NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary seeks advisory council applicants

 

NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is seeking to fill six primary and five alternate seats on its advisory council. The council ensures public participation in sanctuary matters and provides advice to sanctuary management.

“The diversity of members on our advisory council contribute extremely important perspectives from our community,” said Chris Mobley, sanctuary superintendent. “Council member involvement and advice is critical to the successful management of the marine sanctuary.”

The sanctuary is accepting applications for the following seats: business (primary and alternate); commercial fishing (primary and alternate); conservation (alternate); non-consumptive recreation (primary and alternate); public-at-large (two primary); and research (primary and alternate).

Candidates are selected based upon their expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying, community and professional affiliations, and views regarding the protection and management of marine resources. Applicants who are chosen as members or alternates should expect to serve a voluntary, two-year term.

The advisory council consists of 21 primary and alternate members representing a variety of public interests. It also includes 20 governmental primary and alternate members representing federal, state and county agencies. 

Applications are due by Wednesday, May 31. Application kits can be downloaded from the sanctuary’s website at http://channelislands.noaa.gov/sac/council_news.html. For further information, please contact Aubrie Fowler, advisory council coordinator, via email at aubrie.fowler@noaa.gov; by phone at 805-893-6425; or by mail at NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, Ocean Science Education Building 514, MC 6155, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, 93106.

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1980 to protect marine resources surrounding San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Barbara islands. The sanctuary spans approximately 1,470 square miles, extending from island shorelines to six miles offshore, and encompasses a rich diversity of marine life, habitats, and historical and cultural resources.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and our other social media channels.

On the Web:

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary: http://channelislands.noaa.gov

NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov

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Broad coalition of California fisheries supporters fight the landing tax increase

Thanks to a major team effort lead by Rob Ross and Jonathan Gonzalez, legislators in Sacramento are going to be faced with answering to a letter opposition signed by nearly 50 major fisheries organizations, seafood suppliers and restaurant associations, cities and counties, chambers of commerce and others in maritime industry in California.  CFSB and the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce both signed on early and helped work to get more signatories.

A pdf of the letter is here. The main text is below.

OPPOSE THE 1,300% COMMERCIAL FISHING LANDING TAX INCREASE.

Dear Legislative Leaders:


We are writing to express our opposition to the Budget Change Proposal (BCP) of the Department of Fish and Wildlife that would increase commercial fishing landing taxes on average 13-fold (1,300%), and for many fisheries would exceed that amount (see attached).


The BCP was drafted without input from the seafood industry; they were not consulted before the DFW submitted the tax increase to the Governor. The seafood industry heard about the tax hike when the Governor submitted his budget to the legislature on January 10. Since that time we have learned about the tremendous increases in expenditures by the department that, over the past 5 years, has charged the commercial seafood industry for cost overruns by the department without notifying anyone in the commercial fishing industry. Now they are playing catch up, charging the commercial fishing side of their ledger for costs they cannot explain after taking monies from other programs without revealing any of this to anyone. This is simply wrong.


Since 1992 when landing taxes were last raised, the federal Government has taken over the management and costs associated with management of a majority of the commercial fisheries in California. These are tasks for which the state no longer has primary management responsibility and their costs to industry should be less, not more.


The Dungeness crab season in 2015-16 was declared a disaster by Governor Brown last year due to oceanic conditions. Sea urchin is experiencing harvest losses exceeding 80% of normal due to ocean and environmental conditions. Following poor landings of salmon in 2015 and 2016 due to the effects of drought, we learned recently that a severely restricted salmon season is slated for 2017. The same is true for the sardine fishery, no season in 2015, 2016, and now 2017. The Governor will be asked to declare both fisheries a disaster as well.


The tax increases will not only destroy the economic margins of the fishermen and processors but also have a profound effect on local coastal economies. That is widely recognized by those of us that have signed onto this letter. There are many entities involved in the seafood industry, beyond the fisherman and the processor. The economic driver that is the seafood industry, from Pacific-to-plate, takes more than most people realize.


Fishermen pay for slips in harbors, pay crew, buy fuel, bait, insurance, gear, and ice. They pay for safety gear and health care for captain and crew. They pay mechanics and boat yards. Processors pay the fishermen for their catch, pay their workers to fillet fish, and pay rent on property leased by the port districts. They provide health care for their workers, pay for insurance, compliance with food safety programs, they buy ice machines, cleaning equipment, forklifts, boxes, trucks to deliver fish to restaurants and grocery stores, ship products overseas. Without fish and shellfish, there is no seafood. Without the fishing industry, many ports and harbors and local coastal economies will suffer gravely.


Please oppose the DFW BCP and support America’s first industry and coastal economies that together bring you and all consumers the wide variety of nutritious local fish and shellfish harvested off our coast.


 

Crab Disaster Assistance needs YOUR assistance!

From: Noah Oppenheimer, Executive Director, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations

Subject: Outreach to Congress on crab disaster bill/appropriations

Here is a list of Senators and Members of Congress who need to hear from fishermen, processors, and business owners about fishery disaster assistance. Please share far and wide.

