Tag Archives: California

Halibut bycatch increases as council considers cod options

Data released preceding the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s upcoming interim meeting shows that almost all the regulatory areas of Alaska from Southeast to the Bering Sea — areas 2C through 4E, respectively — caught more halibut as bycatch in the 2019 season than they did in 2018, with the exception of area 4B, which covers the western Aleutian Islands. Coastwide, from California and British Columbia through the Bering Sea, bycatch increased by more than 1.5 million pounds,,, >click to read<   15:48

Dungeness crab ‘meating up’ at slowest rate in years; also slow to harden

Dungeness crab in Long Beach Peninsula waters have the lowest percentage of meat in at least five years of late-October testing. More than 85% of local crab also are too soft to harvest. This is bad news for the traditional Dec. 1 opening date, which has often proved illusory in the past two decades.,, All areas must be at least 23% before a commercial crabbing season can commence under terms of the Tri-State protocol that governs crabbing in the waters of Washington, Oregon and California. In another potential problem for a timely season start, Washington coast crab are especially slow to harden this autumn. >click to read< 11:47

Auction for offshore wind lease just around the corner

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is set to hold an auction to lease space approximately 25 miles off the coast of Eureka to develop an offshore wind energy project in 2020,,,  We’re committed to building this project and that we’re able to do that in a way, again, that delivers benefits to the local community.” The companies are front-loading much of the work that needs to be done by trying to assess the impacts to wildlife and local industries, Studds said. >click to read<  16:07

Fisheries disaster declared in multiple fisheries, multiple states

Wednesday,, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced his determination that commercial fishery failures occurred for multiple fisheries between 2017 and 2019 in Alaska, California, Georgia, and South Carolina, while further finding that a catastrophic regional fishery disaster occurred for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama due to extreme flooding events in the Gulf of Mexico. >click to read< 17:41

Feds seek expanded habitat protection as salmon, orcas battle climate change, habitat degradation

Advocates for the designation say it provides another layer of review and more legal protection for the whales. “We are thrilled,” said Steve Jones, spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity,,, However, Lynne Barre, head of killer-whale protection for NOAA, said she did not anticipate big changes if the designation is approved after a public comment period, because activities such as dam operations and fishing already are subject to review by the agency for their effect on endangered species. >click to read<  13:32

Though impossible to prove, Con group claims early end to crab season helped reduce whale entanglements

Though impossible to prove, the Center for Biological Diversity credited the improvement to removal of commercial Dungeness crab gear from California coastal waters in mid-April, under a legal settlement,,, Sonke Mastrup, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, was less willing to make a definitive connection,,, His boss, agency director Chuck Bonham, had linked the initial spike in entanglements with environmental factors that in 2016 shifted the location of forage fish and whale feeding grounds at the same time that a toxic algae bloom delayed the start of the commercial crab season by 4 1/2 months. The result was that most of the crab fleet had gear in the water at the same time whales came up the coast to feed,,, >click to read< 11:06

California king salmon rebounds after drought

Reeling in a fish “feels good every time,” but this year has been surprisingly good,,, Commercial salmon catches have surpassed official preseason forecasts by about 50%, said Kandice Morgenstern, a marine scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Harvests have been particularly strong in Morro Bay, Monterey and San Francisco, but weaker along California’s northern coast. This year’s adult salmon are the first class to benefit from record rainfall that filled California rivers and streams in early 2017, making it easier for juvenile chinook to migrate to the Pacific Ocean, where they grow into full-size fish. Photo’s, >click to read< 09:50

Noyo Harbor plan points up longterm needs

The Noyo Harbor District released its long-awaited Community Sustainability Plan on June 13, laying out a roadmap for harbor improvements in coming years. The plan focuses on maintaining sustainable fisheries, harbor-based jobs, and improvements to aging facilities that serve local commercial and recreational anglers and visitors.,,, recommendations are: building a fuel dock in the harbor, increasing the harbor’s supply of flaked ice and cold storage, more regular harbor dredging,,, >click to read< 17:39

After yearslong shortfall caused by drought and environmental restrictions, California Is Overflowing With Salmon

