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NEFMC groundfish actions at June 4th Meeting

555 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  MakoMike
Here is a summary of Council actions on groundfish at the June 4, 2008 meeting in Portland . As always, this summary does not capture the entire discussion. Sound files should be available on our web page in a few days, and motions will be available in about a week. Please send me any questions or corrections, but I will not reply until next week as I will be out of the office.

1. Paul Rago of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center reported preliminary estimates of new biomass and maximum fishing mortality targets. These were developed at a Groundfish Assessment Review Meeting (GARM) last month. Almost all targets changed. In general many biomass targets decreased, most MSY values decreased, and maximum fishing mortality targets changed in both directions. Some of the changes suggest that the resources are less productive than thought. How these changes impact rebuilding programs is not yet clear. The actual numbers are in a memo from the NEFSC that is in the groundfish meeting materials on our website. The report should be published at this web page when it it completed:, but it was not there as of Thursday morning.

Paul also presented preliminary estimates of stock size and fishing mortality in 2006. Based on this information, the NEFSC expressed concern that the draft effort control measures for A16 did not appear to be headed in the right direction; that is, they did not appear to be targeting the correct stocks. This led to a Council discussion over whether the draft document should be taken to public hearings this summer. Ultimately, the Council decided it made more sense to wait until the GARM assessment results are received (September 200
, design appropriate measures, and then take a document to public hearing. George Darcy , representing the Northeast Regional Office, concurred that this seemed to be a reasonable approach.

Given this decision, Amendment 16 may not (others will say "won't") be implemented by May 1, 2009. There was some discussion about what this would mean. At present, there is a planned 18 percent reduction in Category A DAS that will occur unless very stringent stock conditions are met (these are unlikely to be met given what we currently know). The Eastern US/CA Haddock SAP also expires. It is also possible that NMFS/Secretary of Commerce may implement an interim or emergency action if the agency determines it is necessary. This could result in different management measures at the start of fishing year 2009.

The tentative schedule for A16 dvelopment is:

June/July 2008: Groundfish Committee meeting(s) to work on sector monitoring, other reporting issues; revisit recreational/commercial allocation decisions (see below); and other issues

August 4: GARM III final assessment meeting

Mid-Late August: PDT review preliminary GARM III results and impact on rebuilding plans

Early September: Council meeting to receive GARM III report, AP reports, PDT reports, begin measure development

Early September: AP and RAP meetings

Mid-September: Committee meeting to develop measures

October 3-5: Council approve measures for DEIS

October: PDT complete DEIS

November: Council approve DEIS for public hearing

January 2009: Public hearings

February 2009: Council final decision on A16

March/April 2009: Submit document to NMFS

September-December 2009 (est.) Implementation
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