Wednesday, October 31, 2018

National Coalition for Fishing Communities: An Open Letter to America's Chefs



October 31, 2018 -- WASHINGTON -- The following was released by Saving Seafood's National Coalition for Fishing Communities:

Members of the National Coalition for Fishing Communities have long believed that the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) is one of the great success stories in fisheries management. Originally co-sponsored in the House over 40 years ago by Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska) and Gerry Studds (D-Massachusetts), the MSA has become a worldwide model, and is one of the reasons the U.S. has some of the best-managed and most sustainable fish stocks in the world. The bill is named for its Senate champions, Warren Magnuson (D-Washington) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

But we are concerned by a new "nationwide #ChefsForFish campaign targeted at the new 2019 Congress, to launch after the elections in early November," being organized by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which the Aquarium calls the "next phase" of its "defense" of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The Monterey Bay Aquarium described this campaign in an October 25 email sent to its "Blue Ribbon Task Force chefs." The email asked this network of chefs to support the "Portland Pact for Sustainable Seafood" (attached).

On the surface, the Portland Pact matter-of-factly states sound principles:
"Requiring management decisions be science-based;
Avoiding overfishing with catch limits and tools that hold everyone accountable for the fish that they remove from the ocean; and
Ensuring the timely recovery of depleted fish stocks."

However, in the last Congress, the Monterey Bay Aquarium used similar language to falsely characterize legitimate attempts to pass needed improvements to the MSA as betraying these principles. In fact, these changes would have made the landmark law even better.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has repeatedly called on Congress to reject efforts, such as H.R. 200, which passed the U.S. House in July, and was sponsored by the now Dean of the House Don Young, that would amend the Act to introduce needed updates for U.S. fisheries management. If the chefs being asked to sign onto the Portland Pact were to talk to our fishermen, they would know how important these reforms are for the health of our nation's fishing communities.

Any suggestion that the original co-sponsor of the bill would, 40 years later, act to undermine America's fisheries, is inappropriate. In fact, most of the "fishing groups" that opposed Congressman Young's bill, are financially supported by environmental activists and their funders.

No legislation, no matter how well designed is perfect or timeless. In fact, Congress has twice made significant revisions to the MSA, first in 1996 with the passage of the Sustainable Fisheries Act and in 2007 with the MSA Reauthorization Act. Like many other valued and successful laws, the Magnuson-Stevens Act is both working well, and in need of updates.

We agree that "management decisions be science-based." One of the most significant issues with the current MSA is that it requires that fish stocks be rebuilt according to rigid, arbitrary timeframes that have no scientific or biological basis. Bills like H.R. 200, officially the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, would instead require that stocks be rebuilt according to an appropriate biological timeframe determined by the regional councils that manage the stocks.

H.R. 200 would also introduce other important measures that would better allow the councils to adapt their management plans to fit changing ecological conditions and the needs of fishing communities, which will become increasingly important as our coastal areas experience the effects of climate change.

American fishermen, like many American chefs, are committed to sustainable fishing and healthy oceans. Our businesses need sustainable, abundant fish stocks for us to make a living, and we all want a thriving resource that we can pass down to the next generation. We would never endorse a law that would threaten the long-term survival of our environment or our industry. That is why we endorse changes to the MSA that would ensure both.

We ask that any chef who is considering signing onto the Monterey Bay Aquarium letter to Congress first consult the local fishermen who supply them with fresh, quality products to learn how this law affects their communities.

NCFC members are available to connect chefs with seafood industry leaders, who would be happy to discuss how the MSA can be updated to help both fish and fishermen.

Sincerely,

Alliance of Communities for Sustainable Fisheries
Kathy Fosmark, Co-Chair
CA

Atlantic Red Crab Company
Jon Williams, President
MA

California Wetfish Producers Association
Diane Pleschner-Steele
CA

Delmarva Fisheries Association
Capt. Rob Newberry, Chairman
MD, VA

Fishermen's Dock Co-Op
Jim Lovgren, Board Member
NJ

Garden State Seafood Association
Greg DiDomenico, Executive Director
NJ

Hawaii Longline Association
Sean Martin, Executive Director
HI

Long Island Commercial Fishermen's Association
Bonnie Brady, Executive Director
NY

Lunds Fisheries, Inc.
Wayne Reichle, President
CA, NJ

Rhode Island Fishermen's Alliance
Rich Fuka, Executive Director
RI

Seafreeze, Ltd.
Meghan Lapp, Fisheries Liaison
RI

Southeastern Fisheries Association
Bob Jones, Executive Director
FL

Viking Village
Jim Gutowski, Owner
NJ

West Coast Seafood Processors Association
Lori Steele, Executive Director
CA, WA, OR

Western Fishboat Owners Association
Wayne Heikkila, Executive Director
AK, CA, OR, WA

Sunday, September 30, 2018

ACA supports KRSA in calling a time-out on expanding pink salmon hatchery production

The Kenai River Sportfishing Association has requested a review of potential overproduction at pink salmon hatcheries in Alaska. Many of us are concerned that hundreds of millions of pink fry are outcompeting other species, especially king salmon, in ocean waters.

