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A New Strong Voice
with a
Very Old Mission

2702 Denali St., Suite 100
Anchorage, AK 99503

Protecting Fisheries
Access to Small GOA
Coastal Communities

 (907) 561-7633
goaccc@alaska.net

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News
This site revised on November 3, 2011



The GOAC3 does not necessarily endorse any of the calendar events posted to
our web site. They are offered as information only.

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The North Pacific Council's Newsletter for December 2011 is now available:
Click here for newsletter

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GOAC3 SCORES A VICTORY AT COUNCIL
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council approves
less restrictive CQE vessel cap limits

After several years of resistance the North Pacific Fishery Management Council finally approved, with unanimous support, to change the CQE vessel cap so that no vessel may have more than 50,000 pounds of quota from a CQE but leaving the total amount of halibut quota that can be carried to be determined by the overall program vessel cap. 

At a February 2009 CQE workshop the 50,000 pound vessel cap limit was identified as a priority for change.  The CQE program as currently written does not allow more than 50,000 pounds of halibut to be fished on a vessel if any of that Quota is from a CQE.  Many GOA communities and CQE’s reported to GOAC3 that this is too restrictive and for some communities really presents a serious barrier for their fishery based community development plans.  An example of one community development model that a CQE community might adopt would have the CQE leasing quota to entry level fishermen who might not even own an appropriate vessel as yet and who, therefore, will seek to find an existing halibut or sablefish vessel to go on as crew.  But coming on board an IFQ halibut vessel with CQE quota means that the vessel cannot at any time during the year bring on board more than 50,000 pounds of halibut and that is a serious impediment.  First, if the vessel already has enough IFQ pounds that they have fished or plan to fish such that that CQE poundage would take them over the 50,000 pound cap then it is a non-starter.  But even if it didn’t it means that vessel cannot, at any time during the rest of the season, buy or lease quota that would take them over the 50,000 cap. 

The Council recognized that this was a much greater restriction than anyone else in the IFQ program must face and that it might reduce the flexibility that small communities need to develop long-term plans for effectively using the CQE Program to rebuild their fishery based socioeconomic foundations.

The Council chose alternative 2 (See the Council’s analytical document) and added a problem statement.

The motion in its entirety is included below and is the Councils recommendation to the Secretary of Commerce for his approval.  

Council Final Motion
GOA Amendment 94: Revising Community Quota Entity (CQE) vessel use caps

October 2, 2011

The Council recommends adopting Alternative 2 as its preferred alternative:
Alternative 2. Revise current regulations such that:

  • No vessel may be used, during any fishing year, to harvest more than 50,000 lbs of IFQ halibut derived from quota share held by a CQE; and no vessel may be used, during any fishing year, to harvest more than 50,000 lbs of IFQ sablefish derived from quota share held by a CQE.
  • The vessel would also be subject to the same vessel use caps applicable in the overall IFQ Program.

The Council also moved the following problem statement:

CQE communities were approved by the Council in 2002 to provide Gulf of Alaska communities with an opportunity to mitigate the migration of halibut and sablefish quota shares from their communities. The Council sought a distribution of benefits among community residents from CQE activities by imposing CQE individual and vessel use caps. The CQE Program currently limits fishing CQE quota to vessels that fish less than 50,000 lbs of quota – both CQE quota and non- CQE quota. The CQE vessel limitation eliminates the opportunity for community residents awarded CQE quota from fishing on a vessel that has or will fish more than 50,000 lbs of quota, even if it is the only vessel available in a community. In addition, the rule restricts the option for several residents awarded CQE quota from combining their quota on a vessel if the cumulative quota, both CQE and non-CQE, exceeds 50,000 lbs. These restrictions limit CQE use opportunities and may inhibit some CQE purchases. Changing the CQE vessel use cap will ease vessel use restrictions and thereby provide additional opportunities for CQE use and purchase.

Chuck McCallum, as a member of the Councils Advisory Panel (AP), made a similar motion at the AP and after a good discussion during which many concerns and questions were addressed a vote of 17 in favor and zero against was cast.  This strong endorsement from the representatives of industry gave Council member Duncan Fields a strong foundation from which to make his own supportive arguments during Council deliberations and in the end the Council also voted unanimously to support the motion. 

This single change will not, in itself, create the changes needed to make the CQE program a success for our communities and GOAC3 will continue to work on all fronts to bring back access to the fishery resources which rationalization programs of various kinds have caused to migrate away.  Nevertheless, after several years of resistance to this issue it is with considerable satisfaction that we see this amendment to the CQE program move forward.

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GOAC3 supports Adak’s efforts to become a CQE community
At the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council meeting of September 26 – October 4, the Council refined elements and options found in the Council’s analytical document   (http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/PDFdocuments/halibut/4B_CQE811.pdf) and the Council motion can be found at: http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/PDFdocuments/rural_outreach/CQE_4Bmotion1011.pdf.  Council final action on whether Adak should be a new CQE community has been scheduled for the Councils meeting in December. 

