HONOLULU (21 June 2013) Scientists who provide advice on the management of federal fisheries in Hawaii and other US Pacific Islands are recommending a 6 percent increase in the 2014 quota for deep- water bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands. The Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council determines the annual “acceptable biological catch” (ABC) of each federally managed stock, with a few exceptions, as required by Congress. The SSC concluded its three-day meeting in Honolulu on Thursday, recommending an ABC of 346,000 for seven popular deep-water bottomfish in main Hawaiian Islands. The SSC also recommended that the Council, which meets next week Wednesday to Friday in Honolulu, use the ABC as the quota for the period that begins Sept. 1, 2013, and ends on Aug. 31, 2014.
For the 2012-2013 season, the Council had adjusted the ABC downward for a quota of 325,000 pounds to account for management uncertainty. The SSC said this adjustment is no longer necessary due to the change from monthly reporting to trip reporting, which has reduced management uncertainty.
In the main Hawaiian Islands, management of deep-water bottomfish is a federal and state partnership. When the quota is reached by the commercial fishery operating in state and/or federal waters, the commercial and recreational fisheries in both state and federal waters are closed. This joint management began with the 2007-2008 season with a quota of 178,000 pounds. The seven deep-water species include onaga (red snapper), opakapaka (pink snapper), ehu (red snapper), gindai (flower snapper), kalekale (Von Siebold’s snapper), lehi (reddish snapperfish), and hapu`upu`u (Hawaiian grouper).
For other bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands, the SSC recommended a rollover of the 2012-2013 ABC of 140,000 lbs. It also recommended that in the future analysis, uku (grey snapper or Aprion virescens) be removed from the non-deep 7 bottomfish category and be assessed as a single species due to its dominance in the catch.
The SSC also recommended that a process be developed for future treatment of the State’s bottomfish restricted fishing areas (BRFAs) including eliminating some or all of them and creating a monitoring program. The SSC noted that, when it supported that State of Hawaii BRFAs in the late 1990s, there were no management measures or stock assessment for bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands. Since then, the fishery has been stringently managed through quotas based on stock assessments.
Among other recommendations made by the SSC for consideration by the Council at its June 26 to 28 meeting are the following:
• Including a “subsistence fishing” definition in the next reauthorization of the Magnuson- Stevens Fishery Management Act as “fishing undertaken by members of a fishing community in waters customarily fished by that community in which fish harvested are used for the purposes of direct consumption or distribution in the community through sharing in ways that contribute to food security and cultural sustainability of the fishing community. For this purpose, the term ‘sharing in the community’ shall be defined regionally by the Regional Fishery Management Councils. In the Western Pacific, the term ‘sharing in the community’ means ‘customary exchange,’ the non-market exchange of marine resources between fishermen and community residents, including family and friends of community residents, for goods, and/or services for cultural, social or religious reasons, and which may include cost recovery through monetary reimbursements and other means for actual trip expenses, including but not limited to ice, bait, food, or fuel, that may be necessary to participate in fisheries and is consistent with relevant state and territorial statutes.”
• Modifying the American Samoa longline fishery to no limit of swordfish per trip. Analysis of logbook and observer data indicates that swordfish catch rates in the American Samoa longline fishery are extremely low, with the majority of trips having no swordfish. However 25 to 30 swordfish can occasionally be caught in this fishery. Most of these swordfish are small (<15 kg) and so are unlikely to form the basis of a targeted export swordfish fishery, and the domestic market is limited. American Samoan longliners are limited to 10 swordfish per trip and have requested this limit be revised upwards. If more than 10 swordfish are caught, they are discarded.
• Advising that the catch of North Pacific striped marlin in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) be limited to not more than 500 metric tons (mt) for any member or cooperating non-member country or territory of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) with a history of catching less than 500 mt. The WCPO component of the North Pacific striped marlin stock is likely overfished based on the latest stock assessment by the International Scientific Committee of Tuna and Tuna-Like Species in the North Pacific Ocean. The Hawaii-based longline fishery has a striped marlin annual catch limit of 458 mt and catches about 350 mt or about 11 percent of the total catch of this species in the North Pacific WCPO. Other countries in the fishery besides the United States are Japan, Taiwan and Korea. The WCPFC and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) manage tuna, billfish and other pelagic fish in the WCPO and Eastern Pacific Ocean, respectively. The United States is a member of both international management organizations.
The recommendations of the SSC and other Council advisory bodies will be reviewed by the Council’s Standing Committees on June 25 at the Council office. The full Council will take action on the recommendations June 26-28 at the Laniakea YWCA-Fuller Hall, 1040 Richards St., Honolulu. Recommendations by the Council are transmitted the US Secretary of Commerce for final approval.
As part of the Council meeting, a free Fishers Forum on King Shark: From Manō to Jaws . The Science, Culture and Management of Sharks in Hawaii will be open to fishermen and the general public 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, at Harbor View Center at Pier 38, above Nico’s restaurant. Fishermen, ocean users and other members of the public are invited to enjoy informational booths and discussion about the the culture, science and management of sharks in Hawaii.
For more information or the agendas, visit www.wpcouncil.org or email email@example.com; phone (808) 522-8220, or fax (808) 522-8226.
Scientific and Statistical Committee: Dr. Charles Daxboeck, chair, (BioDax Consulting Tahiti); Dr. Judith Amesbury (Micronesian Archeological Research Services), Dr. Paul Callaghan (University of Guam retired), Dr. Frank A. Camacho (Guam Community College), Dr. Milani Chaloupka (University of Queensland), Dr. Richard Deriso (Inter- American Tropical Tuna Commission), Dr. John Hampton (Secretariat of the Pacific Community), Dr. Donald Kobayashi (NMFS PIFSC), Dr. Molly Lutcavage (University of New Hampshire), Dr. Minling Pang (NMFS PIFSC), Dr. Craig Severance (University of Hawaii retired), Dr. John Sibert (Pelagic Fisheries Research Program retired), Dr. Robert Skillman (NMFS PIFSC retired), Dr. Erik Franklin (Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology), Mr. David Itano (NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office), Mr. James Lynch (K & L Gates, Seattle), Dr. Domingo Ochavillo (American Samoa DMWR), Dr. Pierre Kleiber (NMFS PIFSC), Dr. Robert Skillman (NMFS PIFSC), Dr. Todd Miller (CNMI Division of Fish & Wildlife), and Mr. Alton Miyasaka (Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources)
Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council: Appointees by the Secretary of Commerce from nominees selected by American Samoa, CNMI, Guam and Hawaii governors: Michael Duenas, Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association (Guam) (Vice Chair) ; McGrew Rice, commercial and charter fisherman (Hawaii); William Sword, recreational fisherman (American Samoa) (Vice Chair); Richard Seman, education and outreach specialist (CNMI); Julie Leialoha, environmentalist (Hawaii); Edwin Ebisui (Hawaii) (Vice Chair); and Michael Goto, United Fishing Agency Ltd. (Hawaii). Designated state officials: Arnold Palacios, CNMI Department of Land & Natural Resources; Mariquita Taitague, Guam Department of Agriculture; William Aila, Hawaii Department of Land & Natural Resources; and Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga, American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources. Designated federal officials: Michael Tosatto, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office; Susan White, Pacific Reefs National Wildlife Refuges Complex; RAdm Cari B. Thomas, U.S. Coast Guard 14th District; and Bill Gibbons-Fly, US Department of State.