Tag Archives: Western Pacific Fishery Management Council

Chairman’s Death Comes At Crucial Time For Western Pacific Fishery Management Council

The unexpected death this summer of Edwin Ebisui has left the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council with an empty seat and a decision to make on who should take over as its permanent chairman. The leadership void comes at a crucial time for the council, which has been pushing the Trump administration to open up protected waters to commercial fishing. “You can be sure there is all kinds of lobbying going on right now,” said Rick Gaffney, a former council member and head of the Hawaii Fishing and Boating Association.,,, Ebisui, 67, was a Honolulu lawyer who fished commercially for bottomfish such as onaga and opakapaka. He was also a strong advocate for Hawaii’s $100 million tuna industry during his tenure on the council. >click to read<09:55

Hawaii’s commercial swordfish fleet shut down for rest of year

Hawaii’s commercial swordfish fleet has been shut down for the rest of the year following a court order aimed at protecting endangered loggerhead sea turtles. The National Marine Fisheries Service closed the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery in a move heralded Wednesday by conservation groups that sued for the turtle protections. Under the court order the swordfish fishery will close, and a new biological assessment will determine what the limit will be next year. “It’s a good result for all parties,” said Jim Cook, board member with the Hawaii Longline Association. >click to read<10:51

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

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

How the WPFMC and Kitty Simonds Crashed Conservation’s Biggest Event

Irreverent might be the best way to describe Kitty Simonds’ feelings about the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress, a 10-day event currently taking place at the Hawaii Convention Center. “It’s all about making money,” Simonds said as she looked dismissively at two preteens taking selfies with cardboard cut-outs of elephants and tigers at an environmental exhibition on the convention center floor. Simonds is the executive director of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council — or Wespac, as it’s more commonly known — a quasi-governmental agency charged with monitoring Pacific fish stocks from Hawaii and American Samoa to Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. She’s a highly contentious figure in conservation circles, which made her organization’s involvement in the world’s largest environmental conference all the more curious. Simond’s brazen attitude was on full display at the Hawaii Convention Center this week. The agency had it’s own exhibition booth alongside the likes of the Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund. The exhibition stuck out, too. (Kudos to Kitty!) Read the story here 07:51

Hawaii fishermen upset at Hawaii monument expansion

No-Fishing-e1449493453695President Barack Obama is to travel to Hawaii this week to mark the new designation of the expanded Papahanaumokuakea Marina National Monument which he signed despite strong opposition from the Hawaii fishing industry. President Obama who was born in Hawaii is expected to cite the need to protect public lands and waters from climate change. The Western Pacific fishery Management Council of which American Samoa is a member voiced disappointment with Obama’s decision, saying it “serves a political legacy” rather than a conservation benefit. Council member from American Samoa Taulapapa Willie Sword told KHJ News in a recent interview the territory should be concerned with the Hawaii monument expansion because “we could be next.” There was also opposition from the fishing industry in Hawaii. Sean Martin, the president of the Hawaii Longline Association, said his organization was disappointed Obama closed an area nearly the size of Alaska without a public process. “This action will forever prohibit American fishermen from accessing those American waters. Quite a legacy indeed,” he said in an email to The Associated Press. The Pew Charitable Trusts helped lead the push to expand the monument. Read the rest here 11:39

Western Pacific Fishery Management Council takes issue with Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz

schatz d pewHawaii Senator Brian Schatz has received a strongly worded letter from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council concerning his support of the proposed expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian islands. A local fishermen who has been following the debate on the proposed expansion says we should be  concerned with what’s happening with Hawaii’s fishery because we are next. He says the Hawaii Monument expansion, just like the designation of the  Remote Pacific Islands Monument and expansion of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa are examples of the influence of funding by special interest groups such as the Pew Foundation. Read the rest here 13:35

CNMI Lt. Gov. Hocog Asks Western Pacific Fishery Management Council to Collaborate on Three Key Issues

14acd1a0-61f6-4794-bdfc-bd9cb84e37a6Acting Gov. Victor Hocog of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) today asked the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council to work with the Commonwealth to address regulations that impact the people of the CNMI. On behalf of Gov. Ralph Torres, who is off-island, Hocog made his remarks during the opening of the 166th meeting of the Council today at the Fiesta Resort & Spa in Garapan, CNMI. “I humbly ask this Council to consider the state our people are faced with,” he added. “I choose to ask the Council in the days ahead on this meeting to give serious thoughts and consideration [on how we can] work together and achieve what islanders need without compromising standards.” Hocog listed three items of concern: 1) the 0 to 3 miles of submerged lands and waters around islands of the Islands Unit of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (MNM) that have not been conveyed to the CNMI; 2) sea turtles and sharks; and 3) US military bombing of Farallon de Medinilla (FDM). Read the press release here 21:26

