From The Federal Register, Public Meeting: Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, CNMI Mariana Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan Advisory Panel (Jun. 7)

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National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

SUMMARY:
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting of its Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Mariana Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) Advisory Panel (AP) to discuss and make recommendations on fishery management issues in the Western Pacific Region.

DATES:
The CNMI Mariana Archipelago FEP AP will meet on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. All times listed are local island times. For specific times and agendas, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

ADDRESSES:
The CNMI Mariana Archipelago FEP AP will meet at the Saipan Department of Land and Natural Resources Conference Room, Lower Base, Saipan, MP 96950.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Kitty M. Simonds, Executive Director, Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; telephone: (808) 522-8220.

For more information, click here.

The post From The Federal Register, Public Meeting: Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, CNMI Mariana Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan Advisory Panel (Jun. 7) appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


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From The Federal Register, Public Meeting: Pacific Fishery Management Council (Jun. 7-14)

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National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce.

SUMMARY:
The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) and its advisory entities will hold public meetings.

DATES:
The Pacific Council and its advisory entities will meet June 7-14, 2017. The Pacific Council meeting will begin on Friday, June 9, 2017 at 9 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), reconvening at 8 a.m. each day through Wednesday, June 14, 2017. All meetings are open to the public, except a closed session will be held from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Friday, June 9 to address litigation and personnel matters. The Pacific Council will meet as late as necessary each day to complete its scheduled business.

ADDRESSES:
Meetings of the Pacific Council and its advisory entities will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton Spokane City Center, 322 N. Spokane Falls Court, Spokane, Washington; telephone: (509) 455-9600.

Council address: Pacific Fishery Management Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220.

For more information click here.

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From The Federal Register, Public Meeting: Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, Guam Mariana Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan Advisory Panel (May 26)

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National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

SUMMARY:
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting of its Guam Mariana Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) Advisory Panel (AP) to discuss and make recommendations on fishery management issues in the Western Pacific Region.

DATES:
The Guam Mariana Archipelago FEP AP will meet on Friday, May 26, 2017, between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. All times listed are local island times. For specific times and agendas, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

ADDRESSES:
The Guam Mariana Archipelago FEP AP will meet at the Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association Lanai, Hagatna, Guam, 96913.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Kitty M. Simonds, Executive Director, Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; telephone: (808) 522-8220.

For more information, click here.

The post From The Federal Register, Public Meeting: Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, Guam Mariana Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan Advisory Panel (May 26) appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


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From The Federal Register, Public Meeting: Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, American Samoa Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan Advisory Panel (May 31)

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National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

SUMMARY:
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting of its American Samoa Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) Advisory Panel (AP) to discuss and make recommendations on fishery management issues in the Western Pacific Region.

DATES:
The American Samoa Archipelago FEP AP will meet on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. All times listed are local island times.

ADDRESSES:
The American Samoa Archipelago FEP AP will meet at the Pacific Petroleum Conference Room, Utulei, American Samoa, 96799.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Kitty M. Simonds, Executive Director, Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; telephone: (808) 522-8220.

For more information, click here.

The post From The Federal Register, Public Meeting: Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, American Samoa Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan Advisory Panel (May 31) appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


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Pacific Island Has 38 Million Pieces Of Trash, But No People

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Marine litter (Credit: Bo Elde/Flickr)

(Click to enlarge) Marine litter (Credit: Bo Elde/Flickr)

A tiny island has all the makings of a secluded paradise — except for the 38 million pieces of trash.

(From Fox News) — Henderson Island, a UNESCO world heritage site in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, has a higher density of trash than any other spot on the planet, researchers concluded in a study published Tuesday. 

“It’s both beautiful and terrifying,” lead author Jennifer Lavers, a research scientist at Australia’s University of Tasmania, reacted. She said her team estimated more than 13,000 pieces of trash washed up every day on the island, which is about 6 miles long and 3 miles wide.

Photos showed toy soldiers, dominos, toothbrushes and hundreds of hardhats of every shape, size and color scattered on the sand. A crab took shelter in what looked like a cosmetics container.

How could it happen? Lavers said Henderson Island is at the edge of a vortex of ocean currents known as the South Pacific gyre, which tends to capture and hold floating trash.

Still, organizing a cleanup would be no easy task. The island is located about halfway between New Zealand and Chile. It’s part of the Pitcairn Islands group, a British dependency, and so remote that Lavers said she missed her own wedding after the boat coming to collect the group was delayed. Luckily, she said, the guests were still in Tahiti, in French Polynesia, when she showed up three days late, and she still got married.

