Category Archives: Western Pacific

Judge invalidates all permits for fishing by aquarium trade

An Oahu Circuit Court order essentially called a halt Friday to the $2 million commercial aquarium trade in Hawaii until environmental reviews are performed. After seven weeks Circuit Judge Jeff Crabtree finally ruled in line with the Hawaii Supreme Court’s Sept. 6 opinion that existing state-issued commercial collectors’ permits are now illegal and invalid, and ordered the Department of Land and Natural Resources not to issue any new permits until collectors perform environmental reviews. click here to read the story 14:49

Doubt surrounds stranded sailors as Coast Guard reveals women had emergency beacon and never activated it

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday that the two Hawaii women who say they were lost at sea never activated their emergency beacon, adding to a growing list of inconsistences that cast doubt on the women’s harrowing tale of survival. Parts of their story have been called into question, including the tropical storm the two say they encountered on their first night at sea in May. National Weather Service records show no organized storms in the region in early May. When asked if the two had the radio beacon aboard, the women told the AP on Friday they had a number of other communications devices, but they didn’t mention the EPIRB. click here to read the story 08:37

The Great Pacific Migration of Bluefin Tuna

Shortly after their first birthday, Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) complete an impressive feat. From the spawning grounds in the Sea of Japan where they were born, the young tuna embark on a journey over 5,000 miles (8,000 km) long, across the entire Pacific Ocean to the California coast where they spend several years feeding and growing. Until recently, scientists believed only a small portion of juvenile tuna made the journey, but several new studies show that may not be the case—in some years the majority of tuna aged between one and three participate in the trans-Pacific migration. click here to read the story 14:53

Still Stuck! State, Coast Guard still trying to move fishing vessel

A fishing boat that ran onto a reef close to Kaimana Beach in Waikiki nearly two weeks ago is sticking around a little longer. The Coast Guard has made multiple attempts to move the Pacific Paradise, but the 79-foot vessel hasn’t moved. The Coast Guard explained a plan is being developed to either reduce the weight of the ship after taking on water, or even trying to lift the vessel rather than pull it.  Before any further actions, the Coast Guard will take a complete assessment to get the Pacific Paradise off the reef. Video,  click here to read the story 12:02

A huge marine reserve in the Pacific will protect rich tourists rather than fish

Palau is a sovereign state with a UN vote, albeit one with just 18,000 residents. In 2015 the country designated 80% of its territorial waters – an area roughly the size of Spain – as a National Marine Sanctuary. In the “Bul”, as the sanctuary is known locally, commercial fishing is off limits. The reserve has attracted many of the world’s largest conservation and development NGOs. It has received more than US$90m in pledges, mostly from corporate donors, charitable trusts and government agencies in Australia, Japan and the US.  Yet the scientific rationale behind the sanctuary is questionable.  click here to read the story 08:15

F/V Pacific Paradise: Responders unsuccessful in removing grounded fishing vessel off Honolulu

Responders were unsuccessful in removing the grounded 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise off Waikiki, Friday. Marine salvage company Cates International crews utilized a tug with 8” plasma towline and chain from both the bow and stern of the fishing vessel in the attempt to break it free from the coral reef. “Salvage teams attempted various removal procedures on both on the bow and stern and although the vessel had movement during the process, it remains aground,” said Capt. Michael Long, commander, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu and captain of the port. “Our Coast Guard teams will reassess with all our partners this weekend to prepare future removal plans.  click here to read the story 14:00

Foss Hired to Remove Grounded Fishing Vessel Off Waikiki – New Concerns about Foreign Fishermen

Foss Maritime has been hired to remove the grounded fishing vessel Pacific Paradise from a reef off Waikiki after repeated attempts to refloat the vessel by commercial salvage companies have failed. The 79-foot Pacific Paradise ran aground on 10 October about 1,000 feet off Waikiki’s Kaimana Beach, and the vessel has remained stuck there ever since. Several attempts have been made by commercial salvage companies to tow the vessel, but each time the operation has been unsuccessful. click here to read the story 18:34

Hawaii boat crash spurs new concerns about foreign fishermen – while transporting foreign fishermen to work in Hawaii’s commercial fishing industry has raised new questions about the safety and working conditions for foreign laborers in this unique U.S. fleet. click here to read the story 

Barry Myers is Trump’s nominee to head NOAA – Why Does This Guy Make Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz Nervous?