Read more about the status of the Disaster assistance here

I have included names, DC office addresses, relevant staffer emails, and DC office phone numbers. There are two groups: 1) Reps/Senators who are involved in the appropriations process directly, for whom the ask is to support fishery disaster appropriations for the west coast; 2) California members of Congress who represent fishermen or who might want to demonstrate support for working families, for whom the ask is to cosponsor the Speier/Huffman crab disaster assistance bill.

Santa Barbara specific info-

Ask to the Senators: "Support fishery disaster appropriations in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget"

Feinstein’s Staffer: ellen_baron@feinstein.senate.gov, 202-224-3841, Building: 331 Hart SOB

Harris’s Staffer: kevin_chang@harris.senate.gov, 202-224-3553, Building: 112 Hart SOB

Ask to Carbajal: "Cosponsor the Speier/Huffman crab disaster bill and support fishery disaster appropriations in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget"

Carbajal’s: nancy.juarez@mail.house.gov, 202-225-3601, Building: 212 Cannon HOB

Contact info for other districts is here.

Here is my advice for ways to most effectively communicate with these offices:

- For letters: write directly to the Senator/Representative, make it personal, make it 2 pages max, and be specific about what your ask is early in the letter and then repeated again at the end. Address format should look like this (see the spreadsheet for specific addresses):

Senator/Congressman/Congresswoman X

XXXX [Building name] House/Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20515(House)/20510(Senate)

- For phone calls: you will reach an intern who knows nothing. They will log your call and file it into their system. Tell them who you are, why you're calling, what you want the Senator/Representative to do, and answer any questions they have about where you're from (zip code, etc).

-For emails: write a message to the relevant staffer and either explain to them what you want the Senator/Representative to do or write to the staffer and attach a letter written to the Senator/Representative asking them to help. The email can be short, should be polite but firm, and can be personal, emphasizing economic impacts.

Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for your time on this... every little bit counts. If we don't show up, we get nothing.

Thanks,

Noah

Noah Oppenheim
Executive Director
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations
Institute for Fisheries Resources
Cell: 207-233-0400 | Office: 415-561-5080 | Fax: 415-561-5464

NOAA news about shellfish exports to China (including crab and lobster)

May 8, 2017

Live Shellfish to China Updates -

Industry Conference Call 5/10

Steven Wilson, Deputy Director of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection for NOAA Fisheries, has a number of important updates about exporting live shellfish (including crab and all bivalves) to China. We've scheduled two conference calls, one for industry and one for co-managers (tribes and state agencies), to keep you up to date.

If you cannot make this call, please contact Laura Hoberecht at Laura.Hoberecht@noaa.gov or 206-526-4453 and she'll follow up with you after the calls have finished.   

Industry Call Information

Wednesday, May 10, 1:00-2:00 pm (Pacific Time)

888-677-5802

Pass Code: 4247213

Best regards,

Laurel Bryant 

Chief, External Affairs
NOAA Fisheries Communications

Laurel.Bryant@noaa.gov

www.nmfs.noaa.gov

NOAA - Fisheries Service, 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Pacific Fishery Management Council News -- electronic monitoring to replace on board observers

DRAFT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Thursday, April 27, 2017

Contact:     

Jennifer Gilden, Communications Officer, 503-820-2418 (Jennifer.Gilden@noaa.gov)

Brett Wiedoff, Staff Officer, 503-820-2424 (Brett.L.Wiedoff@noaa.gov)

Pacific Fishery Management Council Recommends Electronic Monitoring Program for Some West Coast Groundfish Fisheries

 

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has recommended regulations governing the use of electronic equipment to monitor at-sea discards of target, non-target and prohibited fish for certain West Coast groundfish fisheries. If approved by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), this will mark the culmination of a four-year process to develop and implement regulations for electronic monitoring system use in West Coast groundfish fisheries.

Council Member Dorothy Lowman said, “For many fishing operations, electronic monitoring will provide a more cost-effective way to meet 100% monitoring requirements.  This will allow fishermen the flexibility to choose the monitoring method that makes the most sense for them while maintaining full accountability.”

Under the Council’s catch share program, every vessel must carry a human observer to help monitor catch that is allocated to each vessel owner, including discards that happen at sea. Each owner has a share of the total catch allocation and the program requires that each vessel have “quota pounds” to cover its catch of nearly all groundfish species. The catch share program relies on at-sea monitoring to ensure that discards are accurately identified with an estimated weight so that vessel quotas are properly tracked. However, fishermen must pay as much as $500 per day for an observer, and must schedule deployment of an observer when a vessel is ready to fish. The electronic monitoring program is expected to increase flexibility while reducing operating costs for fishermen. 

An electronic monitoring system collects video images of fishing activity with cameras, uses gear sensors to trigger recording and monitor use, and includes a Global Positioning System to collect location data. It then stores this information on a computer hard drive for review at a later date at a mainland facility, where a person reviews the video to monitor the fishing activity.  Under the West Coast electronic monitoring program, the video images will be used to verify the species and amount of discarded fish that is recorded in a fisherman’s logbook. Observers may still be deployed on vessels to collect scientific data such as fish length measurements, interactions with protected species (marine mammals and seabirds), and other data to support fisheries management.

