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A New Strong Voice
with a
Very Old Mission

P.O. Box 201236
Anchorage, AK 99520

Protecting Fisheries
Access to Small GOA
Coastal Communities

 (907) 561-7633
Toll free: 1-866-561-7633
Fax: 907-561-7634

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This site revised on August 19, 2009



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

Alaska's Trade Adjustment Assistance Updates

2008 What's New Archive          2007 What's New Archive
 2006 What's New Archive          2005 What's New Archive

 2004 What's New Archive         2003 What's New Archive


Feds give sea otters habitat protection in Alaska
Thursday October 8, 2009

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Four years after being placed on the Endangered Species List, the dwindling sea otters of southwest Alaska on Wednesday were given an important recovery tool. Click here for full story

President Obama's Inter-agency Ocean Policy Task Force

President Obama’s Inter-agency Ocean Policy Task Force has published its Interim Report, which is currently in a 30-day review period.

The Task Force’s home page is here http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans/, where you’ll see information on upcoming meetings, live webcasts for said meetings, etc.

The Interim Report page is herehttp://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans/interimreport/, where you’ll find both the report and the comment form.

Most interesting, perhaps, is that other people’s comments are available to be viewed on this page, as well. You can see how others are responding to the draft report.

Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee To Meet September 9-11 in Anchorage, AK

The Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee will hold its 14th meeting September 9-11, 2009, at the Hilton Hotel in Anchorage, AK. The meeting will focus on the completion of draft recommendations developed by Subcommittees (Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and Review and Evaluation Subcommittee) for deliberation and action by the full Committee. The Committee will hear two expert panel presentations, one on how the national system can contribute to ecological resilience in the face of climate change, and one including invited management agencies and stakeholders on marine protected areas in Alaska.

The meeting is open to any interested individuals, and there are two public comment periods scheduled. The meeting agenda can be found at www.mpa.gov. Please contact with any questions.

 

Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Website
Monday, July 27, 2009 7:57 PM

In order to better meet our Nation’s stewardship responsibilities for the oceans, coasts and Great Lakes, President Obama created an Interagency Task Force on Ocean Policy on June 12, 2009.

The Task Force is led by the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the other members are composed of senior-level officials from the agencies, departments and offices on the existing Committee on Ocean Policy. (See below).

The Task Force has been instructed to provide its recommendations in 90 days for the first three issue areas and 120 days for the last.

The Task Force seeks input on its work from interested communities, governments, tribes, businesses, associations, non-governmental organizations and from the general public.  If you would like to provide comments, please click here.

We ask that you focus your comments on the issues set forth in the President’s Memorandum:
National policy for oceans and for coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems; Ocean governance framework; Implementation Strategy to meet the objectives of the national policy; and Coastal and marine spatial planning.

In addition, please feel free to include information about the impact of significant emerging issues on your area of expertise or concern, like climate change or offshore renewable energy development; on jobs and the economics of your business or activity; and any experience you have with current policies and programs—with an emphasis on specific suggestions for improvement where possible.

Please note, that to meet the ambitious timeframe outlined in the President’s Memorandum, the Task Force will build upon the work of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission. These reports, appendices and the extensive public engagement and records will serve as important foundations for the work of the Ocean Policy Task Force.

Christina Freundlich
The White House Council on Environmental Quality
202.456.1016        

National - NOAA Restoration Center Announces Three Funding Opportunities


The NOAA Restoration Center is accepting applications for several habitat restoration funding opportunities through its Community-based Restoration Program:

  • NOAA Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration National and Regional Partnerships

NOAA will fund a new round of three-year national and regional partnerships, which will invest funding in the restoration of coastal and marine habitat nationwide from 2010-2012. Applications are due September 30, 2009. Additional information is available online, or contact .

