Press Release – US Pacific Fishery Managers Support Climate Change Research to Inform Management Decisions (21 September 2021)

News and Updates, Press Releases

Cooperative research is one way local fishers can provide information for fisheries management. Photo: Eddie Ebisui.

HONOLULU (21 September 2021) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council voted today to approve several plans aimed at improving research and data in the region. The Council’s work relies on robust scientific information for its fishery management decisions. The Council and its advisors developed research priorities with the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, setting the direction for the future.

Climate change is a high priority, in line with the Biden Administration’s efforts to mitigate the impacts and enhance fisheries resilience. Addressing the shift in distribution of stocks and fishing effort due to changes in oceanographic features is a good example.

The Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee Three-Year Plan focused its priorities on science that directly supports fishery management. A major focus is helping fishing communities to understand the value of data for fishery sustainability.

The Council’s five-year regional research plan is mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The plan covers research priorities for pelagic and island fisheries, protected species, human communities, cooperative research and management strategy evaluation.

The Council also endorsed the Fishery Data Collection and Research Committee’s strategic plan for 2022 to 2026. The overarching goals of the plan are to:

  • Build local agency capacity to improve fishery-dependent data collection.
  • Provide non-peer-reviewed reports and unpublished datasets.
  • Conduct science and research to support ecosystem-based fishery management.

The Council concluded the first day of its three-day virtual meeting today. The meeting continues tomorrow with decisions on the American Samoa bottomfish rebuilding plan and initial action on seabird mitigation in the Hawai‘i longline fishery. Instructions on connecting to Webex, agendas and briefing documents are posted at www.wpcouncil.org/meetings-calendars.

The Council manages federal fisheries operating in waters offshore of the State of Hawai‘i, the Territories of American Samoa and Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Areas.

 

Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council: Secretary of Commerce appointees from nominees selected by American Samoa, CNMI, Guam and Hawai‘i governors: Roger Dang, Fresh Island Fish Co. (Hawai‘i) (vice chair); Manny Dueñas, Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association (Guam) (vice chair); John Gourley, Micronesian Environmental Services (CNMI) (vice chair); Will Sword, noncommercial fisherman/engineer (American Samoa) (vice chair); Monique Amani, business owner (Guam); Howard Dunham, commercial fisherman (American Samoa); Matt Ramsey, Conservation International (Hawai‘i); and McGrew Rice, charter boat captain (CNMI). Designated state officials: Anthony Benavente, CNMI Dept. of Lands and Natural Resources; Suzanne Case, Hawai‘i Dept. of Land and Natural Resources; Chelsa Muña-Brecht, Guam Dept. of Agriculture; and Archie Soliai, American Samoa Dept. of Marine and Wildlife Resources (chair). Designated federal officials (voting): Michael Tosatto, National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Regional Office. Designated federal officials (nonvoting): Colin Brinkman and Rebecca Wintering, U.S. Dept. of State; Brian Peck, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and RADM Matthew Sibley, U.S. Coast Guard 14th District.

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