delegated to the coastal states. Therefore, trawl bycatch of Dungeness crab has received little attention in the Council process. Management measures to protect soft-shelled molting crab have been implemented for the directed Dungeness crab fishery, but have not been considered during the development of groundfish management measures. While some historical studies have been conducted in other areas, the GMT recognizes that little empirical information exists to quantify the spatial distribution, magnitude, or mortality of crab bycatch in the west coast trawl fishery. Information currently being collected by the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program (WCGOP) should help provide the basis to evaluate crab bycatch, along with other trawl bycatch issues, in establishing fishery management measures.

Open access and limited entry fixed gear lingcod trip limits


Excerpt from the Groundfish Management Team statement to the Council:The GMT received a request to increase lingcod cumulative trip limits in the nearshore and offshore areas north and south of 40°10’ N. latitude (March 07 Agenda Item E.5.e, Supplemental GMT Report). The GMT analyzed the available data and found that very few vessels attained their lingcod limits. For those vessels landing lingcod in 2005 and 2006, approximately 12% approached the limited fixed gear limit and 20% for open access. In 2007, open access lingcod limits were increased by 100 lbs/month. The GMT expressed concerned that any increase in lingcod limits and subsequent targeting may result in increased bycatch of canary and yelloweye rockfish. With regard to open access, since the number of participants in this fishery is unlimited, any increase in lingcod limits could lead to a rapid expansion in the fishery without any corresponding accountability measures for bycatch of overfished species. Since the current limits are not being attained in either the open access or limited entry fisheries, the GMT and the Council did not support an increase to the current limits.

Salmon Management

Methodology Review Process and Preliminary Topic Selection for 2007

The Council adopted the following prioritized list of candidate items that the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) may consider for the 2007 Salmon Methodology Review. Source entities to deliver detailed reports for SSC review are included with each candidate item.

  1. Coded wire tag (CWT) representation for lower Columbia River natural coho in the Coho Fishery Regulation Assessment Model (FRAM). Methodology Evaluation Workgroup (MEW)
  2. CWT representation for lower Columbia River natural tule Chinook in the Chinook FRAM. MEW
  3. Development of the Recovery Exploitation Rates currently used for Lower Columbia River natural tule Chinook. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Northwest Region (NWR) and Northwest Fishery Science Center (NWFSC)
  4. Development of the Recovery Exploitation Rates currently used for Lower Columbia natural coho. NMFS NWR and NWFSC
  5. Coho FRAM base period development and selection of years for base period averaging for input into the Coho FRAM. MEW
  6. Sensitivity analyses of the Chinook and Coho FRAMs to major assumptions, including sensitivity to parameters related to mark-selective fisheries. MEW
  7. Genetic Stock Identification experimental design, including general purpose experimental objectives, proposed statistical sampling design, and sampling protocols, for West Coast ocean salmon fisheries. NMFS Southwest Fishery Science Center and NWFSC
  8. September 1 maturity boundary (“birth date”) for Klamath River fall Chinook. Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and Salmon Technical Team (STT)
  9. Adding stocks from south of Cape Falcon to the Chinook FRAM. MEW

The final list of items will be determined at the September Council meeting, and the Review will occur prior to the November Council meeting.

Final Action on 2007 Salmon Management Measures

Final Decisions for 2007Oregon Ocean Salmon Fisheries Seasons:

2007 North of Falcon Quota:

Overall non-Indian Total Allowable Catch (TAC): 32,500 Chinook and 140,000 marked coho. 

 Non-Indian commercial troll TAC:  16,500 Chinook and 22,400 marked coho (was 34,000 Chinook and 8,400 coho in 2006).

 Recreational TAC:  16,250 Chinook and 117,600 marked coho. (was 31,000 Chinook and 71,600 coho in 2006).  No Area 4B add-on fishery.  Buoy 10 fishery opens August 1 with expected landed sport catch of 12,000 marked coho in August and September.

