Press Releases

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Press Release – Scientists Support Electronic Reporting for Hawaii Longline Fishery, Comment on Proposed Increase in Fishery’s Bigeye Quota (October 18, 2018)

HONOLULU (18 October 2018) Scientists from throughout the Pacific concluded their three-day meeting yesterday in Hilo on the island of Hawai‘i recommending that the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council take initial action to require mandatory electronic reporting for the Hawaii longline fleet. These and other recommendations by the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) on federally managed fisheries of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the US Pacific Remote Islands will be considered by the Council at its 174th meeting to be held Oct. 23 and 24 in Saipan, CNMI, and Oct. 26 and 27 in Guam. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, the Council has authority over fisheries seaward of state waters in Hawaii and other US Pacific Islands.
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Press Release – Scientists Specify Annual Biological Catches for US Pacific Island Fisheries, Recommend Refinements to Precious Coral Habitat Designations (Oct. 17, 2018)

HONOLULU (17 October 2018) Scientists from throughout the Pacific meeting this week in Hilo on the island of Hawai‘i have made the following recommendations on federally managed fisheries of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the US Pacific Remote Islands. The Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council will conclude its meeting later today. The SSC recommendations will then be considered by the Council at its 174th meeting to be held Oct. 23 and 24 in Saipan, CNMI, and Oct. 26 and 27 in Guam. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, the Council has authority over fisheries seaward of state waters in Hawaii and other US Pacific Islands.

During the first two days of the meeting the SSC specified annual biological catches (ABCs) for a suite of managed species. The Council will consider the ABC specifications in recommending annual catch limits (ACLs) for these species. ACLs can be equal to or lower than the ABCs set by the SSC, depending on management uncertainties. The Council’s ACL recommendations will be transmitted to the Secretary of Commerce for final approval.
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Press Release – Scientists to Recommend Acceptable Biological Catch Limits for Federally Managed US Pacific Island Fisheries (13 October 2018)

Uku or grey snapper (Aprion virescens)

HONOLULU (13 October 2018) Scientists will convene next week on the island of Hawai‘i to discuss and make recommendations on federally managed fisheries of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the US Pacific Remote Islands. The Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council will hold its 130th meeting from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 15 to 17, at the Naniloa Hotel Double Tree by Hilton in Hilo.
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Press Release – US Billfish is Sustainable, Provides Fresh Seafood and Local Revenue (2 August 2018)

US Pacific Billfish Fishery Is Sustainable, Provides Fresh Seafood and Local Revenue

Pacific blue marlin (Makaira mazaran) is commonly known in Hawaii as kajiki or a‘u (the Hawaiian word applied to all marlin species). Photo credit: John Kaneko.

HONOLULU (2 August 2018) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is disappointed that America’s seafood consumers may soon be deprived of sustainably harvested domestic marlin products should President Trump sign legislation to prohibit interstate commerce of billfish (not including swordfish) landed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Darren Soto’s (D-Fla.), passed the House on June 26 and the Senate on July 30 and is now headed to the president.

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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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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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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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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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