The report appears in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

Lavers said she sometimes found herself getting mesmerized by the variety and colors of the plastic that litters the island before the tragedy of it would sink in again.

Lavers and six others stayed on the island for 3½ months in 2015 while conducting the study. They found the trash weighed an estimated 17.6 tons and that more than two-thirds of it was buried in shallow sediment on the beaches.

Lavers said she noticed green toy soldiers that looked identical to those her brother had as a child in the early 1980s, as well as red Monopoly motels.

Read the full story here: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/05/16/scientists-find-38-million-pieces-trash-on-pacific-island.html

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From The Federal Register: Webinar: Pacific Fishery Management Council; Groundfish Management Team (May 18)

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AGENCY:
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

SUMMARY:
The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific Council) Groundfish Management Team (GMT) will hold a webinar that is open to the public.

DATES:
The GMT webinar will be held Thursday, May 18, 2017, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; or until business for each day is completed.

ADDRESSES:
To attend the webinar (1) join the meeting by visiting this link http://www.gotomeeting.com/​online/​webinar/​join-webinar, (2) enter the Webinar ID: 349-453-339, and (3) enter your name and email address (required). After logging in to the webinar, please (1) dial this TOLL number 1-415-655-0060 (not a toll-free number), (2) enter the attendee phone audio access code 229-858-558, and (3) then enter your audio phone pin (shown after joining the webinar). NOTE: We have disabled Mic/Speakers as on option and require all participants to use a telephone or cell phone to participate. Technical Information and System Requirements: PC-based attendees are required to use Windows® 7, Vista, or XP; Mac®-based attendees are required to use Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer; Mobile attendees are required to use iPhone®, iPad®, AndroidTM phone or Android tablet (See the GoToMeeting WebinarApps). You may send an email to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at Kris.Kleinschmidt@noaa.gov or contact him at 503-820-2280, extension 411 for technical assistance. A public listening station will also be available at the Pacific Council office.

Council address: Pacific Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220-1384; telephone: (503) 820-2280.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Ms. Kelly Ames, Pacific Council; phone: (503) 820-2426.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
The primary purpose of the GMT webinar is to receive a presentation from NMFS on the analysis of trawl gear regulation changes, which are designed to reflect the individual accountability provided by the trawl catch share program. In March 2016, the Council recommended: Allowing vessels to carry and use multiple trawl gears types on a single trip (fish caught using different gears must be stowed separately); eliminating minimum mesh size regulations for the codend and body of the net; eliminating restrictions on codends; eliminating chafing gear restrictions; allowing a new haul to be brought onboard and dumped before all catch from previous haul has been stowed; and changing the selective flatfish trawl gear definition and restrictions. The selective flatfish trawl gear definition would be changed to allow the use of four seams nets. Furthermore, the restriction that requires use of selective flatfish trawl gear shoreward of the Rockfish Conservation Area in the area north of 40°10′ N. latitude would be replaced by a restriction that requires use of small footrope trawl in that area. At its June 2016 meeting, the Pacific Council added to this list a recommendation to allow a vessel to fish in multiple management areas on the same trip and assign catch to management areas in proportion to the vessel’s effort in each area on that trip. A detailed agenda for the webinar will be available on the Pacific Council’s Web site prior to the meeting. The GMT may also address other assignments relating to groundfish management. No management actions will be decided by the GMT. The GMT’s task will be to assist in the analysis as necessary. The GMT will provide a report summarizing the expected tasks and workload to the Pacific Council its June 2017 meeting.

Although nonemergency issues not contained in the meeting agenda may be discussed, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this document and any issues arising after publication of this document that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the intent to take final action to address the emergency.

For more information click here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/05/08/2017-09217/pacific-fishery-management-council-public-meeting

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From The Federal Register: Public Meeting: Pacific Fishery Management Council; Economics and Groundfish Subcommittees (May 24-25)

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AGENCY:
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

SUMMARY:
The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) will convene a meeting of its Economics and Groundfish Subcommittees of the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC). The meeting is open to the public.

DATES:
The meeting will be held Wednesday, May 24, 2017 and Thursday, May 25, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time or until business is completed on each day.

ADDRESSES:
Watertown Hotel, Wallingford Room, 4242 Roosevelt Way NE., Seattle, WA 98105, telephone: 1-855-580-8614.

Council address: Pacific Fishery Management Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
John DeVore, Staff Officer; telephone: (503) 820-2413.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
The primary purpose of the meeting is to review draft analyses informing the Pacific Council’s five-year review of the U.S. West Coast Trawl Catch Share Program. The SSC Economics and Groundfish subcommittees will conduct a review of the draft review document. The Pacific Council and its advisors will receive the report and recommendations of the SSC Economics and Groundfish subcommittees on the five-year review of the U.S. West Coast Trawl Catch Share Program at its June 7-14, 2017 meeting in Spokane, WA.