2007 South of Falcon Quotas and OR/CA Chinook Impact Sharing:

Non-Indian commercial troll  Klamath fall Chinook impact sharing (OR/CA): 37% for Oregon and 63% for CA (was 56:44% in 2006).   Klamath Tribal allocation is 40,800. 

Klamath River recreational fishery allocation:  10,600 Chinook.   Klamath Management Zone recreational fishery share:  16.2%.  Falcon to OR-CA border quota: 50,000 coho.

2007 North of Falcon Commercial Troll Season:

May 1 through the earlier of June 30 or 10,850 Chinook quota; .  Open May 1-2 and 5-8 with a 60 Chinook per vessel landing and possession limit for each open period north of Leadbetter Point and 40 Chinook south of Leadbetter Point; beginning May 12, open Saturday through Tuesday with an 60 Chinook possession and landing limit for each four day open period north of Leadbetter Point and 30 Chinook south of Leadbetter Point.  All salmon except coho.  Cape Flattery and Columbia Control Zones closed.

July 1 through the earlier of September 16 or 5,400 preseason Chinook guideline, or a 22,400 marked coho quota.  Cape Flattery and Columbia Control Zones closed.   Open Saturday through Tuesday.  Landing and possession limit of 40 Chinook per vessel per open period north of Leadbetter Point and 20 Chinook south of Leadbetter Point.  All salmon except no chum retention north of Cape Alava in August and September.

2007 South of Cape Falcon Chinook Commercial Troll Season:

Cape Falcon to Florence South Jetty:  April 10-29; May 1 through June 30; July 11-30; August 4-28; September 10-13; October 1-31.  Landing and possession limits per calendar weeks; 100 Chinook in April, 150 Chinook in September, and 75 Chinook in October.

Non-selective coho fishery:  August 15 through the earlier of September 13 or a 10,000 non-mark-selective coho quota.  Open August 15-28; September 10-13.  All salmon, no coho mark restriction; landing and possession limit of 50 coho per vessel per calendar week in August and September; landing and possession limit of 150 Chinook per vessel per calendar week in September.

Florence South Jetty to Humbug Mt.:  Same as Cape Falcon to Florence South Jetty except:

The non-selective coho quota of 10,000 includes the entire area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt.

The Bandon High Spot Control Zone, defined as the area west of a line between 43º07’00” N. lat.; 124º37’00” W. long. and 42º40’30” N. lat; 124º 52’0” W. long. (area approximately outside 6 nm from the Bandon south jetty to Humbug Mt.) will be closed in September and October.

If the August Chinook catch is projected to reach 15,000, inseason action will be taken to close the Bandon High Spot Control Zone through August 31.

Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border:    April 10-29; May 1-31.

June 1 through earlier of June 30, or a 1,600 Chinook quota; 

July 11 through earlier of July 31, or a 1,600 Chinook quota;

Aug. 1 through earlier of Aug. 29, or a 1,800 Chinook quota;

Sept. 6 through earlier of Sept. 30, or a 1,000 Chinook quota;

Landing and possession limit of 100 Chinook per vessel per calendar week in April; 30 Chinook per vessel per day and 90 Chinook per vessel per calendar week during June, July, August, and September.

2007 Ocean Sport Salmon Seasons:

Leadbetter Point to Cape Falcon:

July 1 through the earlier of September 16 or 43,150 marked coho subarea quota and a subarea guideline of 9,400 Chinook.  Seven days per week.  All salmon, two fish per day, no more than one of which may be a Chinook.  Columbia Control Zone closed. 

Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt.:

March 15 through October 31, all salmon except coho; two fish per day.

Mark selective coho fishery,  Cape Falcon to OR/CA border:  June 23 thorough earlier of September 16 or a landed catch of 50,000 marked coho, except that the area south of Humbug Mt. will close September 4, concurrent with the KMZ season listed below.  Open seven days per week, all salmon, two fish per day, Chinook minimum size limit of 24 inches.

Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border (OR KMZ):

May 5 through September 4 .  All salmon except coho, except as noted in the selective coho fishery.  Seven days per week, two fish per day.

