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FishNews March 12, 2004

WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

National

NOAA Fisheries Updates Fisheries Research Plan

National

Scientists Discuss Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management at Annual Stock Assessment Workshop

National

Dale Jones Promoted to Senior Executive Service Level as Director of NOAA Enforcement

Northeast

Right Whales Spotted off New Hampshire – Dynamic Area Management Rule In Effect for Fishermen March 14-28, 2004

Northeast

Proposed Rule for Amendment 10 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan

Northeast

Regional Bycatch Workshop Set for June: Organizers Call for Posters (Deadline April 16)

Northeast

Fisherman Penalized for Multiple Fishing Violations

Gulf

NOAA Fisheries Announces Small Coastal Shark Fishery in the Gulf of Mexico Closes on March 18, 2004

Pacific

NOAA Fisheries Implements New Regulations for Longline Fishing off West Coast

Northwest

Final 2004 Regulations for Pacific Groundfish

Alaska

NOAA Fisheries Hosts Crab Buyback Meetings in Seattle and Kodiak

Alaska

NOAA Fisheries to Release Crab Rationalization Document

Alaska

Final 2004 Regulations for Alaska Groundfish

EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

Vacancy Announcement for the position of Deputy Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Northeast Science Center

Human Noise Impacts on Marine Animals – Complete Listing of National Lecture Series and 1st International Symposium on “Shipping Noise & Marine Mammals”

International Boston Seafood Show, March 14-16, 2004, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

19th Meeting of the NOAA Science Advisory Board, March 16-17, 2004, Arlington, Virginia

Mid-Atlantic FMC will meet in Wrightsville Beach, NC, March 16-18, 2004

Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee Meets April 6-8, 2004 in Key Largo, Florida.

 

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WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS

National – NOAA Fisheries Updates Fisheries Research Plan

As required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NOAA Fisheries has released its updated Strategic Plan for Fisheries Research, which outlines the agency's research direction and priorities every three years.

" From enhancing our scientific capabilities to improving the effectiveness of research partnerships, this plan represents the roadmap of the agency's fisheries research efforts for the next five years," said Bill Hogarth, director of NOAA Fisheries. "This agency is a world leader in fisheries science and our updated plan will help to continue that tradition of excellence."

The plan presents several goals and objectives including:

  • The deployment of advanced and innovative sampling technologies
  • Production of next generation stock assessments of greater sophistication and accuracy to reduce uncertainty and incorporate ecosystem considerations
  • Exploration of new technologies and practices for bycatch reduction
  • Further development of cooperative research efforts
  • Enhancement of economics and social science data collection to more fully address the social, cultural, and economic diversity of the nation’s fisheries
  • Establishing an inventory of living marine resource habitats and implementing measures to monitor the trends in habitat availability

NOAA Fisheries' scientific program consists of fisheries research and the publication of peer-reviewed studies and analyses. Agency scientists provide this information to industry, environmental groups, resource managers and others who are dependent on fisheries science to accomplish their missions. Ensuring that this information is of the highest quality and responsive to stakeholders' needs is a major aim of this plan.

Substantial progress has been made under the last Strategic Plan for Fisheries Research in 2001, including:


Expanded Stock Assessments.

  • Establishment of protocols for bottom trawl, acoustic and other survey methods to assure the quality of data used for stock assessments.
  • A Population Dynamics Fellowship program was created to increase the pool of trained stock assessment scientists. The first of these graduates are beginning to enter service with NOAA Fisheries.
  • Collaboration with universities to improve assessment models.
  • Created a National Stock Assessment Toolbox to standardize and test common stock assessment models and to make them accessible to a wider range of technical users.
  • Inclusion of ecosystem and environmental information in stock assessment.
  • Improved peer-review process with NOAA Fisheries funding for a Center of Independent Experts.
  • Development of a national database to support fisheries management and provide more timely and comprehensive reporting to Congress and constituents


To obtain a copy of the 2004 plan, contact Mark Chandler, Office of Science and Technology, NOAA Fisheries, 1315 East-West Highway; Silver Spring, MD 20910-3225; by fax: (301) 713-1875; or by e-mail: mark.chandler@noaa.gov. The plan is also available online at http://www.st.nmfs.gov/st2/index.html.