The phones began ringing at Giovanni’s Fish Market & Galley a week after salmon season opened in May and have barely let up since. “It’s all day, every day,” said Giovanni DeGarimore, the owner.,,, “You can plan for bad years, but it’s hard to navigate when you’re totally closed,” said Lori French, wife of a commercial fisherman who has permits for both crab and salmon. But then the salmon season opened on May 1. “This is a ‘Thank you, Jesus’” moment, Ms. French said over a salmon lunch on the waterfront one day in mid-June, as her husband was out at sea. >click to read<09:31

Gray Whales – NOAA declares ‘unusual mortality event’ after at least 70 West Coast strandings this spring

The declaration by NOAA — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — kicks in a provision of federal law that provides funding to help scientists figure out the cause of such die-offs of marine mammals, from whales and dolphins in the Pacific or Atlantic to manatees off Florida. So far this year, at least 70 gray whales have been found stranded and dead along the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska — the most in nearly 20 years, scientists from NOAA said Friday. >click to read<17:06

Offshore Wind: California’s New Gold Rush

When it comes to States promoting renewable, non-fossil electricity generation, California surely leads the list, from utility-scale regional grids to individual rooftop solar panels. In fact, a December 2018 update from the California Energy Commission (CEC) estimates the state may already have exceeded an initial renewable generation goal of 33% by 2020..,,, CA’s offshore process started in earnest three years ago when a wind energy company then called Trident Wind – now Castle Wind – submitted an unsolicited request to BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) to lease a site in the Pacific near Morro Bay (about half-way between LA and San Francisco). >click to read<10:30

California – Commercial Dungeness Crab Season to Close Statewide April 15

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham issued a declaration to close the commercial Dungeness crab fishery statewide at 11:59 p.m. on April 15, 2019 due to increased whale entanglement risk anticipated for the spring and summer months. ,,,, Therefore, the Director has declared that the commercial Dungeness crab fishery will close at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 15, 2019.  For more information >click to read<10:08

GA Among States to Receive Part of $20 Million in Fishery Disaster Funding

The U.S. Department of Commerce allocated $20 million to help tribes, communities, fishermen, and businesses affected by commercial fishery failures that occurred in Georgia, California, Oregon, and Washington between 2013 and 2017. “The Department of Commerce and NOAA stand ready to support communities working to rebuild and rebound from fishery disasters,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “We will continue to work closely with our partners to help American fishermen preserve their livelihoods.” >click to read<09:45

Crab fishing season delayed by weather, small crabs

Smaller crabs and bad weather are delaying the start of crabbing for Washington and Oregon,,,Fishermen could start setting up their Dungeness crab gear Jan. 1 — a month later than usual — because crab were under the legal size and molted late. That means the loss of the lucrative Christmas market. And even then they couldn’t start pulling traps on Friday, when stormy weekend weather kept some crabbers from harvesting their catch. Steve Manewal, manager of the South Bend Products processing plant in Chinook, didn’t start receiving crab shipments until Saturday afternoon. In the southern third of Oregon Coast and parts of California, the season remains delayed because crabs haven’t met weight requirements yet,,, >click to read<22:54

CDFW – Northern Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Further Delayed in Ocean Waters North of Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County due to Public Health Hazard >click to read<

California shifts water from farms, cities to fish.

Despite an epic last-minute compromise brokered by Gov. Jerry Brown, state water regulators voted Wednesday to reallocate billions of gallons of San Joaquin River water from farms and cities to revive struggling fish populations. After hours of testimony, the State Water Resources Control board voted to deliver hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water from the San Joaquin watershed to salmon, steelhead and other species that ply the fragile Delta. The vote will eventually take water from Valley farmers, who have blasted the plan as a “water grab,” as well as cities such as Modesto and San Francisco. >click to read<09:52

California Dungeness crab season faces delays in parts of state

The opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season has been delayed until at least Dec. 1 in the waters north of Bodega Head State Marine Reserve to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line because of elevated levels of domoic acid, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today. The commercial fishery south of this area will open as scheduled Thursday, however. >click to read<10:51