Hawaii relies heavily on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — in some ways, for its very safety. NOAA, which oversees the National Weather Service, is the agency that helps predict and anticipate hurricanes, tsunamis and dangerous floods, issuing warnings that help people prepare or get out of the way. But in this case, it’s President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the agency, a business executive from Pennsylvania, who is causing a political storm. Barry Myers, chief executive officer of AccuWeather, a private weather and data services company based in State College, Pennyslvania, has been named by Trump to serve as U.S. Commerce Department Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, a job traditionally held by biologists and climate scientists. This position is usually also called the Administrator of NOAA. click here to read the story 22:44

Western Pacific Fishery Management Council – 171st Council Meeting at American Samoa, October 17-19, 2017

For information, the meeting agenda, and a link to a rare WPFMC webinar, click here 21:29

Video: Crews respond to fire aboard F/V Pacific Paradise aground in Waikiki waters

Multiple agencies are responding to a fire aboard the Pacific Paradise, a fishing vessel stuck in shallow waters off Waikiki. Witnesses reported seeing thick black smoke coming from the vessel mid-morning Saturday. Coast Guard officials say they were informed of the fire just after 10 a.m. They continue to enforce a 500 ft. safety zone around the boat. Video, click here to read the story  To view photo gallery, click here 20:00

“The fact is, law abiding, licensed commercial fishermen are considered by our government to be the most dangerous people in America.”

In September 1983 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Balelo v Baldridge decided the first court challenge against the government policy of placing federal observers on commercial fishing vessels to monitor their operations. The plaintiffs were Pacific tuna purse seiners. This the first observer program in the American fishing industry was enacted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The first observers spent many weeks on the high seas with the fishermen at a time when there was literally no other way to assure that the newly enacted law — meant to bring the mortality of marine mammals in the tuna fishery as close to zero as possible — was being followed by these operations. It was provided for in this portion of the MMPA that the captains be given notice well in advance of the required observer trips and that the funding be fully covered by Congress. click here to read the story 19:21

Coast Guard, crews work to remove grounded fishing boat off Waikiki

The U.S. Coast Guard and private contractors were back in Waikiki today trying to refloat and remove the 79-foot fishing vessel that was grounded a few hundred yards off Kaimana Beach in Waikiki late Tuesday. Today’s late-morning high tide was expected to help the effort and officials were expecting to get the ship free today. On Thursday, crews worked to safely remove fuel and other pollutants from the Pacific Paradise ahead of today’s effort to remove the vessel. click here to read the story 22:35

In Defense Of The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council

Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan is to be commended for his advocacy for the people of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and as well as the interests of the marine environment. As Civil Beat reported last week, the lawmaker is demanding an investigation of the Hawaii-based Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. However, I must differ with the congressman on his depiction of the council as being engaged in improper lobbying specifically in regards to the opposition to Marine Monuments that has aired during council meetings. (By Michael Markrich) click here to read the story 11:49

Coast Guard, HFD rescue 20 fishermen from aground vessel off Honolulu

Twenty fishermen were transported to shore from an aground vessel less than a half mile off Honolulu early Wednesday morning. Honolulu Fire Department Jet Ski crews transported fishermen from the vessel to a Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium for further transport to awaiting emergency responders at Ala Wai Harbor. A Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter crew hoisted two of the fishermen and the master of the vessel and transported them to Honolulu airport. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received three reports of the 79-foot commercial fishing vessel Pacific Paradise grounded off Diamond Head click here to read the story 10:58

Lawmaker Wants Checks on Presidential Power to Set Aside Public Land

A congressional committee will consider a bid to restrict the president’s ability to use the Antiquities Act to set aside vast swaths of public land for conservation purposes. U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, Utah Republican and vocal opponent of federal control of public lands, introduced House Resolution 3990 on Friday, which would trigger environmental reviews and congressional approvals if a U.S. president uses the Antiquities Act to set aside more than 640 acres less than 50 miles away from another national monument. click here to read the story 12:30