Biologists confirm a correlation between high pink years and low king years. While this doesn't prove the cause, it is time to pause the increase in pink salmon hatchery production until we better understand the relationship.

The ACA has submitted a comment letter for the AK Board of Fish meeting in Anchorage October 16, and you can sign a similar letter of comment by October 3rd by using KRSA's handy email form.

Here's the letter ACA submitted:





Wednesday, September 26, 2018

NOAA: New Program Gives Alaska Halibut Charter Operators More Flexibility


New Program Gives Alaska Halibut Charter Operators More Flexibility

From NOAA Fisheries: 

Some charter fishing operators in Alaska will soon have more flexibility to offer their customers additional halibut fishing opportunities through a unique new program.

NOAA Fisheries is implementing a final rule that authorizes the formation of a non-profit recreational quota entity (RQE), which may purchase and hold commercial halibut quota shares for use by charter anglers in International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) regulatory Areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Southcentral Alaska).

Under this regulatory amendment, the RQE may obtain a limited amount of commercial halibut quota shares under a willing buyer-willing seller model. The harvest pounds associated with the quota shares will become recreational fishing quota (RFQ) that is used to augment the amount of halibut available for harvest in the charter halibut fishery under the Alaska halibut catch sharing plan.

In recent years, restrictions on charter anglers have become more stringent as halibut abundance has dropped and catch limits have been reduced. Typical restrictions include daily and annual limits on the number of fish retained, fish size limits, and closures on specific days of the week.

If the RQE obtains enough quota share, restrictions on halibut size and bag limits could be relaxed for charter anglers in years of low abundance, up to a point where charter anglers could potentially retain up to the daily limit for unguided anglers—currently two fish of any size per day.

This rule implements restrictions on the purchase of quota shares by the RQE. The restrictions vary by regulatory area. In Area 2C, the RQE may purchase no more than 1% of the commercial quota shares in any year, and no more than 10% of the total commercial quota shares for that area. In Area 3A, the RQE’s annual limit of commercial quota share purchases would be 1.2%, with an upper limit of 12% of the total quota shares in the area.

The RQE may hold quota shares indefinitely, but is also allowed to transfer the shares back to the commercial halibut sector—a provision that adds flexibility and contributes to the market-based approach of the program.

This rule, which was recommended by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, is implemented to promote social and economic flexibility in the charter halibut fishery, and is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, and other applicable laws.

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on September 26, 2018




Council to review state of rules for unguided halibut anglers



From the Alaska Journal of Commerce:

"The North Pacific Fishery Management Council may consider more registration requirements for motorized rental boats for halibut fishing, though a staff report concluded it will put more burden on either the federal or state government to do so.

At its upcoming meeting from Oct. 1-9 in Anchorage, the council is set to review a discussion paper on further registration requirements for boats available for rental to unguided halibut anglers in Southcentral and Southeast Alaska, known by the International Pacific Halibut Commission as regulation areas 3A and 2C, respectively.

In recent years, some have raised concerns that as guided fishermen are restricted to one halibut per day, some turn to self-guided rentals for fishing, where fishermen are allowed to keep two halibut of any size per day." ... read the rest of the Elizabeth Earl's article here

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Juneau charter fisherman appointed to ‘Supreme Court’ of halibut


Juneau charter fisherman appointed to ‘Supreme Court’ of halibut


Richard Yamata takes seat historically filled by commercial interests
By Kevin GullufsenTuesday, September 4, 2018 9:46pm


"A Juneau lodge owner and charter fisherman has been named to the International Pacific Halibut Commission, becoming the first charter fisherman to be seated on a body normally dominated by commercial fishing interests." read more here

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

State, Commerce Departments Appoint Recreational Fisherman to International Pacific Halibut Commission



The Commerce and State Departments have appointed Richard Yamada to the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

The Commission makes rules and sets catch limits for halibut harvest and the gear types allowed for the US and Canada.

The two nations signed a treaty in 1923. It created the IPHC to provide sustainable fishery management for halibut.

There are six Commissioners. Each country appoints two fishery industry reps and one agency rep. They meet every January to set rules for fishing seasons and harvest limits for the two countries.

Yamada has 40 years experience as a guide, lodge owner and sportfishing advocate.

He serves as President of the Alaska Charter Association. He serves on the board of the National Association of Charterboat Owners (NACO), and on the Secretary of Commerce’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC).

Yamada will be the first recreational fishing stakeholder to sit on the Commission in its 95 year history.

Contact for more info about the Alaska Charter Association, visit:

For more info about the IPHC: https://www.iphc.int/the-commission

Richard Yamada

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Partisanship shouldn’t undermine our fisheries

Rep. Don Young:

FAIRBANKS — Partisan rancor may be standard operating procedure for most of Washington, but let’s not allow it to unravel the progress we’ve made for our country’s vital fisheries. As my colleagues and my state know, I’ve been on the frontlines for the fight for our fisheries for over 40 years — and I have no intentions of letting up. After creating an initial framework, former Rep. Studds and I collaborated with former Senators Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Warren Magnuson (D-WA) to enact the original Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) in 1976.


Read more...