The use of electronic monitoring systems would be voluntary, and could apply to the midwater trawl fishery for whiting (sometimes called hake), the midwater trawl fishery for rockfish, the bottom trawl fishery, and the fixed gear fishery (which uses longlines with hooks and lines or pots). 

The Council’s decisions were informed by several years of collaborative work with the fishing industry, managers, and others to test electronic monitoring systems using “exempted fishing permits.” An exempted fishing permit allows exemptions from some regulations in order to study the effectiveness, bycatch rate, or other aspects of experimental fishing methods.

“I want to thank the industry and other stakeholders, NMFS West Coast Region, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, and Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission for their help in developing and testing this program, and especially NMFS headquarters for their policy and financial support for establishing the first large scale electronic monitoring regulatory program for U.S. fisheries,” said Council Executive Director Chuck Tracy.

The Council recommends management measures to NMFS for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. It is one of eight regional fishery management councils managing fisheries in US. Federal waters (3-200 miles offshore).

###

A new Southern California Offshore Banks Sanctuary Proposal

In January 2017, a coalition of scientists and conservationists submitted a nomination to NOAA for a new Sanctuary designation in Southern California. See their full submission here.

Map of proposed sanctuary locations

Map of proposed sanctuary locations

Excerpt from the nomination:

"Importantly, this proposal does not recommend the curtailment of these either military or fisheries activities but emphasizes the need to coordinate these offshore activities with national security concerns while prohibiting oil and gas extraction, mining, and other industrial uses."

 

BOEM California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force seeking stakeholder engagement

 Update: see our notes on our meeting with BOEM here

The Task Force is seeking to identify potential areas in federal waters off shore California that may be suitable for off shore renewable energy development. It serves as a forum to:

  • Discuss stakeholder issues and concerns;

  • Exchange data and information about biological and physical resources, ocean uses and priorities; and

  • Facilitate early and continual dialogue and collaboration opportunities.

Download their 2 page information sheet here.

Mike Conroy attended an information session in Sacramento last week about this project. He pointed me to more detailed resources from that session here.

***All interested parties are invited to attend a meeting with the task force on March 15that 5:30pm in the Harbor Community Room***

Email kim@cfsb.info to learn more.

Update on Sea Otter legal battle from Pacific Legal Foundation

Good morning all,

Last Friday, the district court held a hearing on our motion for summary judgment in the sea otter case. As you’ll all undoubtedly recall, there are two cases challenging the termination of the management zone. This is the original one, in which we won the right to challenge the decision in the Ninth Circuit last summer.

Despite Damien’s excellent oral argument, the court ruled against us. That was not unexpected, since the judge’s easiest way to rule in the case was to follow the earlier decision in the other case.

A bright spot in the ruling, however, is that the judge disagreed with the earlier decision on your “standing” to bring the case in federal court. According to the latest decision, standing is clearly satisfied. This is a significant positive step, which should make things easier on appeal.

As we’ve discussed, these cases were always going to the appellate courts, regardless of who won in the district court. So although this decision is disappointing, it’s just a temporary setback and doesn’t change our strategy on appeal. Once the judgment is final, we’ll get the notice of appeal filed. The Ninth Circuit will likely expedite our briefing of the appeal so that both cases can be argued together later this year. That’s where the judge’s ruling that we have standing will particularly come in handy, since it will allow us to focus on the merits of the case in the appeal.

Best regards,

Jonathan Wood

Environmental Attorney

Pacific Legal Foundation

3033 Wilson Blvd.

Arlington, VA 22201

(202) 888-6881

 

PLF Liberty Blog

Articles on SSRN

 

Landing fees may greatly increase next year

Governor Jerry Brown turns to landing fees to close a $20 million budget shortfall. To cope, Brown has proposed to raise commercial fishing landing fees roughly 12-fold with the 2016-17 budget...

See the full story at Undercurrent News here

And an update today that "The California legislative analyst's office (LAO) believes the commercial landing fees increase proposed in the governor's 2016-17 budget "may be too large for the industry to sustain"

The CFSB board has also been told that the fee increase will likely NOT be as high as 12-fold, and that the exact amount could be decided very last minute by the governor.

CFSB will work with other ports to voice opposition to steep increases. Senator Mike McGuire of Marin and Richard Bloom of Santa Monica are part of budget subcommittees that have some influence.

Contact us if you'd like to get involved in communicating our concerns.  We need your help!

Conservation 'Leakage' - the unintended consequence of some fishing regulations

"Case studies of the U.S. swordfish fishery suggest that closures along the U.S. west coast and Hawai’i led to a net worldwide increase in bycatch of sea turtles."

"The new review in the Journal of Marine Policy makes the case that, in some instances, fishing restrictions in the U.S. can lead to unintended consequences by creating a spike in negative impacts elsewhere. The paper’s authors – fishery experts with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), California Sea Grant and the New England Fishery Management Council – compiled evidence that when U.S. fishery production drops, nations with poor environmental track records can end up increasing their catch to meet consumer demand."

Read the full coverage here

And view the scientific article here

Leatherback turtle. Photo courtesy of NOAA