HONOLULU (7 April 2016) Fishery scientists from American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Hawaii will join NOAA scientists next week to review last year’s performance of federally managed fisheries in the Western Pacific Region. The scientists are members of the Plan Team of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, whose role is to assist the Council with its Fishery Ecosystem Plans (FEPs). The April 11 to 13 meeting will be held at the Ala Moana Hotel, 410 Atkinson Dr., Honolulu. The public is invited to participate and provide comments.

Tropical cyclones can have major impacts on fishing performance. In 2015, the Hawaii longline fishery had serious problems between August and November with vessels dodging storms at sea, delayed departures and inability to make it safely back to Honolulu.

The 2015 FEP annual reports are different than previous ones produced by the Council as they include new ecosystem modules, such as protected species, essential fish habitat, human communities, traditional knowledge, climate change and marine planning. The reports will serve as the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) reports that are required by the US government.

The 2015 annual/SAFE reports will address the performance and ecosystem considerations of the Hawaii Archipelago, American Samoa Archipelago, Mariana Archipelago (Guam and CNMI), US Pacific Remote Island Areas and Pacific Pelagic FEPs. The Plan Team will also review other relevant issues, such as data integration, catch-per-unit-effort variability, research priorities and annual catch limits. To view the full agenda, go to www.wpcouncil.org or contact the Council at info.wpcouncil@noaa.gov or (808) 522-8220.

Recommendations from the Plan Team will be forwarded to the Council to consider at its next meeting, to be held June 6 and 7 in the CNMI and June 9 and 10 in Guam. The Council was established by Congress under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976 to manage domestic fisheries operating seaward of State waters around Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI and the US Pacific Island Remote Island Areas.

Plan Team: Stefanie Dukes, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) (chair); Paul Bartram, Akala Products Inc.; David Benevente, CNMI Division of Fish & Wildlife; Keith Bigelow, NMFS PIFSC; Christofer Boggs, NMFS PIFSC; Jon Brodziak NMFS PIFSC; Melanie Brown, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO); Edward DeMartini, NMFS PIFSC; Reka Domokos-Boyer, NMFS PIFSC; Stefanie Dukes, NMFS PIFSC; Michael Fujimoto, Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources (HDAR); Tom Graham, NMFS PIRO; Jay Gutierrez. Guam Department of Agriculture; Justin Hospital, NMFS PIFSC; Russell Ito, NMFS PIFSC; Samuel Kahng, Hawaii Pacific University; Reginald Kokubun, HDAR: Jo-Anne Kushima, HDAR; Tepora Lavatai American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (AS DMWR);  Kimberly Lowe, NMFS PIFSC; John J. Marra, NOAA Climate Services and Monitoring Division; Yvonne Mika, AS DMWR; Alton Miyasaka, HDAR; Domingo Ochavillo,  AS DMWR; Thomas Oliver, NMFS PIFSC; Michael Parke, NMFS PIFSC; Frank Parrish, NMFS PIFSC; Sarah Pautzke, NMFS PIRO; Ray Roberto, CNMI Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW); Eileen Shea, consultant;  Michael Tenorio, CNMI DFW; Brent Tibbatts, Guam Division of Aquatic & Wildlife Resources; Ivor Williams, NMFS PIFSC; Phoebe Woodsworth-Jefcoats, NMFS PIFSC.  

Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council: Appointees by the Secretary of Commerce from nominees selected by American Samoa, CNMI, Guam and Hawai`i governors: Michael Duenas, Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association (Guam) (vice chair); Edwin Ebisui (Hawaii) (chair); Michael Goto, United Fishing Agency Ltd. (Hawaii); John Gourley, Micronesian Environmental Services (CNMI) (vice chair); Julie Leialoha, biologist (Hawaii); Dr. Claire Tuia Poumele, Port Administration (American Samoa); McGrew Rice, commercial and charter fisherman (Hawaii) (vice chair); and William Sword, recreational fisherman (American Samoa) (vice chair). Designated state officials: Suzanne Case, Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources; Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga, American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources; Richard Seman, CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources; and Matt Sablan, Guam Department of Agriculture. Designated federal officials: Matthew Brown, USFWS Pacific Islands Refuges and Monuments Office;  Michael Brakke, US Department of State; RADM Vincent B. Atkins, US Coast Guard 14th District; and Michael Tosatto, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office.