  • Community-based Marine Debris Removal Projects

NOAA provides funding to projects that will benefit coastal and marine habitats through the removal of marine debris, particularly non-re-accumulating debris or debris that is no longer being introduced into the marine environment. Applications are due October 31, 2009. Additional information is available online, or contact .

  • Open Rivers Initiative

NOAA provides funds for dam and river barrier removal projects that aim to repair vital river ecosystems, enhance populations of migratory fish, and benefit local communities. Applications are due November 16, 2009. More information is available online, or contact .
Projects should feature strong on-the-ground habitat restoration components, as well as social and economic benefits for the impacted communities. For more information, contact the Community-based Restoration Program's Program Manager, Robin Bruckner, at 301-713-0174 x208 or .

2009 Report on International Agreements for Marine Resources Now Available

The 2009 version of International Agreements Concerning Living Marine Resources of Interest to NOAA Fisheries is available from NOAA Fisheries' Office of International Affairs. It is a useful resource for anyone interested in an overview of the international agreements that influence the work of NOAA Fisheries in fulfilling its mission to manage and conserve living marine resources.The report is available at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ia/. If you would like a hard copy, please contact Melanie King at 301-713-9090, x127.

New Online Forum at Regulations.gov

The eRulemaking Program, a federal E-Government project led by the Environmental Protection Agency, is offering a new online forum called Regulations.gov Exchange. Regulations.gov is the one-stop, online source for citizens to search, view and comment on regulations issued by the U.S. government. Interested members of the public can explore new features for Regulations.gov, post opinions, engage directly with other users and with eRulemaking program staff. Regulations.gov Exchange will be open for public participation until July 21, 2009. Regulations.gov Exchange is designed to include citizens in the development of a major government-wide Web site.The public feedback will shape on-going updates of Regulations.gov, explore the impact of emerging Internet technologies on the federal rulemaking process, foster government-citizen collaboration, and promote government transparency and openness. In 2008, Regulations.gov received more than 110 million hits and 450,000 comments on new or existing regulations.It holds 2 million documents from more than 160 federal entities

. For more information, visit http://www.regulations.gov/exchange.

Salmon Quality for Fishermen Videos available for viewing online or by order

To help both veteran fishermen and greenhorns alike, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program has released a series of nine videos on improving salmon quality. The videos were produced with gillnet fishermen in mind, but much of the information will be valuable to all gear types.

The videos cover topics including quality, boat setup, fishing practices, product handling, chilling, dressing and pressure bleeding, unloading product, and cleaning and sanitizing.

All of the videos are available free online. Single copies of the videos on DVD are free for as long as the supply lasts. For more information, contact the Marine Advisory Program at 907-274-9691, or visit MAP online.

North Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting

June 1-9 Anchorage Hilton North Pacific Fishery Fishery Management Council Meeting Agenda is now posted online.

http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/Agendas/609Agenda.pdf

NOAA Reduces Charter Halibut Catch

Long-term solution is catch share program
In a new rule released today, NOAA’s Fisheries Service reduced the number of halibut that charter vessel anglers in southeast Alaska can keep each day from two to one to protect the halibut stock.
“While today’s rule addresses an immediate need to better manage the charter halibut fishery,  we believe the long-term solution to sustainably managing the fishery is for the charter halibut fishery to join with the commercial halibut fishery in a catch share program,” said Doug Mecum, acting regional administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service in Alaska.  “Catch share programs that allocate the total allowable catch to participants in the fishery give a strong incentive to fishermen to conserve fish stocks.”

Halibut fishing along the Pacific Coast is managed under overall limits set for each fishing area.  Sport charter halibut fishermen in Southeast Alaska have exceeded their assigned harvest levels for several years. 