Facing the Wind – A fisherman’s take on offshore wind

Local fishermen are on the verge of forever losing local fishing grounds to wind power as California trades one renewable resource (seafood) for another (electricity). The state of California and its citizens are on the front line of the efforts to convert our energy use from the burning of fossil fuels (oil and gas) to renewable sources of power — solar and wind. The latest move toward this conversion is for the sale of offshore ocean leases to wind power companies for the development of “at sea” wind farms with the ocean area off of Eureka and Trinidad as the prime first sites. >click to read<08:55

Feds declare salmon fishery disasters

California’s 2016 and 2017 commercial ocean salmon seasons have been declared as federal fisheries disasters, one of many declarations for the state and the rest of the West Coast. Declared by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce late last month, the West Coast fisheries disasters include the Klamath River fall run Chinook commercial ocean salmon fisheries of both California and Oregon and the 2017 Klamath fisheries of the Yurok and Hoopa Valley tribes. Those declarations are among a dozen for the West Coast alone and at this point, only $20 million has been appropriated for federal disaster relief. >click to read<09:18

California passes bill to ban drift net fishing

California is set to officially ban commercial fishermen from using drift nets off its coasts. The state legislature passed a bill Thursday that would make it ultimately unlawful for commercial fishers to use shark or swordfish drift gillnets, as well as troll lines and hand lines that are more than 900 feet in length, unless they are used as set lines. The law will set up an transition program to phase out fisherman’s use of shark or swordfish drift nets by offering incentives to those who voluntarily give up their previously received permit. The state would fund the transition by using $1 million in funds from its Ocean Protection Council for whale and sea turtle entanglement.,, The California state bill now awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) signature. He has until Sept 30. to sign it into law. >click to read<15:54

Center for Biological Diversity sues Trump administration to expand protected Southern Resident orca habitat along West Coast

The Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity said as it filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle.,,The lawsuit says the National Marine Fisheries Service has failed to act on the center’s 2014 petition to expand habitat protections to the orcas’ foraging and migration areas off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California — even though the agency agreed in 2015 that such a move was necessary. The center says the protections would help reduce water pollution and restrict vessel traffic that can interfere with the animals.“ click to read<16:36

Senate Bill 1309 – There’s a compelling case for more transparency in California fisheries.

Figuring out who owns the right to fish commercially on the Pacific Coast is typically easy: In fisheries managed by the states of Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, as well as the federal government, all you have to do is ask. California is an outlier. Here, the names of individuals and companies that own the right to fish in state-managed fisheries are confidential.,,, Through my investigation I found the wording of the confidentiality provision hadn’t been changed since 1933, even though at that time, there were no fishing rights to own. Times have changed, but the law hasn’t. Now commercial fishing rights, or limited-entry permits as they’re known in the industry, are worth more than $100 million and bought and sold on an open market. Consumers – as well as fishermen – don’t have the right to know who owns what in state-managed fisheries. >click to read<16:26

New fishery rules could protect deep sea corals in California

The Pacific Fishery Management Council will decide Monday what happens to the underwater areas as part of an update to essential fish habitat for West Coast groundfish. “The Pacific Fishery Management Council will be making a decision on changing the areas that are opened or closed to West Coast groundfish bottom trawling,” said Kerry Griffin, a staff officer to the council, which regulates fisheries in federal waters from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, from three miles to 200 miles off shore. The proposal, scheduled for a vote Monday, >click to read<20:31

Alaska, West Coast to receive fishery disaster recovery funds, unclear when

The president signed a bill this month that directs recovery funds to fisheries disasters on the West Coast, including in Alaska, but it’s still unclear how the limited funds will be distributed. In a letter to the U.S. Senate in January, senators wrote that they saw a $150 million need in Alaska following the 2016 pink salmon season disaster in the Gulf. They also identified a $140 million need for the fisheries disasters in California and $117 million for those in Washington State.,, “There’s only $200 million that has been identified for all nine of these disasters,,,, >click to read<15:39

