The Washington Sea Grant Program (WSGP) is preparing to present final research results from a two-year study evaluating the effectiveness of seabird avoidance measures and recommendations for changes to the current seabird regulations based on this work. The presentation will be made to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at its October 2001 meeting, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Initially, WSGP planned to present the results of the research program to the Council in April 2001. Instead, results are scheduled to be presented at the October Council meeting and will include specific recommendations for new regulations based on consultation with industry, a critical component to the WSGP research process and to the development of practical and scientifically sound management alternatives.
WSGP will make this information available to the public in the form of a technical report in August 2001. Prior to the October meeting, NMFS will prepare a revised analysis of proposed regulations that includes the WSGP recommendations. Together they pave the way for final Council action at it's October meeting. This schedule will also allow the Council to act comprehensively, having the opportunity to field a full range of seabird bycatch issues such as the status of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's (USFWS) Biological Opinion on Listed Seabirds and a National Plan of Action to Reduce the Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries.
Until such time that regulatory changes are finalized, we expect fishermen to comply with the existing regulations. Based on the Council's recommendations from April 1999 <link to seabirds/news>, we also encourage fishers to:
- Weight the hook-and-line gear causing it to sink out of reach of seabirds immediately;
- Remove hooks from any offal that is discharged;
- Use single or paired streamer (tori) lines constructed and deployed in such a way as to adequately protected your vessel's ''vulnerable zone' (that area where birds can access baited hooks). See suggestions from WSGP at http://www.wsg.washington.edu/pubs/seabirds/streamers.pdf <page cannot be found>
Free Streamer Lines
We also encourage fishers to take advantage of a USFWS program providing free streamer lines to the Alaska longline fleet. See http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seabirds/stalpsmf.pdf <need link to news release> for additional information on this program. While supplies last, paired lines are available at the following distribution centers <link to seabirds/streamers>:
|RESURRECTION BAY SEAFOODS|
200 LOWELL POINT ROAD
SEWARD, AK 99664
601 PORT AVENUE
SEWARD, AK 99664
|ALASKA DEPT. FISH & GAME |
304 LAKE STREET, ROOM 103
SITKA, AK 99835
|THE AUCTION BLOCK|
770 FISH DOCK ROAD #7
HOMER, AK 99603
|KODIAK MARINE SUPPLY|
412 SHELIKOF AVENUE
KODIAK, AK 99615
|PETERSBURG VESSEL OWNERS ASSOCIATION|
PETERSBURG, AK 99833
|SEATTLE MARINE & FISHING SUPPLY CO.|
2121 WEST COMMODORE WAY
SEATTLE, WA 98199
Complete an application at the distribution center and receive a pair of free lines. Or call Al Didier, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, 503-650-5400 for more information.
This information bulletin provides information about NMFS's seabird avoidance requirements. Contact Kim Rivera, Protected Resources Division, NMFS, if you have questions.