Western Pacific Fishery Council recommendations for sustainable fishingStaff writer ▼ | March 30, 2016
The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council has recommended a suite of measures for the near and offshore fisheries of American Samoa, Hawaii and Guam.
Fishery Recommendations good for fishermen, good for fish
The American Samoa Port Administration has been given $94,000 in funding to support development of a longline vessel dock extension at the Malaloa Marina in Pago Pago Harbour.
This is the second tranche of funding from the Council who has requested that the port administration provide a timeframe for the project.
The Council has also requested that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) provide fishery statistics for the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area waters that have recently been opened to federally permitted, American Samoa-based longline vessels longer than 50 feet in length.
Also recommended was that the NMFS expedite an analysis of the impact of U.S. purse-seine effort limits on American Samoa.
The Council will also investigate potential negative impacts of recently signed free trade agreements to the domestic tuna canning industry.
Concerned about the impacts of planned offshore wind farms on federally managed fisheries, the Council will ask to be included in the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) Hawaii Intergovernmental Task Force.
Hawaii fishermen also face potential closure of fishing grounds in waters off Kaupulehu, on the Big Island. The Council took action calling for an assessment of the impacts of the proposed area closure on the bottomfish fishery and communicating the findings to the state.
Regarding Hawaii’s longline fishery for bigeye tuna, the Council asked NMFS to expedite the administrative rule making processes that allows the US Territories to allocate part of their bigeye tuna quota in the WCPO to the U.S. longline fleet based in Hawaii.
Regarding North Pacific EPO swordfish, the Council was tasked by NMFS to develop domestic measures and international recommendations to address the overfishing of this stock.
The Council asked the Guam Department of Agriculture to review the information available from the enforcement reports on the sea cucumber harvest and report back to the Council in June 2016.
The Department was also asked to include the fishing community in the development of Sport Fish Restoration Program funding proposals, projects and priorities.
The Council staff and Advisory Panel will work with NMFS and the fishing community to develop a regional approach to developing a marine mechanics training and certification program. ■