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Fishery meeting schedules

alibut is once again in the news. On Monday, June 2, some of the CDFW Staff and PFMC staff will be meeting at the Wharfinger Building (1 Marina Way, Eureka, 6:00 pm to 8:30pm) to pass on information to recreational angers of recent science and proposed management measures for P. halibut. Additionally, public comment is being encouraged on the proposed Auto-conformance Proposal for Halibut Regulations with Federal Regulations. Also, Management Measures for 2015 and beyond will be up for discussion. Both of these topics will then be addressed under Item #9 at the Commission Meeting to be held two days later on June 4th at the River Lodge in Fortuna. The Commission Meeting will start at 8:30 am. All interested anglers are encouraged to participate in these meetings.

Background: CA has an obligation to conform to the Federal Regulations on P. halibut. Currently, CDFW has a rather lengthy method of scheduling meeting for public notice that needs to be simplified. One way to do this is to Auto-conform CA regulations with the Federal Regulations. Each year California PFMC Delegates propose and pass P. halibut regulations for the coming year. These regulation proposals are initiated in June and put out for public comment over the summer, reviewed in September and adopted in November. California then has to repeat similar meeting within the State, duplicating their effort. Auto-conform would eliminate this requirement. This is more of a ministerial process.

Management Regulations for 2015 and beyond
This is a much more controversial topic. At the Monday meeting in Eureka, recent science and survey information will be presented by a few speakers (I’m one of them) and a proposed economic survey of Northern CA will be discussed by a HASA Representative. The thought is for HASA to fund an economic study that will be presented to the IPHC at their January annual meeting in the hopes of getting more exploitable biomass allocated to California.

Management Measures for 2014 have an August closure for P. halibut in CA. Our current allocation is 1% of the non-tribal allocation for the 2A zone (930,000 pounds). Therefore, the tribes have the first 35% equaling 336,000 pounds. Therefore CA has 1% of the remaining 624,000 pounds or 6,240 pounds. As you are aware, we have been catching over 22,000 pounds annually for the last 5 years. The IPHC has stated they want CA to be brought back within our allocation. While the recent population survey in 2013 determined that there was 100,000 pounds of exploitable biomass available in CA, our allocation is only 6,240 pounds. Trying to open up the Catch Sharing Plan at the PFMC for a reallocation change is very political and is extremely controversial. All this will be discussed at the Monday meeting. I would encourage all of you to be there and provide your comments back to staff. I’ll try to post a quick update Tuesday morning of what was discussed so you will know what will be presented to the Commission at the Wednesday meeting.

Proposed Groundfish Regulations for 2015/16
On Monday, June 9th, there will be a webinar from 9-12 am regarding Recreational Management Measures for the area north of Cape Mendocino. It is being hosted by CDFW; they will post the sign in phone number sometime next week on their website to participate. We are all encouraged to listen in on this as it is specific to bag limits, season lengths and other relevant issues for the next two years. The PFMC is initiating the bi-annual "Spex Cycle"* Management Measures in Garden Grove on June 18-24. We need to give the CA Staff and Delegation folks our input of what we feel about these proposed regulations. Season lengths for rockfish are being extended out to about eight months with a three fish bag limit for ling cod.

[*Editor's Note: The PFMC has a two year cycle of setting specifications for all groundfish. This includes the mandatory assessments for every fish every five years, annual updates for overfished species, all the endless discussions of the annual catch limits, overfishing limits, proposed changes, Magnusun-Stevens proposed amendments or effect, everything associated with setting or changing the regulations for the next two year cycle in 2015/16. This is all lumped under the term "Spex Cycle." As Marking states all the regulatory and mandatory science reviews, public comment, language and proposed changes to regulations for the next two year cycle is part of the Draft Environment Document which will be voted on at the June PFMC meeting in Costa Mesa, put out for public review over the summer, reviewed and modified in September and adopted in November. Listen to the webinar and make your views known if you want to have an impact on the results.]

Tom Marking is a past Board Member of the Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers with a membership of about 500 local anglers. In addition, he is also a member of GAP the Groundfish Advisory Subpanel, serving as the CA Sportfishing Representative.


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