Specific details on OR, WA and CA salmon fishery regulations are available on the PFMC web site:  http://www.pcouncil.org/salmon/salcurr.html#2007.

Pacific Halibut Management

Incidental Catch Regulations in the Salmon Troll and Fixed Gear Sablefish Fisheries

Salmon Troll

The Council adopted the same landing restrictions for Pacific halibut caught incidentally in the salmon troll fishery as were in place for 2006:

Beginning May 1, license holders may land no more than one halibut per each three Chinook, except one halibut may be landed without meeting the ratio requirement and no more than 35 halibut may be landed per trip. Halibut retained must be no less than 32 inches in total length (with head on).

A “C-shaped” yelloweye rockfish conservation area (YRCA) is an area to be avoided for salmon troll fishing. NMFS and the Council request that salmon trollers voluntarily avoid this area in order to protect yelloweye rockfish. The area is defined in the Pacific Council Halibut Catch Sharing Plan in the North Coast subarea (Washington Marine Area 3), with the following coordinates in the order listed:

48°18' N latitude; 125°18' W longitude;
48°18' N latitude; 124°59' W longitude;
48°11' N latitude; 124°59' W longitude;
48°11' N latitude; 125°11' W longitude;
48°04' N latitude; 125°11' W longitude;
48°04' N latitude; 124°59' W longitude;
48°00' N latitude; 124°59' W longitude;
48°00' N latitude; 125°18' W longitude;
And connecting back to 48°18' N latitude; 125°18' W longitude

The Council also noted permanent salmon regulations have been modified to designate a mandatory YRCA in the North Coast subarea (Washington Marine Area 3) as closed to commercial salmon fishing. The coordinates of the mandatory YRCA are: from 48°00.00' N latitude; 125°14.00' W  longitude to 48°02.00' N latitude; 125°14.00' W longitude to 48°02.00' N latitude; 125°16.50' W longitude to 48°00.00' N latitude; 125°16.50' W longitude and connecting back to 48°00.00' N latitude; 125°14.00' W longitude.

Fixed Gear Sablefish Fishery

The Council adopted the same landing limits on incidental halibut harvest in the fixed gear primary sablefish fishery north of Point Chehalis as were in place for 2006:

Option 1 Status Quo: Beginning May 1, restrict incidental halibut landings to 100 pounds (dressed weight) of halibut for every 1,000 pounds (dressed weight) of sablefish landed and up to two additional halibut in excess of the 100 pounds per 1,000 pound ratio per landing. Retention of halibut allowed beginning May 1.

 Marine Protected Areas

Review of Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council Report

The Council reviewed a report of the Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council entitled, Oregon Coast National Marine Sanctuary Proposal: Status Report, as well as National Marine Sanctuary Program comments on the report. The Council will send a letter to the Oregon Governor's office conveying comments about the relevant experiences of the Pacific Council in fishery regulation in Sanctuary waters, the Groundfish Advisory Subpanel (GAP) statement on this matter, and the Council's desire for continued coordination with the State of Oregon on the proposal in the future.

Administrative Matters

Magnuson-Stevens Act Reauthorization Implementation

The Council hosted a NMFS scoping session on the role of the SSC, development of annual catch limits and accountability measures, and a revised environmental review process. The Council tasked staff with sending a letter to NMFS by the April 17 deadline for public scoping comments conveying (1) information which demonstrates how the current Pacific Council process of independent scientific review by the SSC and the record of avoiding overfishing by setting responsible catch limits and actively monitoring fisheries inseason by-in-large meet the requirements of the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) to end overfishing, as well as, (2) the recommendations of the Legislative Committee, the SSC, Groundfish Management Team (GMT), GAP, Highly Migratory Species Management Team (HMSMT), Highly Migratory Species Advisory Subpanel (HMSAS), STT, and the Salmon Advisory Subpanel. These recommendations include a general endorsement of the Environmental Review Process proposed by the Council Coordination Committee. The Council reviewed an initial draft of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Regional Councils in the Pacific, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. State Department, U.S. coordination of efforts on international fishery management organizations, and provided guidance to (1) add the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) General Advisory Committee (GAC) Chair to the U.S. Delegation to IATTC meetings and (2) in Part V.C.5, change one seat designated to Pacific Council area “albacore troll” to seats designated as “commercial at large,” in a number equal to the number of commercial fishing sector seats from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Appointments to Advisory Bodies, Standing Committees, and Other Forums, and Changes to Council Operation Procedures a Needed

