Press Releases

post

Press Release – Modern Recreational Fisheries Management Act Implications in the Western Pacific Region (10 January 2019)

HONOLULU (10 January 2019) On the last day of 2018, President Trump signed into law the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act (S. 1520), also known as the Modern Fish Act. The bill, which had been stagnant since its introduction in 2017, was pushed through by the efforts of the same coalition of sports fishing organizations that earlier in the year supported the amended Billfish Conservation Act of 2012. The amended Billfish Act had major consequences for the commercial fisheries in Hawaii and the US Pacific Island territories by banning interstate commerce of a sustainable, traditional fishery in the islands. The Modern Fish Act, on the other hand, is more targeted toward the management of recreational fisheries in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico but may have implications for fisheries management in the Western Pacific Region, i.e., the US Pacific Islands.
Read More ª

post

Press Release – Federal Managers Delay Final Recommendations on Leatherback and Loggerhead Sea Turtle Interactions with Hawaii Swordfish Fishery (Dec. 18, 2018)

The fishery is scheduled to reopen on Jan. 1, 2019, with allowable interactions of 26 leatherbacks and 17 loggerheads. Should either interaction level be reached, the fishery will close for the remainder of 2019, unless the biological opinion currently in development allows for higher interaction levels and NMFS implements new regulations.

The current leatherback level is based on a 2012 biological opinion, while, consistent with a court-approved settlement agreement, the loggerhead level is based on a 2004 biological opinion. As a result of a split Ninth Circuit decision, a federal district court vacated the loggerhead cap of 34, while leaving the leatherback interaction limit of 26 in place.  The lawsuit settlement also closed the fishery from May 8 to Dec. 31, 2018.
Read More ª

post

Press Release – Honolulu Ranks as 7th Most Valuable US Port in Seafood Landed (Dec. 13, 2018)

HONOLULU (13 December 2018)  The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), aka NOAA Fisheries, today released its Fisheries of the United States, 2017 report, with Honolulu continuing as the 7th most valuable US port in terms of landed seafood. The port with the highest value of seafood was New Bedford, Mass., with $389 million in landings, followed by five Alaska ports with landings ranging from $106 million to $173 million. Hawaii’s $104 million in landings was followed by 8th-place Empire-Venice, La., with $100 million in landings; 9th place Cape May-Wildwood, NJ, with $81 million in landings; and 10th-place Sitka, Alaska, with $75 million in seafood landings.
Read More ª

post

Press Release: Federal Managers Make Recommendations for Guam, Hawaii Fisheries (Oct. 28, 2018)

Guam Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio opened the Council meeting yesterday on Guam, stating it is up to our leaders to “ensure that your children and grandchildren will continue to enjoy the harvest of the seas and make sure our people enjoy the relative cleanliness that we expect of our waters.” Pictured with Tenorio is Council Executive Director Kitty M. Simonds

TUMON, GUAM (28 October 2018) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council yesterday in Guam concluded its four-day meeting in the Mariana Archipelago with the following recommendations, among others, regarding Guam and Hawaii nearshore fisheries and other matters. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, the Council has authority over fisheries seaward of state waters of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the US Pacific Remote Islands.
Read More ª

post

Media Advisory – Opening of Fishery Management Council Meeting on Guam Today Delayed to 4 p.m., Lt. Gov. to Address Council on Saturday (Oct. 25, 2018)

TUMON, GUAM (26 October 2018) the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council will begin the second half of its 174th meeting from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. today, Friday, Oct. 26, at the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa. The Council meeting on Guam was originally scheduled to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

The Fishers Forum on Guam’s Spearfish Fishery that was scheduled to be held today from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa has been cancelled.

The meeting will continue tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. as originally scheduled. Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio is scheduled to provide welcoming remarks to the Council on Saturday.

These changes are due to typhoon Yutu and resultant canceled commercial flights to Guam from Saipan, where the Council met on Oct. 23 and 24.

For the agenda and other information on the Council meeting, go to www.wpcouncil.org/category/upcoming-council-and-advisory-body-meetings/ or email info.wpcouncil@noaa.gov.

What:        174th meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council

When:       Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where:     Hilton Guam Resort and Spa, Tumon, Guam

If you have any questions, please contact Sylvia Spalding at (808) 383-1069 or sylvia.spalding@noaa.gov or Felix Reyes at (671) 483-1904 or efesar05@yahoo.com.

post

Press Release – Federal Managers Make Recommendations to Keep US Pacific Island Fisheries Viable (Oct. 24, 2018)

GARAPAN, COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS (24 October 2018) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council yesterday concluded its two-day meeting in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) with recommendations regarding pelagic, international and American Samoa fisheries. Underpinning the discussions were concerns about keeping healthy, sustainable US Pacific Island fisheries viable amid an accumulation of US regulations and international negotiations. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, the Council has authority over fisheries seaward of state waters of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI and the US Pacific Remote Islands.
Read More ª

post

Press Release- Federal Managers Present Gov. Torres with $250K for Fisheries Training, Recommend Bottomfish Catch Limits and Other CNMI and Protected Species Measures (Oct. 23, 2018)

GARAPAN, COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS (23 October 2018) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council opened its 174th meeting yesterday in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) with the presentation of a check for $250,000 to  Gov. Ralph Torres and Department of Lands and Natural Resources Secretary Anthony  Benavente. The funds stem from the 2017 bigeye fishing agreement between the Commonwealth and Hawaii longline vessels.

(from right) Council Executive Director Kitty M. Simonds presents $250K check to Gov. Ralph Torres accompanied by CNMI Senate President Arnold Palacios, Council Acting Chair John Gourley of CNMI and CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources Secretary Anthony Benavente.

In presenting the check, Council Executive Director Kitty M. Simonds said to Gov. Torres that “the funds will be used to implement a bottomfish training and fishing demonstration project, which would then lead hopefully to purchase of a vessel to help with your fishery development,” which Torres had mentioned earlier in his opening remarks to the Council. “The Council has long recognized your huge fisheries development potential for both domestic and export markets,” Simonds continued. “Bottomfish resources in the CNMI are healthy and abundant, and we look forward to this project that will train the next generation of CNMI fishermen.”

“This $250K will give us a not just a head start but an excellent opportunity to promote our fishermen and our resources so we can market not just our fish but the way we handle our fish,” Torres responded. “It’s about partnership.”
Read More ª

post

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.
Read More ª

post

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.
Read More ª

post

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.
Read More ª