NOAA Press Release: http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/newsreleases/2009/
charterhalibut050609.htm

NOAA Guided Sport Halibut Management home page:
http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/halibut/charters.htm

Federal Register Notice: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-10337.htm

Comment by June 5 on Halibut Sport Charter Limited Access Proposed Rule
Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Limited Access for Guided Sport Charter Vessels in Alaska
ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations that would implement a limited access system for charter vessels in the guided sport fishery for Pacific halibut in waters of International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Regulatory Areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska). If approved, this limited access system would limit the number
of charter vessels that may participate in the guided sport fishery for halibut in these areas. NMFS would issue a charter halibut permit to a licensed charter fishing business owner based on his or her past participation in the charter halibut fishery for halibut and to a Community Quota Entity representing specific rural communities. All charter halibut permit holders would be subject to limits on the number of permits they could hold and on the number of charter vessel anglers who could catch and retain halibut on their charter vessels. This action is necessary to achieve the halibut fishery management goals of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. The intended effect is to curtail growth of fishing capacity in the guided sport fishery for halibut…

DATES: Written comments must be received by June 5, 2009.
Federal Register Notice http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/ E9-9110.htm

New Online Videos on Gillnet Salmon Quality

MAP media specialist Deborah Mercy produced nine short videos for Alaska salmon gillnetters, to help maintain the high quality of their product. The videos are downloadable at http://www.marineadvisory.org. They demonstrate methods used by Alaska drift and set net fishermen, including boat setup, fishing practices, onboard product handling, pressure bleeding, dressing, chilling, unloading, and cleanup, and include footage from several fisheries in Alaska. They will be available on DVD and can be ordered from Alaska Sea Grant at no charge for a single copy.

NOAA FISHERIES OPENS COMMENTS ON PROPOSAL LIMITING CHARTER HALIBUT BOATS NOAA

Fisheries has opened comment on a proposed program designed to limit the number of charter boats in the guided sport halibut fishery in Southeast Alaska and the central Gulf of Alaska. “The guided sport charter halibut sector has been growing steadily in recent years,” said Acting Regional Administrator Doug Mecum. “The proposed limited access program is intended to stabilize the guided charter sector while maintaining access to the halibut charter fishery for small rural coastal communities."

Click here for more information

Click here for proposed rule

Alaska and Pacific Coast - Final Rule Outlines Management Measures for Halibut

NOAA Fisheries Service, on behalf of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), has published a final rule outlining 2009 management measures. The IPHC held its annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, on January 12-16, 2009, and adopted regulations including: new halibut catch limits in all regulatory areas; new commercial halibut fishery opening dates; revisions of regulations regarding possession of Area 4 halibut on a vessel with a Vessel Monitoring System; exemption of possession limits for transport of sport-caught halibut and clarification of possession limit language; and a revised catch sharing plan and 2009 recreational management measures for Area 2A (waters off the U.S. Pacific Coast).

For more information, read the final rule or contact ( Alaska) or (West Coast).

NOAA has formally made a rule requiring a national salt water angler registry.

This requires all persons fishing in federal waters to get a license, or to have a state license that provides adequate information. This has aroused much local opposition among those who reject any governmental right to limit their fishing, but it is a necessary step in bringing recreational fishing - often greater than commercial fishing on some species - under proper management. Click here for more information

Alaska - NOAA Proposes Rule to Reduce Charter Halibut Catch

2C ONLY

NOAA Fisheries Service has proposed reducing the number of halibut that charter vessel anglers in southeast Alaska can keep, from two each day to one, in order to protect halibut stocks. Charter halibut operators in southeast Alaska waters have exceeded their guideline harvest level of 1.43 million pounds for the past four years.

This proposed rule would allow each charter vessel client to use only one fishing line, and no more than six lines targeting halibut would be allowed on a charter vessel at one time. The rule would prohibit guides and crew from catching and retaining halibut while charter halibut clients are on board. Public comment on the new proposed rule is open through Jan. 21, 2009. After considering public comment, NOAA expects to publish a final rule in the spring of 2009.

IPHC 2009 HALIBUT TAC AND REGS.pdf

For more information, visit http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

NOAA has formally made a rule requiring a national salt water angler registry.

