Press Releases

post

Press Release – No Change Recommended for US Pacific Territories’ Longline-Caught Bigeye Tuna Limits (October 14, 2016)

HONOLULU (14 Oct. 2016) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council yesterday in Honolulu recommended that the US Participating Territory longline-caught bigeye tuna limits remain at 2,000 metric tons (mt) per Territory for 2017. Pending approval by the Secretary of Commerce, the Territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marina Islands (CNMI) are authorized to allocate up to 1,000 mt of their limit to US fishermen through specified fishing agreements as authorized under Amendment 7 of the Pelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Western Pacific Region. The amendment, which has been in place since 2014, requires that the Territory longline-caught bigeye tuna limits be reviewed and recommended on an annual basis.

Read More ª

post

Press Release – Statewide Meetings to Be Held on NWHI Marine Monument Fishing Regulations (Oct. 14, 2016)

HONOLULU (14 Oct. 2016) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, in Honolulu today, agreed to the drafting of amendments and regulations to the Hawai‘i and Pelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plans (FEPs) to accommodate provisions of the August 26th Presidential Proclamation that expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to encompass the entire 200-mile US exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. In accordance with the proclamation, the amendments would prohibit commercial fishing for federally managed precious corals, crustacean, bottomfish, pelagic and coral reef species. The regulations may allow non-commercial fishing and native Hawaiian traditional fishing practices including subsistence fishing and regulate other activities as appropriate.  
Read More ª

post

Press Release – Fishery Managers Consider NWHI Monument Measures, Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits (11 Oct. 2016)

HONOLULU (11 Oct. 2016) Standing Committees of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council are meeting todayOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA to consider management measures for fisheries in the expanded Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI); 2017 longline-caught bigeye tuna catch limits in American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI); and other offshore fishery management issues. The full Council will consider recommendations from the Standing Committees and its advisory bodies this Wednesday through Friday at Fuller Hall, YWCA, 1040 Richards St., Honolulu.

Read More ª

post

Press Release: Scientists to Advise on NWHI Monument Fisheries, Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits

HONOLULU (29 Sept. 2016) President Obama’s proclamation expanding the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) to include 532,578 square miles of ocean prohibits commercial fishing but allows non-commercial fishing including native Hawaiian subsistence fishing. In a letter dated Sept. 23, 2016, to the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Pacific Islands Regional Administrator Michael Tosatto said that he looked “forward to the Council’s recommendations for amending the Hawai‘i and Pelagic fishery ecosystem plans to establish appropriate fishing requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens [Fishery Conservation and Management] Act, including the prohibition on commercial fishing and the regulation of non-commercial fishing.”unnamed

During its deliberations, the Council will consider the advice of its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), a group of renowned fishery scientists, which will convene Oct. 4 to 6, 2016, at the Council office, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu. Among the items to be reviewed is the economic impact of lost fishing grounds in the US exclusive economic zone as a result of the monument expansion.

The SSC is also scheduled to provide advice on the 2017 longline bigeye catch limits for American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. These US flagged islands are Participating Territories of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. This international regional fishery management organization, to which the US is a party, has developed national quotas for longline-caught bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, but set no longline bigeye catch limits for Small Island Developing States and Participating Territories. In 2014, the Council amended its Pacific Pelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) to provide a framework to establish catch or fishing effort limits for the US Participating Territories in relation to WCPFC conservation and management measures. Under the framework, the Council has recommended and NMFS has approved annual catch limits of 2,000 metric tons (mt) for each US Territory in the Pacific with the ability to transfer 1,000 mt under specified fishing agreements to fishing vessels permitted under the FEP. These US Territory catch limits are reviewed and specified annually.

During the SSC meeting next week, eight outgoing SSC members will be recognized for their terms of service and new members will be welcomed, including Professor Ray Hilborn, University of Washington; Dr. Steve Martell, private consultant, International Halibut Commission; Dr. Debra T. Cabrera Social Sciences Faculty, St. John’s School, Guam; and Justin Hospital, NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.