Management of Pacific fisheries at WESPAC’s committee meeting

Pacific scientists will meet in Lihue, Kauai, from Oct. 10 to 12 to provide recommendations on managing fisheries in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI, and the US Pacific Remote Islands Areas. The meeting of the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is open to the public. The council will consider the recommendations of the SSC and its other advisory bodies at its 171st meeting on Oct. 17-19 in Utulei, American Samoa. The major agenda items include the following: click here to read the story 11:10

Congressman Blasts Fishery Council For ‘Improper Lobbying’ – asks for an investigation

The Honolulu-based Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council was harshly criticized on Capitol Hill last week over allegations of anti-environmental lobbying and secretiveness. U.S. Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, a Democrat who represents the Northern Marianas Islands, blasted the council known as Wespac during a hearing before the Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee. Sablan asked for an investigation of the 16-member council’s activities, which he said include “improper lobbying,” organizing efforts to undermine environmental protections and unspecified financial conflicts of interest. click here to read the story 11:09

MSA Reauthorization – Fishing rule reforms debated on Capitol Hill

How large of a role should the federal government have in regulating fishing fleets? Republicans and Democrats on the House Committee on Natural Resources discussed this question Tuesday in Washington, D.C., as part of renewed efforts to reauthorize and potentially amend a 40-year-old law that works to prevent overfishing and provide aid to fishing fleets.,, Several changes to the law have been made since 1996, such as setting annual catch limits and a 10-year timeline to rebuild overfished or depleted fish stocks. Republican committee members such as Alaska Rep. Don Young said these changes have taken a one-size-fits-all approach rather than provide more flexibility for regional fishery management councils to manage their own fisheries. click here to read the story 09:47

Watch Legislative Hearing on 4 Fishery Bills – click here for video

Legislative Hearing on 4 Fishery Bills – Tuesday, September 26, 2017 10:00 AM

H.R. 200 (Rep. Don Young), To amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide flexibility for fishery managers and stability for fishermen, and for other purposes. click here  H.R. 2023 (Rep. Garret Graves), To modernize recreational fisheries management Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017 click here  H.R. 3588 (Rep. Garret Graves), To amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide for management of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, and for other purposes. click here  RED SNAPPER Act Discussion Draft of H.R. ____ (Rep. Jared Huffman), To amend and reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and for other purposes. click here To read the notice, click here 12:29

State of Hawaii wants to triple fees for commercial marine licenses

The state is proposing to triple by cost of commercial marine license fees by 2018. The $50 fee would jump to $100 initially, then to $150 on Jan. 1, 2018. “Commercial license fees haven’t increased in nearly 20 years, so we’re updating the fee schedule to reflect our current needs,” said Bruce Anderson, administrator of the state’s Division of Aquatic Resources. “The increased revenues will fund badly needed improvements to online reporting and licensing web sites, to better serve the fishing public.” The state is also proposing changes that would affect dealers who buy marine life directly from commercial fishers. A series of meetings have been scheduled for the public to weigh in: click here to read the details 13:46

Zinke tells Trump – Shrink at least 4 national monuments and modify a half-dozen others

The secretary’s set of recommendations also would change the way all 10 targeted monuments are managed. It emphasizes the need to adjust the proclamations to address concerns of local officials or affected industries, saying the administration should permit “traditional uses” now restricted within the monuments’ boundaries, such as grazing, logging, coal mining and commercial fishing.,, The White House is reviewing the recommendations and has not reached a final decision on them. click here to read the story 08:58

Trade groups want 10-year requirement removed from Magnuson-Stevens Act

As Congress gets ready to address reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act, representatives from commercial fishing interests are urging lawmakers to revisit some of the current law’s regulations they feel have hindered the industry. In particular, they’re urging officials to do away with language that caps rebuilding plans for overfished species to 10 years. It’s an arbitrary figure that has too rigidly applied across all federally managed species, said Lori Steele, the executive director of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association, at a hearing Tuesday of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. click here to read the story 10:50

The Magnuson Stevens Act and its Ten Year Rebuilding Timeline: Science or Fiction? By Meghan Lapp – click here to read the article