This requires all persons fishing in federal waters to get a license, or to have a state license that provides adequate information. This has aroused much local opposition among those who reject any governmental right to limit their fishing, but it is a necessary step in bringing recreational fishing - often greater than commercial fishing on some species - under proper management. Click here for more information

Marine Science Symposium - Showcasing Ocean Research in the Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea, and Gulf of Alaska

2009 Symposium: January 19-23 Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage, Alaska Featuring plenary sessions on the latest research happening in the Arctic, Bering Sea/Aleutians, and Gulf of Alaska, as well as exciting keynote speakers, poster presentations, events for students, and much more. Click here for more information

NOAA PROPOSES RULE TO REDUCE CHARTER HALIBUT CATCH

NOAA today proposed reducing the number of halibut that charter vessel anglers in southeast Alaska can keep, from two each day to one.

“Sport charter fishing has grown in southeast Alaska while halibut abundance has decreased,” said Doug Mecum, NOAA’s Fisheries Service acting regional administrator for Alaska. "We’re proposing to reduce the charter halibut catch to protect the halibut resource."

The proposed rule, which would take effect this spring, would allow each charter vessel client to use only one fishing line, and no more than six lines targeting halibut would be allowed on a charter vessel at one time. The rule would prohibit guides and crew from catching and retaining halibut while charter halibut clients are on board.

NOAA’s Fisheries Service put a similar rule in place last spring, but sport charter halibut operators challenged it on procedural grounds and the agency withdrew the rule.

Public comment on the proposed rule is open through January 21, 2009. After considering public comment, NOAA expects to publish a final rule in the spring of 2009. To read the proposed rule and see how to submit comments, go to http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/halibut/charters.htm.

Charter halibut operators in southeast Alaska waters have exceeded their guideline harvest level of 1.43 million pounds for the past four years. The actual sport charter harvest was 1.75 million pounds in 2004, 1.95 million pounds in 2005, 1.86 million pounds in 2006, and 1.92 million pounds in 2007. The guideline harvest level dropped to 0.93 million pounds for 2008. Managers expect that it will have been exceeded for 2008 when the harvest numbers are final.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission, with representatives from the U.S. and Canada, annually estimates halibut abundance in each halibut fishing area along the Pacific Coast. NOAA’s Fisheries Service, in cooperation with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, establishes the charter vessel guideline harvest levels based on the commission’s abundance estimates.

The commission annually establishes the commercial halibut fishery catch limits in each area, taking into account charter vessel harvests and other sources of halibut mortality in order to protect the halibut resource from overharvest.

The commission has reduced the commercial halibut catch in southeast Alaska from nearly 11 million pounds annually between 2004 and 2006 to just over six million pounds for 2008. The final commercial harvest level for 2009, proposed at four and a half million pounds, will be set by the International Pacific Halibut Commission in January.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit http://www.noaa.gov.

Deadline to Apply for Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council Seats Extended to February 13, 2009

The deadline to apply for seats on the 10 Regional Advisory Councils that advise the Federal Subsistence Board has been extended. The Office of Subsistence Management is now accepting applications through February 13, 2009. Click here for more information

Alaska Sea Grant is helping organize the symposium A Sustainable Future: Fish Processing Byproducts

Feb. 25 - 26, 2009 in Portland, Ore. The goal of the symposium is to stimulate development of lucrative new products from seafood byproducts. Abstracts are due Nov. 15. For more information contact Sherri Pristash at 6701 or or visit http://seagrant.uaf.edu/conferences/index.html.