Although other non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this Council for discussion, those issues may not be the subjects of formal action during this meeting. Council action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, provided that the public has been notified of the Council’s intent to take final action to address the emergency.

For more information click here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/05/08/2017-09227/pacific-fishery-management-council-public-meeting

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Scientists Tag Humpback Whales In Southeast Pacific

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A <a rel=humpback whale and its calf in NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. (Credit: NOAA)” width=”325″ height=”217″ srcset=”http://oceanleadership.org/wp-content/uploads/hwnms_whalecalf-325×217.jpg 325w, http://oceanleadership.org/wp-content/uploads/hwnms_whalecalf.jpg 1024w, http://oceanleadership.org/wp-content/uploads/hwnms_whalecalf-150×100.jpg 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 325px) 100vw, 325px” />

(Click to enlarge) A humpback whale and its calf in NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. (Credit: NOAA)

Whales from both poles migrate long distances to breed in tropical waters. Smithsonian scientist Hector M. Guzman and Fernando Félix at the Salinas Whale Museum in Ecuador, tagged 47 humpbacks with satellite transmitters to understand how the humpbacks’ Southeastern Pacific population moves within breeding areas.

(From Science Daily) — “Our work fills an informational void: we’ve known these whales move between feeding areas and breeding areas, but we hadn’t characterized their movements, and we couldn’t exactly pinpoint the range of the breeding area,” said Guzman, marine ecologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. “Now we know that individuals move between countries within the breeding season and that their entire breeding area extends approximately 2,600 kilometers of non-straight coastline from Costa Rica to Peru.”

For years, scientists have identified individual humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) based on their unique fluke and dorsal fin patterns. In this study funded by STRI, Panama’s National Office of Science and Technology, the Candeo Fund at the International Community Foundation and the Whale Museum, 25 whales were satellite tagged in Panama and 22 in Ecuador between 2009 and 2015 according to methods approved by the Smithsonian’s Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). On average, tags transmitted for about two weeks, although one tag lasted for 69 days during which a mother whale swam nearly 6,000 kilometers. Information from the 37 tags that transmitted for at least 1 day revealed the movements of 23 mothers accompanied by newborn calves and 14 unsexed animals.

“Thanks to new spatial models that were used to evaluate the movement of the whales, we could differentiate behaviors and gauge the speed of the whales during their reproductive and migratory periods,” Félix said.

Part of the Southeast Pacific humpback whale population breeds in Panama’s Las Perlas Archipelago and in the Gulf of Guayaquil in Ecuador. The roughly 60,000 square kilometers of home range of the group in Panama was about twice the size of the home range of the group breeding in Ecuador — about 26,000 square kilometers, which means whales are not randomly distributed but show site fidelity. Whales tended to spend time in short-range movement, alternating with long-range, faster, directed movement. Mothers spent more time closer to shore than other tagged, unsexed individuals. Both types of whales swam into deeper waters mainly during migration. Mothers in Panamanian waters spent much more time in long-range movements than did mothers in Ecuadorian waters, perhaps because they were shifting from a nursing phase to a migratory phase.

Read the full article here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170413164201.htm

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Opportunity: Public Meetings: Western Pacific Fishery Management Council

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The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene a meeting of its Archipelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plan Team (FEP) and the Fishery Data Collection and Research Committee—Technical Committee (FDCRC-TC). The Archipelagic FEP Team will review the fishery performance, ecosystem consideration, and data integration chapter of the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) Report for the Western Pacific region, conduct the evaluation of the 2016 catches to the 2016 Annual Catch Limits (ACL) for the coral reef, crustacean, and Territory bottomfish fisheries, review of the ecosystem component analysis, monument expansion area regulations, aquaculture, and essential fish habitat. The FDCRC-TC will review the status of the data collection improvement efforts in the Western Pacific region, identify gaps in the non-commercial data collection and conduct a writing workshop to develop the Marine Recreational Information Program—Pacific Islands Regional Implementation Plan.

The Archipelagic FEP Team meeting will take place on April 18-19, 2017 in Honolulu, HI.

The FDCRC-TC meeting will take place on April 20-21, 2017 in Honolulu, HI.

For more information, click here.

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Earthquake of magnitude 6.7 strikes off Solomon Islands in South Pacific: USGS

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the South Pacific nation of the Solomon Islands at a depth of 33 kms (20 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said on Friday.


Reuters: Environment