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NPFMC June Meeting in Nome Wraps Up Bering Sea halibut and salmon bycatch decisions


SSUE NO. 1/ JUNE 2014
Tuesday, June 10th 2014
Yesterday the North Pacific Fishery Management Council wrapped up their June meeting in Nome, AK. Western Alaska was a perfect place to celebrate Council Chair Eric Olson's last meeting. Eric has been a fantastic chair and he will be missed by all. As AMCC's Theresa Peterson said in her testimony to the Council on Sunday: "It's rare that a Council member is missed by everybody," but in this case it's true.


Bycatch was a major issue at the meeting, and action on Bering Sea salmon and halibut bycatch took the bulk of the Council's time. In both cases, directed users are facing severe restrictions on their subsistence and commercial harvests while bycatch limits have gone unchanged.

Nome was the fitting location for the Council to hear about the impact of salmon shortages, and the need to reduce bycatch, with heartfelt testimony from over twenty people. The Council took these concerns, and the crisis-level declines in Chinook salmon populations, to heart. On Saturday they voted unanimously to initiate an analysis looking at five options for reducing bycatch, one of which involves lowering the "performance standard" from 47,591 to 36,700 or 19,000. The performance standard is the number the pollock fishery manages their bycatch to, so this change would have a big impact. Unfortunately, the motion does not address the overall cap, which currently stands at 60,000 Chinook salmon. A coalition of Western Alaska tribal groups asked the Council to reduce this cap to 20,000 fish. For more on the Council's decisions regarding salmon bycatch, listen to this KNOM piece.

The Council also decided to take steps to reduce halibut bycatch, initiating a regulatory amendment package that includes options for reducing the current halibut bycatch (PSC) caps by a range of 10-35% for each fishery sector, and for implementing new deck sorting procedures which would result in more halibut caught as bycatch in the A.80 sector being released alive. The Council asked industry to start immediately by voluntarily reducing bycatch by 10% from current levels in the upcoming year. With halibut catch limits for directed users in the Bering Sea being dramatically reduced in response to declines in halibut, this attention to bycatch is an important step. For more on the halibut bycatch actions, read this Alaska Journal of Commerce article.

Full motions from the Council meeting are available via links from the Council agenda here. A newsletter describing all the actions will be posted on the NPFMC's website in the next week.

Clean Up Anchorage's Coastline June 22nd
AMCC Partners with Anchorage Coastal Cleanup for 2014 cleanup efforts
Friday, June 6th 2014

Join us for the Anchorage Coastal Cleanup at Lyn Ary Park and Point Woronzoff from 10am to 12pm on Sunday, June 22nd. Last year, volunteers collected over 6,000 pieces of trash from our beaches in just 2 hours. This year, let's get it all! 

Bring your friends, family, co-workers, and children for a morning of beach cleaning, cookie eating, and trash art making sponsored by the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, the Alaska Ocean Observing System, and the Anchorage Waterways Council.

Come prepared to get a bit dirty - boots and work gloves are recommended. We will have extra gloves available too. We will primarily gather at the beach below Lyn Ary Park. However, volunteers are also needed to collect trash at Point Woronzoff. Email anchoragecoastalcleanup@gmail.com if you'd like to help at Pt. Woronzoff, no RSVP needed for those going to Lyn Ary. 

Visit www.anchoragecoastalcleanup.org for more information or like the Anchorage Coastal Cleanup Facebook page for photos from last year and for updates on the event. A little rain won't stop us, but a BIG downpour might, so check Facebook in case of rain!

National Negroni Week at the Bear Tooth Grill
Local Restaurant Partners to Support Marine Conservation
Monday, June 2nd 2014
The Bear Tooth Grill in Anchorage has been working with AMCC over the past few months to bring Alaskans local, sustainably-caught fish and create fabulous dishes using cod and rockfish from AMCC and the Alaska Jig Association's Kodiak Jig Seafoods brand. In an effort to further promote sustainable fishing practices, the Bear Tooth Grill has generously chosen AMCC as their selected non-profit for national Negroni Week, donating $1 from each drink sold to AMCC. The special began June 2nd and will run for three weeks. 
A Negroni is a 95 years old cocktail made with gin, campari, and vermouth. Negroni Week is a nationwide event sponsored by Imbibe Magazine and Campari where bars all over the country donate drink proceeds to a non-profit of their choice. We hope you'll visit the Bear Tooth Grill to try a Negroni, supporting marine conservation and local business in the process! Be sure to post your Negroni photos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook #negroniweek and share them with AMCC and the Bear Tooth Grill.
Upcoming Events
June 14
AMCC Booth and Cooking Demonstration, Spenard Farmers Market, Anchorage
June 22
Anchorage Coastal Cleanup, Lyn Ary Park, Anchorage
June 27
AMCC Booth at the Friday Fling Market, Palmer

New Kodiak Jig Seafoods Website
Visit the new home of Kodiak Jig Seafoods at kodiakjig.org. Thank you to everyone who purchased Kodiak Jig Seafoods cod and rockfish through AMCC's Catch of the Season Program this spring! Check out this tasty white fish recipe from AMCC members and Catch of the Season subscribers, Tom and Ann Rothe. Stay tuned for more Catch of the Season offerings like Bristol Bay sockeye salmon coming soon!
Ocean Acidification Video
Check out this new video by the Island Institute - part of a two-part series about the effects of climate change on our nation's fisheries. View the full report here. AMCC superstar members Alexus Kwachka and former board member Dave Kubiak are featured in the video discussing ocean acidification's impacts on Alaska's fisheries.


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