The Council will consider the recommendations from the SSC and its other advisory bodies at its 168th meeting, Oct. 12 to 14, 2016, at Fuller Hall, YWCA, 1040 Richards St., Honolulu. Fishermen, other stakeholders and members of the public are invited to attend the meetings as well as the Fishers Forum on “Magnuson and Marine Monuments: Social-Environmental Justice in the Era of Large Marine Protected Areas,” 6 to 9 p.m., October 12, at the Ala Moana Hotel, Garden Lanai, 410 Atkinson Dr., Honolulu. For more information and complete agendas, go to www.wpcouncil.org, email info@wpcouncil.org or phone (808) 522-8220.

For a PDF of this press release click here

post

Press Release – Fishery Council Asks for Transparent Analysis of Proposed Marine Monument Expansion

HONOLULU (5 Aug. 2016) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council on Wednesday agreed to a resolution that asks the U.S. government to address a suite of concerns before acting on the proposed expansion on the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (MNM) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Council members Suzanne Case, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources chair, and Julie Leialoha, Conservation Council for Hawaii president, voted against the proposal. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Pacific Islands Regional Administrator Michael Tosatto abstained.
Read More ª

post

Press Release – Fishery Council to Address Territorial Bigeye Tuna Limits, Proposed Papahanaumokuakea Monument Expansion

HONOLULU (2 Aug. 2016) Federal fishery managers will meet by teleconference and webinar tomorrow to recommend the 2017 U.S. Pacific Island territorial catch and transfer limits for bigeye tuna caught by longline in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council will also address the proposed expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and the IUCN World Conservation Congress, among other items.

The teleconference will be hosted at the following venues:

  • Council Conference Room, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu
  • Land Grant Conference Room, American Samoa Community College’s Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources; Mapusaga Rd., Malaeimi Village, American Samoa
  • Guam Hilton Resort and Spa, 202 Hilton Rd., Tumon Bay, Guam
  • Department of Land and Natural Resources Conference Room, Santa Remedio Dr., Lower Base, Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

Read More ª

post

Press Release – No Response from POTUS, Senator Schatz on Monument Expansion Concerns

HONOLULU (20 July 2016) U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) has yet to respond to a June 20th request to meet with the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council on his proposal to expand the size of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) fourfold. Also unanswered are letters sent by the Council to President Obama on April 8 and July 14, 2016, with concerns about the impact to Hawaii’s fisheries of the proposals by Schatz and by seven Native Hawaiians in January 2016 that the President expand the monument using his authority under the Antiquities Act.
Read More ª

post

Press Release – Rep. Takai: A Friend and Supporter of Hawaii’s Fishing Community

HONOLULU (20 July 2016) Today’s passing of U.S. Rep. Mark Takai (D-Hawaii) brings much sadness to Hawaii’s fishing community. A strong supporter of local fishermen, Takai recently appeared in a short video celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and Hawaii’s fishing industry.
Read More ª

post

Press Release – Regional Management Council Voices Concerns about Sustaining Island Fishing Traditions

HONOLULU (13 June 2016) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council concluded its 166th meeting Friday at Tumon Bay, US Territory of Guam, with discussions focused on the challenges of keeping the tradition of fishing alive in the US Pacific Islands.

Manny Duenas

Manny Duenas

During public testimony, Manny Duenas, a former Council chair and long-time president of the Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association, covered a gamut of issues facing Guam’s fishermen, including competition with purse-seiners for tuna; tiger shark attacks on net fishermen; competition with Micronesian fishermen from the US Freely Associated States who reside on Guam; the inability to continue sociocultural traditions related to sharing of green sea turtle; and the threat of losing prime fishing grounds due to military buildup, among others.

Duenas recited arguments by the US Congress during the ratification of the Treaty of Paris of 1898, which ceded Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines to the United States, implying the statements are still applicable today.
Read More ª

post

Press Release – From FestPac to West Pac, Guam Governor Remains Focused on Ocean Resources, Island Ancestors

TUMON BAY, GUAM (9 June 2016) The Honorable Eddie Calvo, Governor of Guam, opened the 166th meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council today in Tumon Bay, Guam, with words of respect and love for the ocean. “We have limited land spaces and a sacred view of the ocean,” Calvo said. “The Council discussion is extremely important.”
Read More ª