Archives for March 2015

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Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) Subcommittee Meeting

Date: March 31st, 2015 (T), 1 p.m.
Location: Council Office, Honolulu, HI

Agenda
To view FR Notice, click here

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Press Release – Federal Fishery Managers Amend American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area to Promote Optimal Yield, Efficiency and Non-Discrimination in the Local Albacore Fishery

HONOLULU (20 March 2015) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, at the conclusion of its three-day meeting in Honolulu on Wednesday, recommended an amendment to the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA) regulations. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, the measure would allow federally permitted American Samoa longline vessels greater than 50 feet in length overall to operate in waters seaward of 12 nautical miles (nm) around the islands of Tutuila, Manua`a and Swains. Currently, the LVPA restricts longline and other vessels of this size to waters seaward of 50 nm from shore around these islands. The measure would continue to exclude the larger vessels from operating 0 to 12 miles from shore and would include an annual review by the Council at which time the LVPA measure could be further amended. 
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NMFS and FWS Announce Response to Green Turtle Delisting Petition

On March 20, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced the 12-month finding and proposed rule in response to the 2012 petition to delist the Hawaii green turtle from the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS and FWS have denied the delisting petition after finding that the Hawaii population, while qualifying as a distinct population segment (DPS) called the Central North Pacific DPS, should continue to be listed as “threatened” due to its small and narrowly distributed nesting population and threats of climate change and sea level rise. The proposal will publish in the Federal Register on Monday, March 23, 2015.

The proposed rule will also change the status of green turtles in American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) from its current threatened listing to “endangered.” Guam and CNMI green turtles are considered part of a population called the Central Western Pacific DPS, and American Samoa part of the Central South Pacific DPS.

A public hearing is scheduled in Honolulu on April 8, 2015, 6-8pm at the Japanese Cultural Center, but no hearings are currently scheduled in the outer islands in Hawaii or in American Samoa, Guam or CNMI.

The proposed rule is open for public comment for 90-days until June 22, 2015.

To read the full proposed rule, see: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/03/23/2015-06136/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-and-plants-identification-and-proposed-listing-of-eleven-distinct

The status review that provides the scientific basis for the decision is available here: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/documents/2015_green_turtle__chelonia_mydas__status_review_under_the_u.s._endangered_species_act.pdf

To read the NMFS press release, see: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2015/20150320-successful-conservation-efforts-along-florida-pacific-coasts-recognized-in-revised-esa-listing-of-green-sea-turtle.html

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162nd Council Meeting

Standing Committees

Date: March 14, 2015
Location: Council Office, Honolulu, HI

Dates: March 16-18, 2015
Time: 8:30 am -5 pm
Location: Elizabeth Fuller Hall, Laniakea YWCA

162nd Council Meeting Minutes
162nd Council Meeting Agenda
118th SSC & 162nd Council Meeting FR Notice
162 CM Action Item Summary
Day 1 Recap Press Release
Day 2 Recap Press Release
Day 3 Recap Press Release
162nd Council Meeting Action Memorandum

Agency Reports:
PIRO Report
PIFSC Report
NOAA GC Report
US Coast Guard Report
NOAA OLE Report
NOAA GCEL Report

Program Planning & Research:
National Standard Guidelines Proposed Rule FR Notice
NOAA Fisheries Draft Climate Strategy
NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy FR Notice

Hawai’i Archipelago:
Fish Waste Processing Report

Protected Species:
ANPR for Coral Take Prohibition
FKW TRT Management Measures Effectiveness
Draft 2014 Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports
Draft 2014 Pacific SAR

Pelagic & International Fisheries:
American Samoa LVPA Exemption
American Samoa Longline EEZ Albacore Catch Limit
Territory LL BET Specification
Report on IUU and Seafood Labeling
WPRFMC comments on IUU and Seafood Fraud Task Force Recommendations
WCPFC 11th Session Report

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Press Release – US Pacific Islands Advance Fishery Ecosystem Plans, Address Climate Change

HONOLULU (17 March 2015) The  Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council concluded the first day of its three-day meeting in Honolulu yesterday with a suite of recommendations to improve five fishery ecosystem plans used to regulate federally managed fisheries in Hawai`i, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and remote US Pacific island possessions. Federally managed fisheries operate seaward of state waters, which generally encompasses waters 0 to 3 miles from shore. The five plans include those for each of these island areas plus one for pelagic fisheries.

The plans were initially approved in 2009 and codified in 2010. Recent region-wide scoping meetings resulted in recommendations to engage fishing communities and stakeholders in a review of the goals and objectives of each of the plans, which are place-based in nature. Currently, all five plans share the same goals and objectives. Along with revision of the plans, the Council will revise the structure of its annual fishery reports so they include more ecosystem components, such as protected species, climate change, human dimensions and habitat. The Council will also restructure its Plan Teams into a single Plan Team that includes more ecosystem experts. The Plan Team is an advisory body of the Council responsible for developing and amending the fishery ecosystem plans. Copies of the existing plans and annual reports can be found at www.wpcouncil.org/fishery-plans-policies-reports and the list of current Plan Team members can be found at www.wpcouncil.org/about-us/council-advisory-panels/plan-teams/.
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Press Release – Federal Fishery Managers Address Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Protected Species Issues

HONOLULU (18 March 2015) The  Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council concluded the second day of its three-day meeting in Honolulu yesterday with recommendations for federally managed fisheries in Hawai‘i and American Samoa as well as protected species. Federally managed fisheries operate seaward of state waters, which generally encompasses waters 0 to 3 miles from shore. 
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Fishers Forum on Stock Assessments

Date: March 17, 2015       6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Location: Harbor View Center, Pier 38, Honolulu and by webconference (see below).

Agenda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To print the Fishers Forum flyer, click here.

Can’t attend the Fishers Forum in-person?
Join us via webconference at https://wprfmc.webex.com/join/info.wpcouncilnoaa.gov.

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Press Release – Scientists Recommend Management Measures for Longline Tuna Fisheries in American Samoa and Other US Pacific Islands

HONOLULU (13 March 2015) At the conclusion of its three-day meeting yesterday, the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council recommended three management measures for longline fisheries in American Samoa and other US Pacific Islands, including Hawai`i. These recommendations and others from the SSC and other Council advisory groups will be considered by the Council, March 16-18, 2015, at the Laniakea YWCA’s Fuller Hall, 1040 Richards St., Honolulu.

One of the recommended measures would establish an exemption area seaward of 12 nautical miles (nm) within the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA). The measure would open 16,817 square nm to federally permitted American Samoa longline vessels of 50 feet or greater while continuing to restrict them from 11.3 percent of the US exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around American Samoa.

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118th SSC Meeting

Date: March 10-12, 2015
Time: 8:30 am-5 pm
Location: Council Office, Honolulu

SSC Press Release

118th SSC Meeting Agenda
118th SSC & 162nd Council Meeting FR Notice

Agency Report(s):
PIFSC Report

Pelagic Fisheries Action Items:
American Samoa LVPA Changes
Territorial BET Specification
American Samoa Longline EEZ Albacore Catch Limit

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Fishery Data Collection and Research Technical Committee Meeting

Date: April 16 & 17, 2015        8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Location: Council office, Honolulu

Agenda

FR Notice