Press Releases

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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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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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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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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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