Why California’s most productive salmon hatchery is millions of fish short

California’s most productive salmon hatchery has 6 million fewer fish this year, another sign the state’s drought woes linger despite last winter’s record rainfall.  The federal Coleman National Fish Hatchery tries to produce about 12 million fall-run Chinook salmon for release each spring into Battle Creek, a Sacramento River tributary south of Redding. This spring, the Coleman hatchery will only have half as many young salmon to release. click here to read the story08:16

Death by Killer Algae

They didn’t think much of the first dead whale. Dwarfed by the rugged cliffs of Patagonia’s high green fjords, the team of biologists had sailed into a gulf off the Pacific Ocean searching for the ocean’s smaller animals, the marine invertebrates they were there to inventory. That night, while hunting for an anchorage in a narrow bay, the team spotted a large, dead whale floating on the water’s surface. But for the biologists, death—even of such an enormous animal—didn’t seem so unusual. Not so unusual, that is, until they found the second whale, lying on the beach. And a third. And a fourth. In all, they found seven in that bay alone. Over the next day, they counted a total of 25 dead whales in the fjord. click here to read the story 15:42

Crab bill strengthening the Pacific Northwest’s Dungeness crab industry heads to President Trump

A bill introduced by Oregon’s Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to strengthen Oregon’s crab fishery passed the United States Senate and will now head to the president’s desk for signature into law. The bill permanently extends a decades-long fishery management agreement that has been vital to the Pacific Northwest’s Dungeness crab fishery.,,, The states of Oregon, Washington, and California cooperatively manage the West Coast crab fishery in federal waters under a tri-state agreement that Congress first authorized in 1998. The act would make that authority permanent. click here to read the story 15:51

Commerce Secretary Declares Fisheries Disasters for Nine West Coast Species

The US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has determined there are commercial fishery failures for nine salmon and crab fisheries in Alaska, California and Washington. In recent years, each of these fisheries experienced sudden and unexpected large decreases in fish stock biomass due to unusual ocean and climate conditions. This decision enables fishing communities to seek disaster relief assistance from Congress. Read the story here 09:54

Navy to Expand Sonar, Other Training off Northwest Coast

navy-sonar-sonobuoy-2953763The U.S. Navy has finalized a plan to expand sonar testing and other warfare training off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and northern California. The Navy decided to implement its preferred plan after a lengthy review that included a determination from the National Marine Fisheries Service that the exercises would not have major impacts on endangered orcas and other marine mammals. It announced its decision on Nov. 4. The fisheries service last year renewed the Navy’s five-year permit, through 2020, to conduct the activities in areas from the inland waters of Puget Sound in Washington state to the northern coast of California. The plan includes expanding the use of “sonobuoys,” devices that send out underwater sonar signals used by air crews training to detect submarines. Read the rest here 16:54

Governor Brown signs Whale Legislation, but the Enviros are never satisfied.

governor_jerry_brown_0California Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that he signed legislation meant to bring down the record numbers of whales getting caught in fishing gear meant for Dungeness crabs, causing unknown numbers of the entangled mammals to drown or starve. The Democratic governor approved the bill that allows fishermen to collect abandoned and lost crab pots — the cage-like contraptions used to catch the crustaceans — in the off-season for a bounty, paid for by those who lost the gear. Crab fishermen joined environmental groups in backing the legislation after federal agencies logged 61 reports of entangled whales off the West Coast last year,,, Conservation groups have urged state and federal agencies to do more, including closing some areas with high numbers of whales to crab fishing. Read the story here 12:32

Will California Approve Massive Offshore Wind Farm Project?

wind farmThe deep waters off the coast of California could become home to the country’s largest offshore wind energy project and a test case for a technology that is still in its infancy. The 765-megawatt project, proposed by Seattle-based Trident Winds, would sit about 25 miles off California’s central coast, near the town of Cambria. If built, it will be larger than the 630-megawatt London Array off the coast of Kent, – the world’s largest working offshore wind farm that began operating in 2013. To win government approval, Trident will have to prepare a lengthy report to investigate the potential environmental impact of its project. California’s coast is a major migration route for several whale species, and the underwater structures of the floating wind turbines could pose an entanglement risk. The Trident project calls for mounting 100 turbines on floating foundations in water that’s roughly half a mile deep. Read the rest here 09:29