Alaska Seafood Processing Leadership Institute 2008

ASPLI is three intensive training modules focusing on seafood processing, global seafood markets, the business of seafood processing, regulatory and personnel issues, leadership and work with a professional mentor in your plant. It also includes a 5 day tour of the International Boston Seafood Show and other plants in the Northeast. www.marineadvisory.org/aspli

Alaska - Final Rule to Reduce Salmon Bycatch in Groundfish Fisheries

A new rule amends regulations governing salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This new rule will enhance the effectiveness of salmon bycatch measures by means of an intercooperative agreement that establishes a dynamic system of area restrictions based on real-time information on where salmon populations are concentrated. Pollock vessels will be exempted from the Chinook and Chum Salmon Savings Area closures if they participate in the intercooperative agreement ( ICA) to reduce salmon bycatch. Further, vessels participating in nonpollock trawl fisheries would be exempted from Chum Salmon Savings Area closures because these fisheries intercept minimal amounts of salmon. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

For further information, please contact Jason Anderson, 907�586�7228, or .

North Pacific � Final Rule Restricts Halibut Harvest on Guided Sport Charter Vessels

NOAA Fisheries has issued a final rule to restrict the harvest of halibut by persons fishing on a guided sport charter vessel in International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Regulatory Area 2C. The current sport fishing catch or bag limit of two halibut per day is changed for a person sport fishing on a charter vessel in Area 2C. The final rule now requires at least one of the two fish taken in a day to be no more than 32 inches in length. This regulatory change is necessary to reduce the halibut harvest in the charter vessel sector while minimizing negative impacts on this sector, its sport fishing clients, and the coastal communities that serve as home ports for the fishery. The intended effect of this action is a reduction in the poundage of halibut harvested by the guided sport charter vessel sector in Area 2C.

For more information, contact .

National - Chairman of House Natural Resources Committee to Introduce Bill to Promote Offshore Aquaculture

Representative Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has announced that he will introduce the Administration's bill to help establish an offshore aquaculture industry. The announcement came during a tour of the Mingo County Fish Hatchery in Pie, WV where Rahall and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez discussed the Bush Administration's efforts to expand the $1 billion U.S. industry into federal waters under the National Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2007.

This legislation would create a regulatory framework for safe, sustainable aquaculture (fish and shellfish farming) in U.S. federal waters. It includes requirements to ensure that offshore aquaculture proceeds in an environmentally responsible manner, protects wild fish stocks and the quality of marine ecosystems, and is compatible with other uses of the marine environment.

For more information on this announcement, read the Department of Commerce news release or visit www.aquaculture.noaa.gov.

National - Executive Steering Committee Established to Guide Recreational Statistics Redesign

A committee of fisheries managers and scientists from NOAA Fisheries, the interstate marine fisheries commissions, and the regional fishery management councils has been established to lead an upgrade of NOAA's recreational fishing statistics program.  The structure and charge of the group, known as the Executive Steering Committee, was outlined in the Development Plan released publicly last month. Within the next several weeks, the Committee will review the effort's proposed governance structure, establish an operations team and develop a list of possible members, and begin setting milestones and timelines for issue specific work groups. The recently reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act gave NOAA Fisheries until January 2009 to implement an improved recreational data program.

Members of the executive Steering Committee include: John Boreman (NOAA Fisheries – Office of Science and Technology), Randy Fisher (Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission), Bob Fletcher (NOAA's Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee and a recreational fisherman), Doug Mecum (NOAA Fisheries – Alaska Regional Office), Vince O'Shea (Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission), Kitty Simonds (Western Pacific Fishery Management Council), Larry Simpson (Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission), and Nancy Thompson (NOAA Fisheries – Northeast Fisheries Science Center). Tom Gleason (NOAA Fisheries – Management and Budget) will serve as an ex offico member. An additional member may be added to represent the Caribbean region.

For more information, please visit the Office of Science and Technology's Website.

New Magnuson-Stevens Act Webpage Created

NOAA Fisheries has created a new webpage for materials related to the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The page currently contains a draft "redline" version of the new MSA, as well as statements and press releases related to the reauthorization. The site will be revised regularly to include fact sheets, notices of upcoming public comment periods, and updates on MSA implementation. The address is: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/msa2007/.

 

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