UFA Update: June 28, 2019

    Governor Dunleavy Signs Budget
    2016 GOA Pink Salmon Disaster Update
    Pebble Mine Draft Environmental Impact Statement Comments Due
    Derelict Vessel Bill Update
    NPFMC Cook Inlet Salmon Committee Call for Nominations
    Council Seeks IFQ Committee Members
    Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Funding Opportunity
    2020 Saltonstall-Kennedy Grants
    IFQ Access Opportunities- Global Examples



    Governor Dunleavy Signs Budget
    On Friday, Governor Dunleavy cut an additional $444 million from Alaska’s State Operating Budget.  All the amendments that the legislature added back in Fish and Game were vetoed.  This includes:

    • $997k less for commercial fisheries management
    • 50% reduction in funds for travel across all divisions (including Commercial Fisheries)
    • $280k less for special areas management
    • Transfer of two director-level positions and associated funding from the Division of Habitat and Division of Subsistence Research to the Office of Management and Budget. (these jobs will no longer be associated with Fish & Game related duties)

    Other vetoes include:

    • $130 million University of Alaska
    • $50 million Medicaid -$20.7 million Senior Benefits
    • $48.9 million School Bond Debt Reimbursement
    • $2.7 Million Public Broadcasting
    • $6 million VPSOs
    • $3.4 million Ocean Rangers

    A full list of the 182 lines may be found on the OMB website.

    Should the legislature decide to override his vetoes, it will take 40 votes to call a Joint-Legislative Session.  Stay tuned.

    2016 GOA Pink Salmon Disaster Update
    UFA has been informed by ADF&G Deputy Commissioner Rachel Baker that Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission is currently working to post a web site with distribution timeline and process details for direct payments to permit holders, crew, and processors, and she hopes that website will be live in the next couple of weeks.  UFA will continue to monitor this and update as information is made available.

    Pebble Mine Draft Environmental Impact Statement Comments Due
    Comments on the Pebble Mine Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) are due July 1.  United Fishermen of Alaska stand that the Army Corps did not adequately look at the direct and/or indirect economic harm that Pebble would cause to the Alaska commercial fishing industry.  Potential harm includes: reduction in fish available for harvest, short and long-term income loss, lost traditions/way of life, investment cost of being a fisherman (permits, boats, etc), undermines Bristol Bay sockeye and Alaska seafood brands.  Comments may be e-mailed to the Army Corps of Engineers at: drafteis@comments.pebbleprojecteis.com .  Alternatively, you may submit comments via the Trout Unlimited Save Bristol Bay website: https://standup.tu.org/save-bristol-bay/

    Derelict Vessel Bill Update
    United Fishermen of Alaska sent in a request to the Department of Administration asking for a delay in implementation of the Derelict Vessel Law.  Commissioner Kelley Tshibaka replied that though they recognize there was not sufficient time for vessel owners to comply with the law, they would not be delaying implementation.  The commissioner stated “we will exercise discretion in the near-term in enforcement while we work together to get all Alaskans compliant with the law”  and that “law enforcement officers generally will issue warnings to vessels out of compliance; however, I still encourage all Alaskans to whom SB 92 applies to register their vessels with the DMV as soon as possible.”

    If you have questions about requirements and the process, the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission and Department of Motor Vehicles created a document that clearly outlines the new Derelict Vessel Law requirements.  The PDF is available on the UFA website and explains what the requirements are and how to comply.  The document also explains what to do if you do not have a DMV office in your location.  To download, click here.

    United Fishermen of Alaska has already been in contact with legislators to introduce language to exempt CFEC registered vessel owners and will keep our members informed as progress is made.

    The North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Cook Inlet Salmon Committee Call for Nominations – Deadline July 12 2019
    The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) is announcing an additional call for nominations to the Cook Inlet Salmon Committee for one or two stakeholders who represent new or recent involvement in the Cook Inlet salmon driftnet fishery.

    The Cook Inlet Salmon Committee was established to assist the Council in developing measures to extend Federal management to traditional net-fishing areas in the EEZ waters of Cook Inlet. Committee focus, in the near term, is on management of the commercial salmon driftnet fishery in Cook Inlet, and so representation by that sector is currently being emphasized by the Council. Stakeholders at the beginning of their driftnetting careers, who are looking forward to decades of future involvement in the fishery, are in need of greater representation on the Committee as it makes recommendations for developing a long-term management framework.

