Tag Archives: North Pacific Fishery Management Council

North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage, October 1-9, 2018

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet October 1-9, 2018 at the Hilton Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska. The Agenda >click here< and Schedule >click here< are available, as well as a list of review documents and their associated posting dates. Listen online while the meeting is in session >click here<17:58

NOAA law enforcement researches sexual harassment, assault among fishery observers

Women are harassed and fear for their safety much more than men when they work as fishery observers. That’s according to a report that NOAA’s office of law enforcement officials presented about sexual harassment of observers to a meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Kodiak this past week. The report shared preliminary data from an ongoing survey and although the sample size is small, the survey reveals stark differences between the experiences of female and male observers. >click to read<09:07

With New Kuskokwim King Salmon Data Released, Bering Sea Bycatch Restrictions Come Under Review

New state data reveals that the number of king salmon returning to the Kuskokwim River has been inflated for decades. Now, the state is recommending that the body governing the Bering Sea pollock fishery adopt this new information. If it does, restrictions on the fleet’s bycatch of king salmon could tighten, and a long-voiced demand from Kuskokwim residents could be met. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting in Kodiak, Alaska this week. It’s scheduled to make a decision by Monday on how many king salmon can be caught incidentally by commercial fishing boats targeting pollock in the Bering Sea. >click to read<08:33

North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Kodiak June 4-11, 2018

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet the week of June 4-11, 2018 at the Best Western Convention Center in Kodiak, AK. The Agenda >click here< and Schedule >click here< are available, as well as a list of review documents and their associated posting dates >click here<. Listen online while the meeting is in session>click here<. Visit NPFMC website >click here< 17:07

Fight over America’s Finest vessel part of bigger processor battle

The mothershippers are fighting with the groundfish shoreplants in a politicized Bering Sea commercial fishing tussle reaching all the way to Washington, D.C. The battle over Pacific cod pits the factory trawlers of the Amendment 80 fleet against Alaska shoreplants and local governments. And in February, it pitted two local governments against each other. A delegation of municipal and business leaders from Anacortes, Wash., traveled to the Aleutian Islands to ask the Unalaska City Council to reverse itself but didn’t change anybody’s mind. The brand spanking new factory trawler America’s Finest remains stranded in an Anacortes, Wash., shipyard, unable to fish in the United States because it hasn’t received a waiver from the Jones Act. >click to read<15:54

Halibut trash

Only in Alaska, which likes to claim title to the world’s “best-managed fisheries,” would halibut now retailing at prices in excess of $20 per pound be ground into fish meal to feed animals, shrimp and maybe even farmed salmon – the bane of Alaska commercial fishermen. Photos of halibut and other, trawl-caught bottomfish headed for the grinder emerged from Kodiak this weekend as Alaska fishermen started into a fishing season where the targeted harvest of halibut by both commercial fishermen and anglers has been seriously restricted because of conservation concerns. >click to read<18:20

North Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting in Anchorage April 2-10

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet the week of April 2-10, 2018 at the Hilton Hotel, 500 W. 3rd Avenue, Anchorage, AK. The Agenda and Schedule are available as well as a list of review documents and their associated posting dates. Listen online >click here< while the meeting is in session. NPFMC link

Kodiak Island Borough Assembly support changes to Chinook by-catch limits

King salmon are causing some trouble for Kodiak’s trawl fleet. The problem, too many are being caught as by-catch. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is currently looking at changing the Chinook prohibited species caps for the Gulf of Alaska for non-pollock catcher vessels in the trawl sector. The purpose of the adjustment would be to reduce the risk of fishery closures. If too many kings are caught in certain commercial fisheries, they’ll be shut down. In 2015, the Pacific cod and flatfish trawl fishery were closed because of this and it cost Kodiak millions >click to read<17:54

Puget Sound fishing firms tussle in Congress over new ship that ran afoul of federal law

By now, the $75 million America’s Finest should be deep into its first winter harvest season, catching and processing yellowfin sole and other fish in the Bering Sea. Instead, the 264-foot vessel — the largest trawler built in the Pacific Northwest in recent decades — is still unfinished. It sits moored at a dock at Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, and the shipyard has laid off more than 130 employees. Fishermen’s Finest wants the Washington and Alaska congressional delegations to back a straightforward waiver to the century-old Jones Act, which requires vessels transporting cargo and people between U.S. ports to have a hull largely made of American materials. >click to read< 13:46 