ENGO’s with big money influence decision making on fisheries

wolf-in-sheeps-clothing-scaled500-e1371562470325There were repeated statements made at last week’s meeting of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council that the US Government regulations are hurting the whole fishing industry, from boat owners to fishermen to canneries and the communities they operate in. Hawaii Council member Michael Goto said, “When international regulations cause a fishery to close, I don’t see how we can convince other nations to abide by our standards.  Goto told KHJ News that many of the regulations hurting fisheries are the result of lobbying by non government and environmental groups. Audio, Read the rest here 15:25

Hawaii’s $100 Million Fishery Reopens in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

wpfmc press releaseHONOLULU (13 Oct. 2015) After a closure that lasted more than two months, Hawaii’s longline vessels can fish again for bigeye tuna in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. Since Aug. 5th, the 145 active vessels in the Hawaii longline fleet have been prohibited from catching bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), i.e., waters east of 150 degrees West longitude. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) determined that the fleet had reached its 2015 US bigeye tuna limit of 3,502 mt, developed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, to which the United States is a party. Read the rest here  11:35

More division on Large Vessel Protected Area (LVPA) Amendment

The US National Marine Fisheries Service proposal to allow large US flagged longliners to fish within certain boundaries of the waters now limited to alia fishing has attracted both support and opposition. NMFS is accepting public comments until Sept. 24th on the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council’s recommendation to allow, Local longline vessel owner Edgar Feliciano says he supports amending the LVPA so that  U.S. flagged longline vessels, owned and operated in American Samoa can deliver their catch to the local canneries. Read the rest here 10:24

WPFMC question proposed rule on green sea turtles, address allocation of US tuna catches

The council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee and Protected Species Advisory Committee noted a lack of transparency in the criteria used to make the status determinations, questionable interpretation of existing research and gaps in information considered. The Scientific and Statistical Committee, for example, said the proposal to continue to list the Hawai’i green turtle as threatened is contrary to analysis that showed zero chance of decline in the population in the foreseeable future. Read the rest here 20:15

Local operators unhappy with long-line fishing changes in American Samoa

Collision Am SamoaRecent changes to fishing regulations have not gone down well with local operators in American Samoa after the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council reduced the long-line fishing boat limit from 50 miles offshore (80 kilometres) to just 12 miles (19 kilometres). Audio Report, Click here to listen 08:36

Western Pacific Fishery Management Council Fishery News

WPFMC sidebarPacific Islands Fishery News is the newsletter of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. The latest edition of the Pacific Islands Fishery News is now available! Your feedback is welcome! Lots of info in a neat package. Click here to read it. 16:23

Podesta, White House warned about Pew ocean preserve expansion to combat ‘climate change’

No FishingJohn Podesta, the Obama administration’s climate and energy czar, got a blunt warning this week that a plan to cut off all fishing in a huge, U.S.-controlled tract of the Pacific Ocean would have devastating economic effects in the region, and would cede geopolitical advantages to China and other Pacific powers., Federal officials did not allow the session to be filmed   Read the rest here   19:31    PEW “CONFIDENTIAL BACKGROUND DOSSIER Here

Western Pacific Fishery Management Council Opposed to Obama MPA Expansion


WPFMC: “Tuna Catch Reaching Maximum Sustainable Yield”

American Samoa – The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council Friday concluded its three-day meeting at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium (Fale Laumei) in American Samoa with recommendations for the management of federally regulated fisheries in the US Pacific Islands. continue

Territory dedicates WPFMC funded projects – Fisheries Council welcomed with ava ceremony

The Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources and the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council dedicated on Friday and Saturday several projects that were funded by the Council for the benefit of local fishermen. continued  Local leaders today welcomed members of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council with an ava ceremony at the Fale Tele at Suigaula o le Atuvasa. continued

American Samoa hosts the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council March 11-14, 2013

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council will convene its 156th meeting next week at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium. Sam Rauch, NOAA Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, will be attending the meeting. The Scientific Statistical Committee, which advises the Council, says the “determination tool” used to indicate listing or not is flawed and recommends that the council suggests that the National Marine Fishery Services, which is reviewing the listing proposal, consider an alternative determination tool. Read more   156th Council Meeting  March 11-14, 2013 Pago Pago, American Samoa. WPFMC info here

Americam Samoa – Albacore fishery management under review Western Pacific Fishery Management Council

The American Samoa longline fishery is the second largest fishery in the US Pacific Islands. The fishery is based almost entirely on fishing for South Pacific albacore caught for the American Samoa canning industry, with only a small domestic market, and limited access to overseas markets. This South Pacific albacore is also important to the central South Pacific countries neighboring American Samoa, which also supply the American Samoa canning and fish processing industry.

Catches of South Pacific albacore by all fleets south of the equator have more than doubled in the past decade and are currently about 90 percent of maximum sustainable yield. This is due primarily to the doubling of vessels from China fishing under access agreements with the Solomon Islands and switching by Taiwanese longliners from targeting bigeye to albacore. Read more