News and Updates

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FR Notice – Fishing Restrictions for Tropical Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean for 2018 to 2020 (April 11, 2018)

SUMMARY: NMFS is issuing regulations under the Tuna Conventions Act to implement Resolution C–17–02 (Conservation Measures for Tropical Tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean During 2018–2020 and Amendment to Resolution C–17–01), which was adopted at the 92nd Meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in July 2017. This final rule implements the C–17–02 fishing management measures for tropical tuna (i.e., bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis)) in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). This final rule imposes the following on purse seine vessels with carrying capacity greater than 182 metric tons (mt) fishing for tropical tuna in the EPO: A 72-day EPO- wide closure, a 31-day area closure, and a requirement that—with some exceptions—all tropical tuna be retained and landed. In addition, this final rule revises the restrictions for exemptions due to force majeure, establishes a bigeye tuna catch limit of 750 mt for U.S. longline vessels greater than 24 meters in overall length, and regulates the use and design of fish aggregating devices. This final rule is necessary for the conservation of tropical tuna stocks in the EPO and for the United States to satisfy its obligations as a member of the IATTC.
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Press Release – Federal Fishery Managers Recommend Removal of Bottomfish Restricted Fishing Areas in the Main Hawaiian Islands, Voice Concern about Billfish Conservation Act Proposed Amendments (16 March 2018)

HONOLULU (16 March 2018) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council concluded its three-day meeting today with a variety of management measures and administrative decisions for federal fisheries in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the US Pacific Remote Islands Areas.
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Press Release – Federal Fishery Managers Postpone American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area Decision (16 March 2018)

HONOLULU (16 March 2018) The Western PacificRegional Fishery Management Council today in Honolulu delayed final action on an amendment to modify the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA) until its next meeting to be held June 11 to 14, 2018, on Maui. The amendment would reduce the size of the LVPA to US longline vessels in American Samoa. This fleet has been experiencing economic hardship due to declining catches and increased operating costs. The fleet operates within the US exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around American Samoa, which abuts the EEZs of other countries on all sides and thus is less than 200 nautical miles (nm) from shore. The LVPA currently restricts pelagic fishing vessels larger than 50 feet in length from operating within 50 nm of shore.
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Press Release – Federal Fishery Managers Agree to US Pacific Island Pelagic and Protected Species Measures (16 March 2018)

HONOLULU (16 March 2018) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council yesterday in Honolulu agreed to a suite of management measures for pelagic fisheries and protected species in the US Pacific Islands operating seaward of State/Territory waters. The Council is mandated by Congress to manage federal fisheries of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the US Pacific Remote Island Areas. Recommendations by the Council are transmitted to the Secretary of Commerce for final approval. Among the actions taken by the Council, were the following:

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Press Release – Federal Managers Agree to a US Pacific Island Marine Aquaculture Management Program, Ecosystem Component Species Reclassification (15 March 2018)

HONOLULU (15 March 2018) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council took initial action today in Honolulu to establish an aquaculture management program for the US exclusive economic zone (EEZ) waters (generally, 3 to 200 miles offshore) of the US Pacific Islands and to reclassify hundreds of species as ecosystem components.
The Council is mandated by Congress to manage federal fisheries of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the US Pacific Remote Island Areas. Recommendations by the Council are transmitted to the Secretary of Commerce for final approval.
“Supplementing the harvest of domestic fisheries with cultured product would help the United States meet consumers’ growing demand for seafood and may reduce the dependence on seafood imports,” notes Kitty M. Simonds, the Council’s executive director.

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Fishers Forum – Hawai’i Fisheries: Getting the Full Story

Date: March 14, 2018          Time: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Pomaika’i Ballrooms at Dole Cannery, 735 Iwilei Rd., Honolulu

Agenda

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PR – Scientists Provide Advice on Management of Sea Turtle, Bigeye Tuna and American Samoa Longline Fisheries (8 March 2018)

HONOLULU (8 March 2018) Renowned scientists from throughout the Pacific today concluded a three-day meeting in Honolulu to develop recommendations on managing fisheries in Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the US Pacific Remote Islands Areas. Recommendations from the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council will be considered by the Council next week Wednesday through Friday at the Laniakea YWCA, Fuller Hall, 1040 Richards St., Honolulu. Fishermen and other members of the public are invited to attend the meeting and provide their comments and testimonies. Among the recommendations made by the SSC are the following:
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Winter 2018 Pacific Islands Fishery News

Click here for printable PDF or

Click here for an interactive adobe version

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PR – Scientists to Advise on Management of US Pacific Island Fisheries (5 March 2018)

HONOLULU (5 March 2018) Renowned scientists from throughout the Pacific will convene in Honolulu tomorrow through Thursday to provide recommendations on managing fisheries in Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the US Pacific Remote Islands Areas. The meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) is open to the public and runs 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Council office, 1164 Bishop St., Suite1400. 
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2018-2019 US Pacific Territories Fishery Capacity-Building Scholarship application deadline extended to March 15, 2018

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council and its Education Committee members are pleased to announce the availability of up to three scholarships for academic year 2018-2019. These scholarships support the aspiration of American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to build their capacity to effectively manage their fisheries and related resources through employment of their own people.
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