Unalaska business owner denounces city position on trawler

The mothershippers are fighting back with the help of a local proxy in a politicized commercial fishing tussle reaching all the way to Washington, D.C. The latest round of the inshore-offshore battle between Fisherman’s Finest’s cod factory trawlers, onshore seafood processors, and a local government, is taking on the familiar feel of the vintage pollock war. An Unalaska business owner is denouncing a city position calling for restrictions on the beleaguered vessel America’s Finest, a brand new vessel stranded in an Courtesan, Wash., shipyard since it ran afoul of the federal Jones Act by exceeding the legal limits of foreign steel in its hull. >click to read< 13:38

North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting February 5-12, 2018 in Seattle

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet the week of February 5-12, 2018 at the Renaissance Hotel, 515 Madison Street, Seattle, WA. The Agenda >click here< and Schedule >click here< are available as well as a list of review documents and the dates they are available. Listen Online: Council meeting will be broadcast live beginning February 8, 2018 >notice, click here<13:31

A tricky break for business fishermen: Pacific halibut catches more likely to drop subsequent 12 months

It‘s going to be a tough year for many Alaska fishermen. After announcements of a massive drop in cod stocks, the industry learned last week that Pacific halibut catches are likely to drop by 20 percent next year, and the declines could continue for several years. That could bring the coastwide catch for 2018, meaning from Oregon to British Columbia to the Bering Sea, to about 31 million pounds. Scientists at the International Pacific Halibut Commission interim meeting in Seattle revealed that survey results showed halibut numbers were down,,, click here to read the story 09:57

Bering Sea cod conflict brewing between on and offshore buyers

“Cod Alley” is getting crowded, and some fishermen want to limit the boats in the narrow congested fishing area in the Bering Sea. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is looking at changes, including restricting flatfish factory trawlers from buying cod offshore. The Pacific Seafood Processors Association is pushing for restrictions on factory trawlers to protect its members’ shore plants in Unalaska, Akutan, King Cove and Sand Point. According to the PSPA’s Nicole Kimball, seven factory trawlers bought cod from 17 catcher boats in 2017,,, click here to read the story 21:23

Kodiak officials prepare for ‘disaster’: An 80 percent decline in Gulf cod catches in 2018

Kodiak officials already are drafting a disaster declaration due to the crash of cod stocks throughout the Gulf of Alaska. The shortage will hurt many other coastal communities as well. Gulf cod catches for 2018 will drop by 80 percent to just under 29 million pounds in federally managed waters, compared to a harvest this year of nearly 142 million pounds. The crash is expected to continue into 2020 or 2021. Cod catches in the Bering Sea also will decline by 15 percent to 414 million pounds. In all, Alaska produces 12 percent of global cod fish. click here to read the story 09:12

Fisheries Work Group reacts to cod decline and quota reduction

The Gulf of Alaska is seeing a Pacific cod decline just a year after a disastrous pink salmon season, and it has Kodiak representatives looking at the next steps for the community. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council recently decided to reduce the Gulf of Alaska cod quota by 80 percent to compensate for the almost 70 percent decline. The feeling around the table at the Kodiak Fisheries Work Group meeting Wednesday night was that this could be another fishery disaster, as with the pink season in 2016, which earned a federal disaster designation. click here to read the story 12:07

North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage (in progress) December 4-12, 2017

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet the week of December 4-12, 2017 at the Hilton Hotel, 500 W. 3rd Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska. The AGENDA and SCHEDULE are available. The Council meeting will be broadcast (starts today) click here to listen online 19:38

Cod numbers in the Gulf of Alaska fall dramatically

Last month, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which regulates groundfish in Alaska and other federal fisheries, received some shocking news. Pacific cod stocks in the Gulf of Alaska may have declined as much as 70 percent over the past two years. That estimate is a preliminary figure, but it leaves plenty of questions about the future of cod fishing in Gulf of Alaska. The first question that comes to mind when you hear the number of Pacific cod in the Gulf dropped by about two-thirds is what happened? click here to read the story 21:14

Supreme Court says no to hearing UCIDA case

The lawsuit over whether the federal government or the state should manage Cook Inlet’s salmon fisheries won’t get its day in the U.S. Supreme Court after all. Supreme Court justices on Monday denied the state of Alaska’s petition to hear a case in which the Kenai Peninsula-based fishing trade group the United Cook Inlet Drift Association challenged the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s decision to confer management of the salmon fishery to the state. click here to read the story 08:31

North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Juneau, AK June 5 – 13, 2017