National – Scientists Discuss Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management at Annual Stock Assessment Workshop

NOAA Fisheries held the 8th National Stock Assessment Workshop "Quantifying Scientific Advice for Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management" in Newport, Rhode Island on March 2-4, 2004. Eighty scientists from all NOAA Fisheries' Science Centers and the Office of Science & Technology met to discuss methods for assessing the status of fish stocks and for using these results to provide scientific guidance for fishery management. These internal workshops have been held every 1-3 years since 1991 to increase the standardization of NOAA's fishery assessment methods nationally and to advance the state-of-the-science.

The sessions of the meeting covered the four major aspects of stock assessment investigations: (1) statistical analysis of survey and fishery data; (2) advancements in the models used to synthesize the data into stock status information; (3) improvements in converting model results into management evaluations; and (4) expansion of models to include ecosystem and environmental information. The 33 talks covered a wide range including standardization of survey vessels, technical descriptions of new models, an overview of the stock assessment coordination provided by the Science & Technology office, and 3-D visualization of fish movements to improve design of surveys. A half-day session provided an opportunity for small group discussions and demonstrations.

A Technical Memorandum containing talk abstracts and discussion summaries will be prepared. For more information contact Dr. Richard Methot, Office of Science & Technology at (206) 860-3365; email Richard.Methot@noaa.gov

National – Dale Jones Promoted to Senior Executive Service Level as Director of NOAA Enforcement

NOAA Fisheries has announced the promotion of Dale Jones to Director of NOAA’s Office for Law Enforcement, an upgrade to the Senior Executive Service level.

Dale Jones had been serving as the Chief of Enforcement at the OLE for the last five years. While working with NOAA Fisheries OLE, he has been instrumental to the success of a variety of OLE programs, such as the re-engineering and expansion of the Vessel Monitoring System Program. His work with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies brought OLE through both their first accreditation in 2000 and subsequent re-accreditation in 2003. He also was instrumental in engineering Joint Enforcement Agreements with coastal states, which has led to new initiatives and the dedication of more resources for enforcement efforts.

Jones’ professionalism and dedication to law enforcement were evident in 2001, as the OLE committed various resources and agents to assist in the recovery and investigative efforts at the World Trade Center, Boston and border protection. Prior to coming to the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he was the Chief of Police for Hagerstown, Maryland.

Northeast – Right Whales Spotted off New Hampshire – Dynamic Area Management Rule In Effect for Fishermen March 14-28, 2004

On March 4, 2004, NOAA Fisheries Aerial Survey Team reported a sighting of 3 right whales in the proximity of 42° 45.5’ N lat. and 68° 55.5’ W long. This DAM area is approximately 1, 518 nm² and lies east of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in an area known as Cashes Ledge. This temporary rule requires modifications to all lobster traps/pots and anchored gillnet gear in this zone for 15 days to reduce the risk of entanglement of right whales. This temporary rule is in effect from March 14-28. This DAM does not overlap with the Static Area Management West or the previous DAM rule.

Northeast - Proposed Rule for Amendment 10 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan

NOAA Fisheries has proposed regulations to implement Amendment 10 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Amendment 10 describes a long-term, comprehensive program that would maximize scallop yield through an area rotation management program. Defined areas would be closed and re-opened to fishing on a rotational basis, depending on the condition and size of the scallop resource in the areas. Amendment 10 also evaluates and proposes measures to minimize the adverse effects of fishing on Essential Fish Habitat (EFH), to allocate days-at-sea, and to minimize bycatch.

Copies of Amendment 10 and its supporting documents are available online at http://www.nefmc.org. For more information, contact Peter Christopher by phone at 978-281-9288, or by e-mail: peter.christopher@noaa.gov.

Comments must be received by 5 p.m., local time, on March 29, 2004. Written comments should be sent to Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Northeast Regional Office, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, "Comments on Amendment 10 to the Scallop FMP.'' Comments also may be sent via fax to (978) 281-9135. Comments submitted via e-mail or internet should be sent to ScallopAN16@noaa.gov.