It is interesting that the Council kept alive an option that The Adak CQE “may lease to non-residents for a limited period of five years after the effective date of implementation of the program. After that time, the CQE must lease QS to residents of the community it represents.”  This is similar to proposals that GOAC3 attempted to get enacted for Gulf of Alaska CQE’s to try to encourage people to return to the village but all of our attempts were rejected.  It is being argued that Adak’s unique history (Aleuts forcibly removed during World War II) is the reason for the difference but perhaps if this option is adopted by Council in December it might just change the dynamic for the Gulf community argument. 

The Council also effectively killed an option to ‘fish up’ IPHC area 4B Halibut D share (small vessel) quota on larger vessels.  In doing so they sided against the CDQ group APICDA and agreed with the strong testimony from Adak representatives who wanted to retain the lower priced entry level opportunities for Adak community residents. 

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The Councils Rural Outreach Committee Report from it’s Meeting of September 2011 http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/PDFdocuments/rural_outreach/RCOCreport911.pdf

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Council Proposed Groundfish TAC’s
Council Proposed GOA Groundfish Over fishing Limits (OFL), Allowed Biological Catch (ABC), and Target Allowed Catch (TAC)  Recommendations (in metric tons) for 2012-2013 can be found at:  http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/PDFdocuments/GOASpecs1011.pdf

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Alaska Halibut Catch Share Proposal Still Cooking (10/13). 
The National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS” or “NOAA Fisheries”) recently took a step back from promulgation of a final rule that would have implemented a highly controversial catch sharing plan allocating the lucrative Pacific halibut fishery in southeast and south central Alaska between commercial, sport and subsistence fishermen. The controversy has aggravated tensions between charter boat and fishing lodge owners, Alaskan residents, the tourism industry, and commercial fishermen, many of whom are based in ports in the Pacific Northwest outside Alaska. Citing its initial review of over 4,100 comments on a proposed rule that would have implemented the catch sharing plan, a NMFS official told the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (“Council” or “NPFMC”) at its September meeting that the comments raised technical and policy issues that require additional input from the Council before the agency can move forward with a final rule. These issues include concerns about economic impacts, management at lower levels of halibut abundance, and methods for charter boat operators to lease fishing rights from commercial fishermen. Glenn Merrill, head of NMFS’ Alaska Region division of sustainable fisheries, told the Council that the agency is “still moving forward with the rule-making process, but we are getting some issues clarified and refining the rule based on public comments and additional Council input.”[1] NMFS indefinitely postponed implementation of the plan, throwing the management of the 2012 fishing season into doubt. In a related action, the Council also voted to delay action on potential decreases to the amount of allowable bycatch of halibut for the commercial trawl and longline fisheries.[2]

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Murkowski, Begich to fight 'Frankenfish'  (10/20). 
Alaska’s U.S. Senators filed two separate pieces of legislation in a pincer movement to crush the production of genetically engineered salmon in the U.S.

Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, is working to ban interstate commerce of engineered salmon through his Prevention of Escapement of Genetically Altered Salmon in the United States Act, released on Oct. 17. On the same day, Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced an amendment to the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would “prohibit funds from being used by the Federal Drug Administration to approve applications for genetically engineered fish, or ‘Frankenfish’,” according to a joint press release from the senators.

Alaska’s senators, among others, use the term ‘Frankenfish’ to describe genetically engineered fish, playing off the writer Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein’s monster, a creature stitched together and animated from parts of multiple corpses. Shelly’s monster, which was a comment on the hubris and ambition of modern industrial man, escapes its creator’s control.

Full Juneau Empire Article at:
http://juneauempire.com/local/2011-10-20/murkowski-begich-fight-frankenfish#.TqGXlnJNKlc

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NPFMC.  Salmon Fishery Management Plan  (10/19). 
Final action is set for the December meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Anchorage on the council’s revised salmon fishery management plan.

This comes in the wake of the council’s review of the initial review draft analysis of options to revise and update the plan during its fall meeting at Unalaska. The council chose to retain alternative 3 as its preferred preliminary alternative, which it adopted in April of this year. That preferred preliminary alternative modifies the plan to exclude from its scope the three historical net commercial salmon fishing areas in the west area excusive economic zone, and to maintain the prohibition on commercial salmon fishing in the remaining west area. The sport fishery in the west area would also be removed from the scope of the plan. The plan would remain in effect in the east area exclusive economic zone, and the state would continue to manage the commercial salmon troll and sport fisheries in federal waters under delegated management authority, the council said.
http://fnonlinenews.blogspot.com/2011/10/salmon-fishery-management-plan.html

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