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet the week of June 5, 2017 at the Centennial Hall Convention Center, 101 Egan Drive in Juneau, Alaska.  The AGENDA and SCHEDULE are available. The Council meeting will be broadcast at https://npfmc.adobeconnect.com/june2017 12:46

The Washington fishing-industry battle over a federal council seat escalates

The Washington fishing-industry battle over a seat on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has escalated as four industry groups sent a Thursday letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in support of Gov. Jay Inslee and his slate of three nominees. Leaders of the Freezer Longliner Coaltion, Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union and Fishing Vessel Owners Assocation all signed the letter. They sought to rebut an April 3 letter that President Donald Trump’s commerce secretary received from four other Washington industry groups that asked Ross to reject Inslee’s nominees because of what they said was a flawed nomination process. “We wish to register our strong disagreement with the April 3 letter,” they wrote. click here to read the story 20:11

North Pacific council takes first step in creating salmon fishery management plan

A lot of new faces are coming to the table at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and not a lot of them are happy about it. Fishermen who had never previously been involved with the council now have to show up to have a hand in how their fisheries will be incorporated into a federal fishery management plan. The council, which regulates federal fisheries off the coast of Alaska, on Thursday started in on the topic of the salmon plan for Cook Inlet, part of the Alaska Peninsula and part of Prince William Sound near Cordova. After removing the three areas from the plan by amendment in 2011, effectively exempting them from federal oversight and delegating entirely to the state despite occurring partially in federal waters, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court ruled that the move was illegal. Now, the council is having to initiate the process of revising the salmon FMP to include the net areas, which is likely to take years. click to continue reading the article here 12:12

Fishing-industry groups blast Inslee over his picks for federal council

Gov. Jay Inslee’s handling of nominations for a federal fishery-council seat has come under attack from the leaders of major North Pacific fishing-industry groups, which have taken the unusual step of sending a complaint letter to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.,, In their letter sent Tuesday, they asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to reject Inslee’s nominations and called for the governor to come up with some new names for a seat on the council. The industry backlash reflects the high stakes in fish politics, where the federal fishery council helps sets the rules for a billion-dollar groundfish harvest, much of which is caught and processed by Seattle-based companies. The letter is signed by the leaders of the Pacific Seafood Processors Association, At-Sea Processors Association, Groundfish Forum, and United Catcher Boats, whose membership collectively catches or processes most the groundfish. Read the article, click here 10:05

NPFMC Shares Future of Electronic Monitoring Program with Fishermen

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is trying to figure out the best way to use video and camera technology for catch monitoring, and it’s on the brink of transitioning into a regulated program. Members of the council spoke at ComFish last week and elaborated on its efforts. Bill Tweit, council vice chair, explained they’ve been working on the partial coverage fleet – the vessels that get observer coverage only some of the time. “Again I think a lot of you are aware that when we restructured the observer program, we extended the size range of boats that are likely to be covered for catch monitoring purposes by an observer, and that’s definitely created some issues around how you fit a human observer onto a fairly small fishing boat, and we knew at the time that it was probably going to be a little problematic, so we’ve trying hard to provide electronic monitoring as an alternative to that.” continue reading the story here 16:59

North Pacific Fishery Management Council forced back into Cook Inlet salmon fray

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will open up a process next week that will likely take years to redesign the Cook Inlet salmon fishery management plan. A federal appeals court decided last fall that the council, which oversees all federal fisheries management in the North Pacific between 3 and 200 nautical miles offshore — known as the United States Exclusive Economic Zone — has to craft a management plan for the salmon fishery. The council decided in 2011 to hand over several of Alaska’s salmon fisheries to state managers by removing them from the existing fishery management plan, and though an Alaska U.S. District judge ruled that it was legal in 2014, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the decision this past September. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is tentatively scheduled to hear the first discussion paper prepared by the National Marine Fisheries Service on what the plan could look like and how they should proceed during the council’s meeting April 6 in Anchorage. How did we get here? continue reading the story here 12:01

North Pacific Fishery Management Council gets review of Bering Sea pollock program

After two years of almost ceaseless contention, the North Pacific regulatory waters have cooled down for now. The Council oversees all federal fisheries between three and 200 miles off the Alaska coast. One of eight regions, the North Pacific fishery is by far the country’s most profitable, having produced two-thirds of the country’s total seafood value in 2015. Over the last two years, the council has been in battle mode over chinook salmon and halibut bycatch, and Gulf of Alaska groundfish catch shares. There have been parades of protest and industry stand-downs and rural Alaska villages emptied to give impassioned pleas alongside Seattle fishing crews and captains. At the council’s Seattle meeting Feb. 1-6, the council rested for the most part, taking scant public comment and few final actions. Rather, it focused on some of the structures behind the chaos, reviewing catch share programs and looking for areas to tune up following two years of pushing the gas. After indefinitely tabling a Gulf of Alaska catch share system four years in the works at its meeting this past December, the council reviewed the schematics behind the Bering Sea pollock fishery, Alaska’s largest fishery by volume. Read the rest of the article here 20:36