    If you are a new or recent S03H permit holder who is active in the fishery and are interested in membership on the Cook Inlet Salmon Committee, please email a letter describing your background and interest to james.armstrong@noaa.gov, or mail your letter to the Council address at:

    Attn: Jim Armstrong
    North Pacific Fishery Management Council
    605 W. 4th Ave, Suite 306
    Anchorage, AK  99501

    The Council will accept nominations and applications through July 12, 2019 in order to allow new Committee members to participate in a late September Committee meeting. If you have any questions, please contact Jim Armstrong at 907-271-2805.

    Council Seeks IFQ Committee Members
    The Council is soliciting for two new IFQ Committee members. The IFQ Committee is a standing advisory body comprised of vessel owner/operators, crew, processors, and trade group representatives (including vessel owners’ associations and CDQ groups). The Committee meets independently – though sometimes in conjunction with a Council meeting – and discusses the merits of proposals to modify or update management of the Halibut & Sablefish IFQ fishery. Committee members are sometimes tasked to review documents that analyze potential program changes or to develop proposals for modifications that meet the Council’s management objectives. The Committee formulates recommendations that are conveyed to the Council and its other advisory bodies in the form of meeting minutes and staff presentations.

    The Council is specifically seeking nominees who are IFQ crew participants who do not own quota and vessel-owners who hold no quota share or a small amount of quota share and hope to purchase additional quota share in the future. Please submit a letter of interest describing your background by email to Sam Cunningham (sam.cunningham@noaa.gov) or by mail to the Council office. The deadline for applications is July 12, 2019.

    Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Funding Opportunity
    The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will award grants that catalyze the implementation of electronic technologies (ET) for catch and compliance monitoring and improvements to fishery information systems in U.S. fisheries. They anticipate awarding up to $3.5 million through this solicitation.  For more information visit their website: Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Grant Program.

    2020 Saltonstall-Kennedy Grants
    NOAA Fisheries is pleased to announce the 2020 Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant competition is currently open. This year’s solicitation consists of two separate submission processes. All interested applicants must submit a two page Pre-Proposal to the Federal Funding Opportunity posted at http://www.Grants.gov.  Applicants interested in submitting a full application after the pre-proposal review process must submit the full application through www.grants.gov. For more information on the grant, visit the website: Saltonstall- Kennedy Grants. Deadline is June 30.

    IFQ Access Opportunities- Global Examples
    The Council reviewed a discussion paper outlining domestic and international examples of programs that facilitate access opportunities for rural communities and new entrants within limited access fisheries and tasked staff to come back with an expanded paper. The Council requested this discussion paper at the June 2018 meeting in response to information from the IFQ 20-year program review, academic research, and public testimony regarding access challenges in the IFQ Program. The discussion paper provided a more detailed review of Norway’s Recruitment Quota, and highlighted access program design specifications, distributional impacts, and legal considerations that may be relevant to an application in the North Pacific for the Halibut and Sablefish IFQ Program.

    The Council directed staff to develop an expanded discussion paper identifying considerations related to the creation of a quota Access Pool for halibut and sablefish QS that facilitates entry-level opportunities. The Access Pool would be targeted at crewmembers and vessel owner-operators whose QS holdings equate to less than 5,000 lbs. of IFQ in 2019. Participation in the Access Pool would be temporary, meaning that a qualifying individual could only fish this quota for a set number of years. Access Pool QS could not be sold. The quota for this pool would be limited to an amount equal to 1% of the 2019 halibut and QS pool and could be “funded” either by newly created QS units, by withholding 0.5% or 1.0% of QS that is transferred, or a combination of the two. The Access Pool would be structured such that a Regional Fishery Association (RFA) or another entity receives the allocation and determines the criteria for distribution to applicants; criteria would be reviewed by the Council and approved by NMFS. The discussion paper will highlight explicit Council decision points necessary for this approach, the amount of detail needed to develop criteria for allocation, effects on the QS market and existing QS holders, and MSA considerations regarding the ability to allocate QS to RFAs.

    The Council noted that the details of the Access Pool may seem overly prescribed for an expanded discussion paper, and that its intent is not to endorse a specific program or threshold at this time but that the Council is interested in reviewing more information about this type of program from members of the public and Council staff. The Council also directed the IFQ Committee to review this expanded discussion paper.

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