Dongwon chairman had direct control in price fixing say lawsuits

Dongwon Enterprise chairman Jae-chul Kim, a legend in the tuna sector, directly controlled US subsidiary and tuna brand Starkist Co during the years of the alleged price-fixing conspiracy, a new wave of class-action lawsuits against the big players in the sector claim. Two lawsuits filed on Aug. 29 by retailers Moran Foods and Dollar General Corporation and a third filed on August 30 from Krasdale Foods are the latest to make allegations that the involvement in a price fixing conspiracy went right to the top at the South Korean firm, which owns US-based Starkist via its Dongwon Industries operation. click here to read the story 18:00

Hearing! 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday – MSA Reauth – Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene the hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The hearing is the third of the series and will focus on the perspectives of commercial, charter, and recreational fishermen on the state of our nation’s fishery laws. click here to read the press release This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov. 23:24

Countries Pledge To Recover Dwindling Pacific Bluefin Tuna Population

In a joint meeting Friday in Busan, South Korea, the two groups that manage Pacific bluefin tuna reached a historic long-term agreement that would put the species on the path to recovery. The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission agreed to take steps to rebuild the population to 20 percent of historic levels by 2034 — a sevenfold increase from current levels. Stocks of Pacific bluefin have fallen to 2.6 percent of their historic size, with countries like Mexico, Japan, Korea and the U.S. exceeding fishing quotas within the last two years. click here to read the story 17:02

Fishing Vessel Owner Convicted for Oil and Garbage Offenses Off American Samoa

A fishing vessel company that operated in and around American Samoa was convicted and sentenced today for maintaining false and incomplete records relating to the discharge of oil and garbage, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Environment and Natural Resources Division and United States Attorney Channing D. Phillips. The company, Yuh Fa Fishery (Vanuatu) Co. Ltd., owned the Fishing Vessel (“F/V”) Yuh Fa No. 201, the vessel that was responsible for the pollution. click here to read the story 16:13

NIOSH regional reports highlight top dangers in commercial fishing industry

Vessel disasters and falls overboard are the primary hazards experienced by workers in commercial fishing – an industry with a fatality rate 29 times higher than the national average – according to a recent NIOSH analysis of four U.S. regions. NIOSH reviewed overall commercial fishing fatalities in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, and the East and West Coasts from 2010 to 2014. Researchers found that 184 fatalities occurred in the four regions: Alaska recorded 45, the West Coast had 30, the East Coast reported 60 and the Gulf of Mexico experienced 49. Vessel disasters (capsizes, fires, groundings, sinking) accounted for the most deaths with 80, followed by falls overboard with 53. Other categories included onboard, onshore and diving. click here to read the story 23:24

Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program – 2017 Awards

NOAA Fisheries has awarded more than $2.3 million to partners around the country to support innovative bycatch reduction research projects through its . Bycatch of various species–fish, marine mammals, or turtles–can have significant biological, economic, and social impacts. Preventing and reducing bycatch is a shared goal of fisheries managers, the fishing industry, and the environmental community. click here to read the notice 14:10

Fish pie – Everyone wants a piece

Representatives of the haves and have-nots of American ocean fisheries gathered in a packed college classroom here on Wednesday to offer Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, their ideas on what he could do with the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. The now 40-year-old federal fisheries legislation is the legacy of the late and revered Alaska Sen.Ted Stevens.,,, And there is no doubt the MSA has problems when it comes to dealing with recreational fishing. Anglers, charter-boat operators, commercial fishermen and environmental groups are at the moment all in a Gulf of Mexico scrum fighting over red snapper. It is in many ways a tussle that almost makes the long-running fish war in Cook Inlet look tame. click here to read the story 08:25

Magnuson Reauthorization, let’s get it right this time – Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

When the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) became law 0n April 13, 1976, one of its primary selling points, along with reserving the fish and shellfish in our coastal waters out to two hundred miles for U.S. fishermen, was that the eight regional Fishery Management Councils that it established had as voting members both government employees who were involved in fisheries management and private citizens who were knowledgeable about fisheries. Ideally this made for balanced decision making, allowing for both the official view of what’s going on in particular fisheries and the on-the-water observations of people with an actual working knowledge of the fisheries, and with the Secretary of Commerce required to sign off on any fishery management actions. (It’s important to note that this was well before supposed environmental crises were supporting a multi-billion dollar industry.) click here to read this article. 12:21