The Council approved the appointment of Ms. Joanna Grebel to a California Department of Fish and Game position on the GMT, replacing Ms. Susan Ashcraft; and accepted the resignation of Ms. Michele Culver from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) position on the HMSMT. WDFW will provide a nomination for a replacement at a later date.

In response to a provision in the reauthorized MSA, the Council adopted a motion, uniform with those passed or to be passed by the other seven regional councils, to establish the Council Coordination Committee. This committee will meet as appropriate to discuss issues of relevance to all councils.

The Council directed staff to develop, for the June meeting, a straw man proposal for developing a groundfish essential fish habitat review process and oversight committee to implement directives in Amendment 19 to the groundfish fishery management plan (FMP).

With regard to selection of members to the Pacific Whiting Treaty Advisory Panel created under the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006, the Council directed that Council members and all pertinent advisory bodies receive the notice requesting nominations when it is issued. In addition, the Council will need to make a recommendation for a representative to the Joint Management Committee, most likely at the June Council meeting.

Ecosystem Fishery Management Plan

Contingent on new additional funding, the Council passed a motion regarding the next steps in development of an Ecosystem FMP. The motion described seats on a modified plan development team and an initial assignment to provide the Council with a concise statement that includes (1) description of the purpose and need, and (2) a list of goals and objectives of an Ecosystem FMP; the statement is to be consistent with the record of consensus Council dialogue at the April 2007 and November 2006 Council meetings. NMFS also volunteered to provide support and presentations from the NWFSC and SWFSC, as necessary.

Council Three-Meeting Outlook, June 2007 Council Meeting Agenda, and Workload Priorities

The Council provided guidance for the three-meeting agenda outlook and the proposed agenda for the June Council meeting to be held June 9-15, 2007 in Foster City, California. The proposed agenda will be available on the Council website http://www.pcouncil.org/events/csevents.html during the month of May 2007.

 Highly Migratory Species Management

Exempted Fishing Permit for Longline Fishing in the West Coast Exclusive Economic Zone

The Council recommended NMFS issue an exempted fishing permit (EFP) to allow a single vessel to fish in the West Coast exclusive economic zone targeting swordfish in 2007 only. The purpose of the EFP is to make an initial assessment of the economic viability of longline gear as an alternative to drift gillnet gear with potentially lower bycatch mortality. The EFP would be issued with a range of measures to mitigate environmental impacts. Key mitigation measures include:

  • No fishing within 30 miles of the coastline;
  • No fishing within the Southern California Bight;
  • No fishing north of 45° N latitude;
  • Compliance with existing highly migratory species FMP regulations, including protected species conservation measures;
  • Mandatory 100% observer coverage;
  • A cap on total fishing effort of no more than four trips, 14 sets per trip, 400-1,200 hooks per set (for a maximum of 67,200 hooks deployed overall);
  • Fishing conducted between September and December;
  • Use of 18/0 circle hooks with 10° offset;
  • Use of mackerel bait and light sticks;
  • Setting gear at night to reduce seabird mortality.

In addition, the Council recommended a catch cap of 12 striped marlin, and a take cap of one short-finned pilot whale. Caps on humpback and sperm whales and leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles, which are listed under the Endangered Species Act, will be equivalent to any amounts in the Incidental Take Statement that will be part of the Biological Opinion NMFS will prepare for the action. Caps on seabird takes would also be established based on an Incidental Take Statement that is part of the Biological Opinion the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may prepare for this action. If any of these caps are reached before the fishing effort cap or the end of the permitted time period is achieved, any continued fishing authorized under the EFP would cease immediately for the remainder of the year upon retrieval of any gear in the water.

