AEB to Hold 2012 Fishermen’s Meeting at Seattle’s Silver Cloud Inn
The Aleutians East Borough will once again hold a fishermen’s’ meeting this year on the first day of the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle, November 27th. This year, we plan to teleconference the meeting to each of the AEB communities. Among the attendees will be ADF&G staff, AEB Natural Resources staff, NPFMC member Sam Cotten and AEB WASSIP Advisory Panel Representative Denby Lloyd. Here is a draft agenda for the AEB fishermen’s meeting:
Board of Fisheries upcoming meetings:
Area M salmon
Board of Fish participation
WASSIP and SEDM genetic studies
NPFMC upcoming meetings & agenda items:
CGOA trawl bycatch tools
WGOA groundfish fisheries objectives
Crab seasonObserver program SSL case Acoustic Trawl survey
Community teleconference sites TBD.
Steller Sea Lion meetings
The 2010 Biological Opinion (BiOp) stated the endangered western population of Steller sea lions was at risk of jeopardy of adverse modification (JAM), and put in place harsh restrictions on groundfish fisheries in the central and western Aleutians (areas 541, 542 & 543). A court-ordered EIS is being prepared by NFMS, and the Steller Sea Lion Mitigation Committee is assisting the NPFMC in the preparation of alternatives to be analyzed in the EIS.
The AEB submitted 4 SSL EIS proposals for alternatives concerning WGOA fisheries to the committee.
Eliminate the D-season in the western GOA pollock fishery and reallocate the TAC from the D season to the three other seasons, equally.
Change the opening date of the Pacific cod A-season in the WGOA for all gear types.
Change the apportionment of the Pacific cod TAC in the WGOA from 60:40 to 80:20.
Add six Steller sea lion Critical Habitat sites within the AEB to the Navigable Transit exemptions in SSL regulations, allowing vessels transiting the area to maintain a minimum of 1 nm from each site, rather than 3 nm, for vessel safety.
The committee accepted the AEB proposals, but is focused on actions for the western and central Aleutians at this time. Recent independent reviews of the BiOp have questioned the validity of the science behind the JAM determination, and raise questions of management measures throughout the range of the western SSL population. Committee Chair Larry Cotter suggested the AEB WGOA proposals could be more fully considered at a later date. Oral arguments in the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals case State of Alaska V. Jane Lubchenco will be heard in Seattle on December 4th.
Chinook Salmon in the Spotlight
The Alaska Chinook Salmon Symposium was presented October 22-23 at the Egan Center by ADF&G to look at Chinook salmon scientific research and to identify research needs. The event was a success and was attended by NPFMC, BoF members and state legislators. The format included ample time for the audience to pose questions and interact with the panel experts.
According to the first presentation, based on research of 12 data sets from 1976 to 2011 of Alaska river Chinook salmon stocks including Nelson River, we have not seen Chinook salmon abundance this low in about half of those stocks. Other presentations included distribution of Chinook in the pollock fishery, where the bycatch is highest in the B season and in daylight hours. The extremely cold winters in the Bering Sea since 2006 may be a factor in the current Chinook crisis. The first winter at sea is critical to the young adult salmon. Research on these salmon, demonstrates that their diet includes fish, squid and plastics. The Aleut word for Chinook was said to be Chavichax, during a discussion of the local, traditional and ecological knowledge of the salmon.
The US Department of Commerce recently designated a Chinook salmon resource disaster for Cook Inlet and the Yukon & Kuskokwim rivers in response to a request from the State.
Other upcoming meetings will also highlight Chinook Salmon: Chinook bycatch in all GOA trawl fisheries will be on the agenda for the NPFMC meeting in Anchorage December 3-11. Also, a Chinook Salmon Outreach Workshop will be held in Anchorage December 11 & 12, through the Arctic Yukon Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative (AYK SSI).
The 2012 Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention met at the Dena’ina Center October 18 – 20. The delegates adopted 43 resolutions out of 44 presented. The rules were not suspended to allow for resolutions from the floor. The following fisheries- related resolutions were considered:
Resolution 12 -20 Reduction of Chinook, Chum Salmon Species and Halibut By-catch in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska Pollock Fishery and in the Russian Economic Zone (adopted as amended)
Resolution 12-08 Support for the Board of Fish Generated Proposal that would add Pacific Herring to the State of Alaska's Forage Fish Management plan. (resolution was tabled)
Resolution 12-17 Supporting Alaska Chinook Salmon Disaster Declarations (unanimously adopted)
Resolution 12-19 Request funding research on declining salmon stocks through Sustainable Salmon Initiative. (unanimously adopted)
Resolution 12 – 28 Support of Active Salmon Rehabilitation including Habitat Nutrient Enrichment (adopted as amended)
Resolution 12 – 37 Supporting the Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (adopted)
Resolution 12 – 38 Request Review and Revision of the Yukon River Salmon Treaty to include provisions for Low-Chinook Salmon Productivity Years. (adopted as amended)
Resolution 12 – 41 Calling for the Establishment of Inter-tribal and Alaska Native Fish Commissions. (adopted as amended)
All of the Alaska Federation of Natives 2012 Convention Resolutions are available here: