Posts Tagged NMFS

Apr 3 2019

Pacific sardines likely to face another shuttered season

For the past four years, fishermen who are on the ocean on a near daily basis have been reporting an increasing biomass of sardines – in a range of sizes — in nearshore waters of California. In October 2018, our collaborative CDFW/CWPA aerial survey documented more than 13,000 tons of sardine in nearshore waters along a 70-mile stretch of coast near Big Sur.

Yet the 2018 AT survey ran the length of the West Coast from Canada to Mexico and estimated only 27,547 mt in July 2019; 94 percent of the estimate was located in the Pacific Northwest, and very few sardines in California.

In light of multiple lines of evidence of recruitment and abundance excluded from this update stock assessment, we ask the Council to employ some “best available common sense,” suspend this assessment until the problems can be resolved in a new STAR panel review, and simply extend last year’s fishery management measures in the interim.

Pacific Sardines. NOAA photo.


Sardine fishermen on the West Coast are preparing for another year of severe restrictions after a new draft assessment from NMFS shows the the population is continuing its collapse.The new report, released on March 26, indicates a sardine population of 27,547 metric tons. Any tonnage below 50,000 metric tons is considered “overfished” by NMFS.

These numbers indicate a 98.5 percent collapse since 2006, when the population reached an estimated 1.77 million metric tons, according to NMFS data.

The assessment still must undergo review and adoption by the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee before any rules are passed to restrict this year’s season, which begins on July 1.

Last year the council voted to allow up to 7,000 metric tons of sardines to be caught by West Coast fishermen as incidental take, or bycatch.

The cause of the sardine population collapse is still being debated.

The California Wetfish Producers Association has repeatedly taken issue with NMFS’ assessment strategy. Executive Director Diane Pleschner-Steele has called Oceana-driven claims of overfishing to be “fake news.”

The organization claims that NMFS is not collecting data close enough to shore where fishermen are reporting seeing more sardines, not fewer. NMFS has acknowledged that its research vessels are unable to take stock data close to shore but have said the number of missed fish is unlikely to have a significant effect on their general findings.


Sep 12 2013

Sam Rauch, NOAA acting administrator for fisheries, testifies about 10 year rebuilding timeline

Seafood News
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [] Sept 12, 2013 – In Congressional testimony on Monday, NOAA Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Sam Rauch responded to the latest NRC report calling for more flexibility in stock rebuilding timelines. A portion of his comments are below:

“We`ve heard concerns from stakeholders that the 10-year rebuilding timeline may be arbitrary and too restrictive.

In response to these concerns and similar concerns expressed by Members of Congress, in 2011 NOAA commissioned the National Academy of Sciences` National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of success in stock rebuilding and identification of changes made to fisheries management in response to rebuilding requirements. NOAA asked the NRC to study seven topics related to rebuilding to help us and the Councils better construct efficient and effective rebuilding plans.

The NRC rebuilding study was released on September 5, 2013. We are thankful for the in-depth and forward looking review provided by the NRC, and at present we are carefully analyzing the report`s details. The timing of the report fits nicely with our work to revise National Standard 1 Guidelines. Since the guidelines were last updated in 2009, a number of issues regarding the application of the guidelines have been identified by stakeholders and managers, and these issues may warrant revisions. An Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published on May 3, 2012 to solicit public input, and several report findings reflect possible revisions to the guidelines similar to those currently being considered by NMFS. At this time, NMFS would like to acknowledge a few aspects of the report:

Read the full article here.

Mar 28 2011

The End of Overfishing in America

A fisherman unloads a portion of his catch for the day at Pigeon Cove Whole Foods docks in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Eric Schwaab, the administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, announced this week that overfishing will end in U.S. waters. (AP/Lisa Poole)


By Michael Conathan | March 25, 2011

This feature is part of a new series from CAP dealing with fisheries management issues. The series will publish biweekly on Fridays. It is a joint column with Science Progress.

Eric Schwaab, the administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS, stood before a crowd of fisheries experts on Monday at the Boston Seafood Show. Schwaab had made many forays to New England—home of some of the squeakiest wheels in our nation’s fishing industry—since taking over the job about a year ago. But this time was different. He came bearing a remarkable message: We are witnessing the end of overfishing in U.S. waters.

One of the biggest changes to fisheries law in the 2007 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act was the imposition of strict annual catch limits, or ACLs, in fisheries experiencing overfishing beginning in 2010, and for all other fisheries in 2011, “at a level such that overfishing does not occur.” Schwaab said the 2010 target of putting ACLs in place for all overfished fisheries was achieved, and “We are on track to meet this year’s deadline of having [ACLs] in place, as required, for all 528 managed stocks and complexes comprising U.S. harvest.”

Schwaab went on to call this accomplishment an “enormous milestone.” Quite frankly, that is an even more enormous understatement.

The end of overfishing should be shouted from rooftops from New England to the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast to Alaska to the Pacific Island territories and back to NMFS’s Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters. This is the biggest national news story our fisheries have seen in years.

Read the rest of the story from America Progress.