Albacore Fishing Effort Characterization

In response to resolutions adopted by the IATTC and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), the Council will forward to the U.S. delegations to these organizations, through NMFS, methods to characterize fishing effort on North Pacific albacore. These methods were proposed by the HMSMT and HMSAS and include the number of vessels that participated in the albacore troll/baitboat fishery and a computation of vessel fishing days for commercial fisheries catching albacore for the time period 1996-2006. Together these methods could be used to report historical effort in fisheries catching North Pacific albacore in order to determine whether fishing effort is declining, stable, or increasing. Based on the information provided, the Council concludes that U.S. West Coast effort on North Pacific albacore is not increasing, as required of all parties to the IATTC and WCPFC resolutions.

Yellowfin Tuna Overfishing

Due to changes in the newly reauthorized MSA, the Council will not develop an FMP amendment to address yellowfin tuna overfishing, as previously required. As now required by the Act, the Council considered the need for additional domestic regulation to address the relative impact of West Coast fisheries and recommended no additional measures. The Council tasked its HMSMT with developing detailed recommendations to the Secretary of State and Congress for international actions to end overfishing. These recommendations will be considered by the Council at a future meeting and finalized within one year, as required by the Act.

Council Operating Procedure for Making Highly Migratory Species Recommendations to Regional Fishery Management Organizations

The Council adopted for public review a Council Operating Procedure (COP) to provide a general roadmap and schedule for communicating with other fishery management organizations on HMS issues.  The COP describes the processes for the Council to develop conservation and management recommendations for HMS that would be communicated to U.S. delegations to Pacific Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMO). It also describes how NMFS will keep the Council informed of conservation measures adopted by RFMO which may require domestic regulations under the MSA or other applicable law. The Council directed staff to incorporate changes proposed by the HMSAS, as appropriate, prior to circulating the draft COP for public review.

The Council also reviewed a draft MOU (as authorized by Section 503(f) of the MSA) between the Pacific Fishery Management Council, Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, North Pacific Fishery Management Council, Department of Commerce, and Department of State with respect to participation in delegations to RFMO and RFMO advisory committees. It tasked the Executive Director to continue to work with the parties to finalize the MOU. In doing this, it asked the Executive Director to propose (1) adding a provision designating the Chair of the IATTC GAC as a participant in the U.S. delegation to IATTC meetings, and (2) changes to section V.C.5, which designates the composition of the Advisory Committee to the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, whereby the designation of a seat for a Pacific Council area representative of the albacore troll fishery would be changed to commercial at-large representatives in a number equal to the number of seats representing commercial fishing sectors from the Western Pacific Council region.

Council Recommendations on Conservation Measures to be Considered by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission

At this time there is insufficient information for the Council to develop detailed conservation and management recommendations to address overfishing of eastern Pacific yellowfin and Pacific-wide bigeye tuna stocks in advance of the June 2007 IATTC meeting. Nonetheless, the Council agreed on the need to demonstrate that it wishes to participate in formulating recommendations that may lead to proposals before RFMO. For this reason the Council authorized a letter to NMFS containing general recommendations on conservation measures for these stocks and underscoring the Council's concern about continued overfishing of these stocks, which they would like to be considered by the full U.S. delegation. They also tasked the HMSMT with developing additional recommendations over the coming year that can be communicated to the Secretary of State and Congress (as required by the MSA) and to the U.S. delegation to the IATTC in advance of the 2008 IATTC meeting.

For Further Information, Contact:
Curt Melcher, Deputy Fish Division Administrator:  503-947-6208
Patty Burke, Marine Program Manager Gway Kirchner:  groundfish amendment 15
Mark Saelens: commercial groundfish
Kelly Ames: sport groundfish
Brett Wiedoff: CPS
Cyreis Schmitt: HMS
Arlene Merems:  Habitat

ODFW Marine Resources Program
2040 SE Marine Sciences Drive
Newport, OR  97365


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