News and Updates

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The 2019 Saltonstall-Kennedy (SK) Grant competition is open for applications. 

NOAA Fisheries is pleased to announce the 2019 Saltonstall-Kennedy (SK) Grant competition is open for applications. 

NOAA Fisheries announces the the FY19 Saltonstall-Kennedy (S-K) Federal Funding Opportunity and inviting applicants to submit pre-proposals by July 23, 2018. The 2019 priority focus areas were modified to continue to add emphasis on funding science initiatives that track closely with industry priorities. This year, the priority focus areas are: 

(⇓⇓⇓ Click read more to learn more ⇓⇓⇓)
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FR Notice – 5-Year Extension of Moratorium on Harvest of Gold Corals (June 14, 2018)

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: This final rule extends the region-wide moratorium on the harvest of gold corals in the U.S. Pacific Islands through June 30, 2023. NMFS intends this final rule to prevent overfishing and to stimulate research on gold corals.

DATES: This rule is effective July 16, 2018.
ADDRESSES: Background information on Pacific Island precious coral fisheries is found in the fishery ecosystem plans available from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel (808) 522–8220, fax (808) 522–8226, or www.wpcouncil.org.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kate Taylor, NMFS PIR Sustainable Fisheries, (808)725–5182.

Click here for FR Notice.

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Update – POSTPONED – Western Pacific Stock Assessment Review of the 2018 Benchmark Stock Assessment for MHI Kona Crab Meeting

Date: June 25-29, 2018          Time: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Location: Council Office, Honolulu, HI

Rescheduled for September 10-14, 2018

FR Notice with new meeting date

 

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Press Release – Federal Managers Recommend Sea Turtle Measures for Hawaii Shallow-Set Longliners, Four-Year Large Vessel Prohibited Area Exemption for American Samoa Longliners (13 June 2018)

WAILEA, MAUI, HAWAII (13 June 2018) Federal fishery managers, meeting today at the Wailea Beach Resort on Maui, Hawaii, have recommended measures to manage sea turtle interactions in the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery targeting swordfish.

Swordfish landed by the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery at the Honolulu fish auction.

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council recommended amending the Pelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) for the Western Pacific Region to establish a framework that consists of a) annual fleet-wide limits on the number of North Pacific loggerhead and leatherback interactions; once either of these interaction limits is reached, the fishery closes for the remainder of the year; and b) individual trip interaction limits for loggerhead and leatherback turtles; when a vessel has reached the limit on a trip, the vessel would be required to return to port and may resume shallow-setting upon providing the required 72-hour notice to National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for observer placement.
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Press Release – Federal Managers Recommend Increase in Hawaii Deep-Water Bottomfish Catch Limit (12 June 2018)

NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Chris Oliver (center) participated in the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council meeting this week on Maui. Also pictured are Council Executive Director Kitty Simonds and William Choy, founder of the Maui Cooperative Fishing Association.

WAILEA, MAUI, HAWAII (12 June 2018) Federal fishery managers, meeting this week at the Wailea Beach Resort on Maui, Hawaii, have recommended an increase in the annual catch limit (ACL) for seven species of main Hawaiian Islands deep-water bottomfish species. The ACL increase from 306,000 pounds to 492,000 pounds would apply to fishing years 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21. The new ACL recommended by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is based on an assessment of the fish stock completed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in 2018. The recommendation will be sent to the Secretary of Commerce for final approval.
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FR Notice – Area of Overlap Between the Convention Areas of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking; request for comments.

SUMMARY: NMFS is considering whether to continue, or to revise, the management regime for fishing
vessels that target tuna and other highly migratory fish species (HMS) in the area of overlapping jurisdiction between the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Commission for the Conservation and  Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC) in the tropical Pacific Ocean. To that end, we are issuing this advance notice of proposed rulemaking to seek public input about whether U.S. fishing vessels fishing in that area should be governed by conservation measures adopted by IATTC or conservation measures adopted by WCPFC.
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Press Release – Scientists Recommend New Measures for the Hawaii Shallow-Set Longline Fishery (10 June 2018)

WAILEA, MAUI, HAWAII (10 June 2018) Renowned scientists from throughout the Pacific meeting on Maui this past week have recommended new management measures for the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery targeting swordfish in response to a recent spike in the fishery’s interactions with sea turtles. The fishery is currently managed through annual fleet-wide limits for loggerhead and leatherback turtle interactions and is closed for the remainder of the calendar year when either limit is reached. Members of the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) recommend that the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council adopt a management framework that provides early detection and response to higher interaction rates and minimize further interactions while keeping the fishery open during peak swordfish season (October through March). The Council will consider the recommendation when it convenes June 11 to 13, 2018, at the Wailea Beach Resort on Maui. NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Chris Oliver is scheduled to participate in the meeting.
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2019-2022 Advisory Panel Membership Applications NOW AVAILABLE

Looking for a Few Good Advisors!!!

Do you fish?   Do you want to get involved in managing our marine resources?  Then we want you!  The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (Council) invites fishermen, members of fishery related industries, and other individuals from fishery or marine related organizations to apply for membership to the Advisory Panel (AP) for the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.   Advisors provide advice to the Council on all aspects of the region’s fisheries and suggest management strategies.

The AP includes three sub-panels that focus on the American Samoa Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP), Hawaii Archipelago and PRIA FEP, and Marianas Archipelago FEP.  Each of these panels will also deal with the Pelagics FEP as well.

Applicants will be considered based on the following selection criteria:

  • Present or recent activity in recreational, commercial or subsistence fishing;
  • Present or recent involvement in the buying, processing or marketing sectors of the fishing industry and/or involvement in conservation or management organizations, fishing clubs or other organized groups concerned with marine or fisheries issues;
  • Willingness to play an active role in fisheries management; and
  • Ability to dedicate time for fishery document review and participate in meetings.

The AP terms are for four years and will commence Jan. 1, 2019.  Positions are voluntary (not paid).  However, members are reimbursed for expenses related to their participation in meetings.  Advisory Panel member selections will be made at the Council’s meeting in October.  Applicants will be notified shortly thereafter.

Applications are being accepted electronically and can be found at https://goo.gl/forms/irk3w9emZs0rkBUH2 

For those who may need other arrangements, please call the Council Office at (808) 522-8220 for assistance.  Completed applications must be received by the Council before September 1, 2018.

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Spring 2018 Pacific Islands Fishery News

Click here for printable PDF

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Press Release – Closure of Swordfish Fishery Underscores Sea Turtle Management Success (May 11, 2018)

HONOLULU (11 May 2018) The Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery for swordfish has reached 33 of 34 allowed loggerhead sea turtle interactions for 2018 and was closed today by the National Marine Fisheries Service until Jan. 1, 2019, as a settlement agreement approved by the US District Court, District of Hawaii. Hawaii swordfish is landed and shipped fresh, ice-chilled and not frozen, with the primary market being the continental United States. Hawaii produces half of the US domestic swordfish.

“The record of 99 percent live releases, only two mortalities in 24 years and increasing loggerhead abundance over the past two decades underscore the management success of the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery,” notes Kitty M. Simonds, executive director of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.
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