Northeast – Regional Bycatch Workshop Set for June: Organizers Call for Posters (Deadline April 16)

Federal fishery managers and researchers are sponsoring a public workshop on reducing unwanted catch in the region’s commercial fisheries. Examples of unwanted catch include undersized fish, species with little or no market, marine mammals, and sea birds.

The workshop, Bycatch in Northeast Fisheries: Moving Forward, is set for Wakefield, Massachusetts at the Sheraton Colonial Conference Center, June 29-July 1, 2004. Organizers hope to attract a broad-based group of attendees interested in both research and public policy aspects of reducing so-called "bycatch" and the resulting waste of marine life.

The workshop is intended to be a forum. It will include invited speakers and panels, as well as a poster session. Breakout sessions will be organized to discuss regional bycatch issues and develop recommendations for science/research, data/monitoring, management, and gear engineering ideas that may lead to bycatch reduction. The resulting information will be considered as federal managers work this year on an updated version of the Northeast Region Bycatch Implementation Plan.

Presentations for the poster session are being solicited now. Posters must be related to bycatch issues in the Northeast region but may touch on a variety of aspects -- legal, scientific, management, data, enforcement, and monitoring. The deadline for submission of poster abstracts is April 16, 2004. Send abstracts to Marla Trollan, NERO Outreach Coordinator, at marla.trollan@noaa.gov or contact via telephone 978-281-9388. Meeting information will be posted on NOAA Fisheries Northeast Regional Office web page http://www.nero.noaa.gov/ro/doc/nero.html

Northeast – Fisherman Penalized for Multiple Fishing Violations

Ronald Ringen, the owner and operator of the FV Survivor, has been issued a $96,750 Notice of Violation and Assessment (NOVA) for multiple violations of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act.

The violations include filing false vessel reports, selling to non-permitted dealers, fishing with improperly marked gear and dumping of fish parts or other matter in the presence of a special agent from NOAA’s Office for Law Enforcement. NOAA’s Office of General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation issued the NOVA and a permit sanction on February 26. The permit sanction restricts the operator from fishing for federally regulated species for 120 days.

Records confirmed that from December 12, 2001, through April 8, 2002, Ringen filed false vessel trip reports. When approached on May 6, 2002, by an OLE special agent, he disposed of the contents of a bucket, preventing the agent from inspecting the catch. The Freeport, N.Y., fishing vessel also sold American lobsters to two non-permitted dealers and black sea bass to a fish company that did not have a valid permit to purchase the sea bass.

Gulf - NOAA Fisheries Announces Small Coastal Shark Fishery in the Gulf of Mexico Closes on March 18, 2004

Due to an overharvest of the quota, the commercial small coastal shark (SCS) fishery in the Gulf of Mexico closes at 11:30 pm local time, March 18, 2004. The commercial small coastal shark fisheries in the South Atlantic and North Atlantic regions, the commercial pelagic shark fisheries in all regions, and the commercial large coastal shark fishery in the North Atlantic region are not closed at this time. The commercial large coastal fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic regions closed in February. The recreational shark fishery is not affected. For further information, contact Karyl Brewster-Geisz at 301-713-2347 or visit the Highly Migratory Species web page at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/.

Pacific – NOAA Fisheries Implements New Regulations for Longline Fishing off West Coast

NOAA Fisheries published a final rule this week prohibiting shallow longline fishing for swordfish by U.S. fishing vessels operating out of the West Coast in order to protect endangered and threatened sea turtles. The regulation will become effective April 12, 2004.

This regulation applies to U.S. longline fishing vessels based in California, Oregon, or Washington that operate on the high seas east of 150 degrees west longitude, or generally the area between the West Coast and Hawaii. U.S. longline vessels based in Hawaii and the Western Pacific are currently prohibited from longline fishing for swordfish.

Longline fishing for swordfish consists of laying sets of fishing line that can stretch 20 or more miles with squid-baited hooks. The lines are set at depths of less than 100 meters to target swordfish but may also inadvertently catch or entangle loggerhead or leatherback sea turtles that are protected under the Endangered Species Act. NOAA Fisheries estimates that the West Coast-based longline fishery would result in the annual capture of up to 195 loggerheads and 57 leatherbacks. For more information, go to http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/news/shallowsets_prohibition.pdf.

