2008 Issues, Initiatives & Projects

Implementation of Amendment 80: Amendment 80 was adopted by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) in June 2006 and was implemented starting with the 2008 fishing year. This action allocates several Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) non-pollock trawl groundfish species among trawl fishery sectors, and facilitates the formation of harvesting cooperatives in the non-American Fisheries Act (non-AFA) trawl catcher/processor sector.

Annual Skipper’s Meeting: Each year before fishing begins on January 20, the Groundfish Forum convenes a Skipper’s Meeting to inform captains of any changes in the fisheries for the upcoming year.  The meeting in 2008 was dedicated to the changes in the fisheries due to the implementation of Amendment 80 and Amendment 85.

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certification for Flatfish: The MSC developed an environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. In 2006, Groundfish Forum and other members of the industry who fish for Pacific cod and flatfish in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) and the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) hired the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF) and Moody Marine to begin the process of assessing these fisheries for the pre-assessment phase of the MSC. In 2007, the pre-assessment was completed for flatfish (yellowfin sole, flathead sole, rock sole and arrowtooth flounder). In 2008, cod and flatfish moved into the full assessment process. The certification will be for the Best Use Cooperative (BUC) (currently the Alaska Seafood Cooperative) member companies Pacific cod and flatfish products.

Marine Conservation Alliance (MCA): MCA is an Alaska non-profit organization formed by conservation minded Alaska and North Pacific coastal residents, communities, fixed and mobile gear fishermen, vessel owners and crew, processors, fishing organizations, support industries, western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) organizations, consumers and others who are directly and indirectly involved in the North Pacific (Alaska) groundfish fisheries. In 2008, Groundfish Forum Executive Director Lori Swanson became the Chair of the Dues Committee.

North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Advisory Panel (AP): Lori Swanson was reappointed to the Council AP as the Co-Vice Chair for another 3 years. The AP consists of 21 members representing a wide spectrum of interests. Their function as advisers to the Council centers on policy development and the practicality of proposed measures for the management of fishery resources.

Freezer Longline Cooperative: Groundfish Forum and its members signed a letter of support to Maria Cantwell, Chairman of the subcommittee over fisheries issues, for a Freezer Longliner cooperative.

Gear Modification: Dr. Craig Rose of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering Division (RACE) continued his work with fishermen on research into habitat impact on their fishing grounds. This has included both investigating damage to invertebrates on the seafloor and into different sweepline structures to reduce bottom contact.

Amendment 80 Vessel Replacement: Groundfish Forum members worked with Jensen Maritime to illustrate a range of vessel sizes and vessel capacity to demonstrate to Congress and the Council the realistic vessel size needed for replacement vessels in the Amendment 80 sector.

Atka Mackerel Research Symposium: In April, the Fisheries Interaction Team (FIT) of the Status of Stocks and Multispecies Assessment (SSMA) Program hosted a symposium on Atka mackerel research at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) in Seattle, WA. Lori Swanson and Groundfish Forum member Todd Loomis gave presentations on the Amendment 80 sector and how it operates.

GOA Crab and Salmon Bycatch Around Kodiak, AK: John Gauvin of Gauvin and Associates worked with Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC) and the smaller trawlers to come up with an agreement that vessels would not fish within a particular prescribed area without observers on board in an attempt to reduce crab and salmon bycatch around Kodiak.

American Fisheries Society (AFS) 138th Annual Meeting in Ottawa: The AFS is the oldest & largest professional society for fisheries scientists in the world and is composed of 9000+ members from around the world. Its mission is to advance sound science, promote professional development, and disseminate science‐based fisheries information for the global protection, conservation, and sustainability of  fisheries resources and aquatic ecosystems. Lori Swanson attended on behalf of the Marine Conservation Alliance and presented a poster on the progress of Amendment 80.

Notice of Proposed Issuance National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Number AKG524000: Groundfish Forum (GFF) provided comments on this proposal because it found the requirements on GFF vessels as operators of seafood processors that operate and discharge seafood processing waste outside one nautical mile from shore to be excessive and overly burdensome. GFF also offered to work with the EPA to develop a Final NPDES Permit that was feasible for industry compliance and met the Clean Water Act requirements.

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