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting in Seattle, WA January 30 thru February 6, 2017

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will begin their meeting week on Monday, January 30, and continue through Monday February 6, 2017 at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, 515 Madison Street, Seattle, WA. The AGENDA and SCHEDULE are now available.  Meeting FAST FACTS. The Council’s meeting will be broadcast live beginning February 1, 2017 via Adobe Connect  Listen Online.  Visit the NPFMC Website, Click here 20:35

Victorious United Cook Inlet Drift Association file to vacate salmon rule

A Cook Inlet salmon plan will take a lot more work from federal managers in the next few years. The United Cook Inlet Drift Association, an industry group of salmon drift netters, has requested the U.S. District Court of Alaska to vacate a piece of fisheries policy they successfully sued to overturn after an appeal court ruling this past September.In the meantime, the old plan replacing the vacated plan will require some work. “Given the dire situation faced by UCIDA as a result of the federal government’s utter abdication of its (Magnuson-Stevens Act) responsibilities in this important fishery, the Proposed Judgment sought by UCIDA is immediately necessary,” according to the motion filed by UCIDA on Jan. 7. “It would ensure that the checks and balances guaranteed by the Act — including the requirement to use the best available science, to manage the fishery in accordance with the 10 national standards, and to achieve optimum yield — are provided to UCIDA and the fishery in the short term while NMFS works with the council to produce a new FMP.” A three judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with commercial fishing groups against a 2011 decision by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to remove several Alaska salmon fisheries from the FMP. Read the article here 08:03

Opinion: State, council fail to help Kodiak trawl fisheries

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has a record for successful fishery management, built on principles known as the Alaska Model. Recently, the council abandoned the Alaska Model and its solid reputation for progressive fishery management. In doing so, the council failed the Gulf of Alaska trawl groundfish fisheries and our community of Kodiak. Led by the state of Alaska, the council voted at its December meeting in Anchorage to “postpone indefinitely” any further work to address the goal of bycatch reduction through a cooperative management program for Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries. Instead, the Council ended a four-year public process to develop a program to achieve this goal. By their action, the state and the council put politics first, and the health of our fisheries and coastal communities came in dead last. Read the op-ed here 17:46

Wow! Council cracks up over catch shares

Everyone in the Gulf of Alaska agrees on one thing: it was the other side’s fault. Depending on who you ask, catch shares are evil incarnate or an angel of good management. Depending on who you ask, they’ll either save Kodiak or kill it. Depending on who you ask, it’s either the State of Alaska’s fault or its credit for not allowing catch shares in the Gulf of Alaska’s groundfish fishery. And depending on who you ask, they’ll either come up again or get sliced up into a handful of other little nibbles at the Gulf of Alaska bycatch problems. Either sighs of relief or defeat leaked from every mouth in the room on this past Dec. 12 when the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which oversees all federal fisheries from three to 200 miles off the Alaska coast, indefinitely tabled a complex range of options for the Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries. Read the story here! 21:17

No Catch Shares! Gulf rationalization dies a quiet death

Gulf of Alaska groundfish will remain an open access fishery indefinitely after the North Pacific Fishery Management Council tabled a policy package that has enraged fishermen of all stripes over the last year. Depending on who is asked, the council acted at either its best or its worst with the decision. “The council process didn’t work. They didn’t solve the problem,” said Julie Bonney, executive director of the Groundfish Forum, an industry group of trawlers and processors. “They just took the political part first and ignored the management. I have to keep reminding myself, this isn’t about management. It’s about politics.” Others said the council did exactly what it should have done in the face of so many contentious decisions on which so many people expressed opinions. “I think this is actually the best illustration of council process, rather than the worst,” said Duncan Fields, a Kodiak attorney and former council member who was among the most vocal on this subject. “It shows that one gear group with a particular ideology and particular economic interest with very good advocates can’t just jam something through the council,” he said. “The council allows other participants, small boat fishermen, community, stakeholders to also have a voice, and that voice has said a catch share program is not the best public policy. You don’t always get the result you want.” Read the rest here 20:39