Northwest – Final 2004 Regulations for Pacific Groundfish

NOAA Fisheries has published a final rule that establishes the levels of the acceptable biological catch and optimum yields for groundfish caught in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. Management measures for 2004 are intended to: achieve but not exceed optimum yields; prevent overfishing; rebuild overfished species; reduce and minimize the bycatch and discard of overfished and depleted stocks; and provide equitable harvest opportunity for both recreational and commercial sectors.

The final rule is accessible via the Internet at the Office of the Federal Register's Web site at http://www.access.gov/fr/index.html. Background information and documents are available at the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Region Web site at http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/1sustfsh/gdfsh01.htm and at the Council's Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org/. For more information, contact Yvonne deReynier or Becky Renko by phone: 206-526-6150 or e-mail: yvonne.dereynier@noaa.gov, becky.renko@noaa.gov.

Alaska – NOAA Fisheries Hosts Crab Buyback Meetings in Seattle and Kodiak

NOAA Fisheries will be holding public information meetings in Seattle, Washington, and Kodiak, Alaska, to discuss the Bering Sea and Aleutian Island crab buyback program.

NOAA Fisheries will pay volunteers to retire their fishing permits, histories and vessels. The buyback’s objective is to pay those who choose to stop crab fishing, and increase crab allocations for those who want to remain.

NOAA Fisheries opened the bidding in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Island crab buyback March 5. Crab fishing permit holders will have until April 23 to bid for buyback payments.

The first information session will be held 9:00 a.m. March 16 in Seattle at Leif Erikson Hall, 2245 NW 57th Street. A second session will be held 2:00 p.m. March 18 in Kodiak at Kodiak High School, as part of ComFish. For more information, contact Mike Sturtevant, (301) 713-2390 x212 or visit our Division of Financial Services http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/mb/financial_services/buyback.htm

Alaska – NOAA Fisheries to Release Crab Rationalization Document

NOAA Fisheries will release the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries on Friday, March 19, 2004. The document, which reveals environmental impacts for the proposed crab rationalization plan in Bering Sea and Aleutian Island crab fisheries, will have a 45-day public comment period ending May 3, 2004.

The DEIS will help managers decide the best future management system for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner crab fisheries. The DEIS also serves as the current primary environmental review document supporting the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council plans to institute a program that will remove excess capacity in the fishery and diminish the race for crab, stabilizing the industry and increasing safety. The proposed action is to rationalize the crab fisheries by allocating the crab resources to participants.

Briefly, the DEIS evaluates the environmental and economic consequences of four alternatives: (1) status quo; (2) three-pie voluntary cooperative; (3) an Individual Fishing Quota program; and (4) a cooperative program. The alternative programs under consideration are a complex set of elements that are designed to balance the interests of several identifiable groups that depend on these fisheries. These groups include harvesters, processors, communities and captains.

In June 2002, the council recommended the three-pie voluntary cooperative program as the preferred alternative for rationalizing the crab fisheries. In January 2004, Congress amended the Magnuson-Stevens Act to establish this three-pie voluntary cooperative program for crab fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

Printed or CD copies of the DEIS may be ordered from the NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region Web site at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/crab/eis/default.htm Additionally, the DEIS will be posted on this Web site on March 19, 2004.

Alaska – Final 2004 Regulations for Alaska Groundfish

NOAA Fisheries has also published final regulations for the groundfish fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI), and the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). Species addressed in these regulations include pollock, Pacific cod, sablefish, Atka mackerel, soles, rockfishes, ocean perch and squid. These regulations will be effective through December 31, 2004. For more information regarding the GOA regulations, contact Tom Pearson at 907-481-1780 or tom.pearson@noaa.gov. For more information regarding the BSAI regulations, contact Mary Furuness at 907-586-7228 or mary.furuness@noaa.gov. Copies of the final rules and supporting documents are posted online at: http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/frules/default.htm


EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Vacancy Announcement for the position of Deputy Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Northeast Science Center

A vacancy announcement for the position of Deputy Director of NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Science Center, located in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, has been posted. For those interested in applying you can view the vacancy announcement on-line at http://www.jobs.doc.gov The following information will assist you with locating this position:


Announcement Number: EFC-4022601.KLD
Title: Fishery Administrator, Supervisory PP/Series/Grade: ZP/0480/05
Organization: National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Human Noise Impacts on Marine Animals – Complete Listing of National Lecture Series and 1st International Symposium on “Shipping Noise & Marine Mammals”

The NOAA Fisheries Acoustics Program has posted a complete list of dates, locations and speakers planned for a national lecture series around the United States to increase public knowledge about human-generated noise and marine animals.

In addition, May 18-19, 2004, in Arlington, VA, the Acoustics Program will host the 1st International Symposium on "Shipping Noise and Marine Mammals".

International Boston Seafood Show, March 14-16, 2004, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Two NOAA Offices will be available to meet with participants of the International Boston Seafood Show from March 14 to 16 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. NOAA Fisheries Industry and Trade branch of Constituent Services and the Seafood Inspection Program will be available to provide information and answer questions regarding these program activities. IBSS is the largest seafood trade show in North America.

19th Meeting of the NOAA Science Advisory Board, March 16-17, 2004, Arlington, Virginia

NOAA’s Science Advisory Board will meet at 1:15-4:30p.m. Tuesday,
March 16; and 8:30a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 17, at the Key Bridge Marriott, 1401 Lee Highway, Arlington, Virginia, Room: Potomac C. The full agenda can be viewed at www.sab.noaa.gov

Mid-Atlantic FMC will meet in Wrightsville Beach, NC, March 16-18, 2004.

For the first time, the MAFMC will meet in one of the southern-most reaches of its southern-most member state. The Council will meet at the Shell Island Hotel, 2700 North Lumina Avenue, Wrightsville Beach, NC on March 16-18, 2004.


Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee Meets April 6-8, 2004 in Key Largo, Florida.

For more information visit the MPA website or contact Lauren Wenzel, National MPA Center, (301) 713-3100 x136 or e-mail at Lauren.Wenzel@noaa.gov.


FEDERAL REGISTER ACTIONS

For a list of only actions open for public comment, try going to http://www.regulations.gov/ and scroll search for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For a listing of all daily actions in the Federal Register.


NOAA FISHERIES ACTIONS

March 8, 2004

Notice - Marine Mammals; Permit; File No. 881-1745
Notice - Marine Mammals; Permits; File Nos. 655-1652 and 775-1600
Notice - Pacific FMC; Meeting (Ad Hoc Groundfish Policy Committee)
Notice - Pacific FMC; Meeting (Ad Hoc Allocation Committee)
Notice - North Pacific FMC; Meetings
Notice - Caribbean FMC; Meeting


March 9, 2004

Notice - Strategic Plan for Fisheries Research (2004), Published
Notice - Marine Mammals; Permit File No. 1049-1718
Proposed Rule - 2005 Mid-Atlantic Research Set-Aside Program
Rule - Small Coastal Shark Fishery Closure
Rule - Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder; 2004 Specifications


March 10, 2004

Proposed Rule - Western Pacific FMC; Public Meetings, rulemaking


March 11, 2004

Rule - Alaska; Pacific Cod by Vessels Catching Pacific Cod for Processing by the Offshore Component in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska


March 12, 2004

Rule - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the Gulf of Alaska
Rule - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Less Than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA Using Jig or Hook-and-Line Gear in the Bogoslof Pacific Cod Exemption Area in the BSAI Area
Rule - Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (DAM zone)



Federal Register Notices

For a list of only those actions open for public comment, try going to http://www.regulations.gov and scroll search for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For a listing of all actions in the Federal Register
NOAA Fisheries Identity Mark For more information, contact NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Constituent Services, (301) 713-9501, or via e-mail, Fishnews.Feedback@noaa.gov . The FishNews website is available by going to http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov and clicking on the FishNews icon.
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