California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Marine Management News: August 2000

Welcome to the first edition of the Marine Management News newsletter! Since the Marine Life Management Act gave the Fish and Game Commission responsibility for managing several of California's marine fisheries, the California Department of Fish and Game's Marine Region has been in the process of reorganizing. The Marine Region is reinventing how it does business and how it involves constituents in fishery management decisions. This newsletter is one of many initiatives underway to improve and formalize the Department's efforts to reach out and inform the public on activities in the Marine Region.

The intent of the newsletter is both to help interested constituents stay aware of actions and decisions that may affect them and to let them know about opportunities to participate in those decisions. As a result, a main feature of the newsletters will be updates on management activities in the fisheries managed by the Marine Region.

Articles

 

Marine Life Management Act

A fundamental transformation in the management and regulation of marine fisheries took place when the Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) was passed in 1998. Basically, the Act initiated three main changes:

  • Responsibility for managing several commercial marine fisheries is shifted from the state legislature to the California Fish and Game Commission.
  • Fishery Management Plans are designated as the primary tool for managing these fisheries.
  • Constituent involvement is to be an integral part of developing these plans and a hallmark of making decisions.

In addition, the MLMA set priorities for the Fishery Management Plans that should be completed first:

  • The Nearshore Fishery
  • White Seabass
  • Emerging Fisheries

Master Plan for the Marine Life Management Act (MLMA)

One of the changes the MLMA set into motion was to make the regulatory planning and decision making process more explicit and transparent to the public. To accomplish this objective, the Act instructs the Department of Fish and Game to prepare a Master Plan that "specifies the process and resources needed to prepare, adopt, and implement fishery management plans for sport and commercial marine fisheries managed by the state." The Master Plan will also establish important criteria for determining fishery management objectives and describe how the public can participate in developing fishery management plans.

The Department has established a Master Plan Team that is developing a first draft of the plan. This draft will be reviewed by the MLMA Evaluation Advisory Committee, a group of independent constituents created to advise the Department on implementation of the Act. Subsequently, the draft Master Plan will be shared with the public for further review and comment. A final draft will be submitted to the Fish and Game Commission for adoption in September 2001, at which time the Master Plan will receive additional public review through the standard regulatory process. For further information, contact: Marija Vojkovich at (805) 568-1246 or mvojkovi@dfg2.ca.gov

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Nearshore Fishery Management Plan

The nearshore (finfish) fishery was highlighted in the Marine Life Management Act for priority development of a fishery management plan (FMP) and potential interim management measures prior to adoption of the FMP. So far this year, the Commission has implemented an initial set of interim management measures. These initial measures instituted a moratorium on new nearshore fishery permits, adopted a control date of December 31, 1999 for establishing a restricted access nearshore fishery, and directed the development of a rigid metal ring for finfish traps to prevent the entanglement of marine mammals.

A second set of potential interim management measures is now under consideration by the Commission, including: new, or changes to existing, size limits; the listing of additional species for management by the state; additional gear limitations; and/or area closures. The Department solicited ideas for the second set of interim regulations through a questionnaire that was sent out to more than 2000 constituents. As a part of developing its recommendations, the Department held a workshop on July 18 in Sacramento with nearshore constituents to share its ideas on potential interim management measures and seek public input at this formative stage. The workshop was attended by sport and commercial fishermen, fish buyers, conservationists, and academics. The input received was extremely helpful and will be used in shaping the Department's recommendations to the Commission

The Department will present the options for additional interim management measures to the Commission at its August 24-25 meeting. A hearing on the additional measures is expected at the Commission's October 19-20 meeting in San Diego and its December 7-8 meeting in Eureka; action by the Commission is expected before the end of the year.

In May and June, the Department held a series of 13 meetings with a broad spectrum of nearshore constituents from Crescent City to San Diego to discuss how to best involve them in developing fishery management plans. For further information, contact either Sandy Owen at (562) 590-4840 or slowen@dfg.ca.gov; or Connie Ryan at (650) 473-0786 or ryan@dfg2.ca.gov.

One of the changes the MLMA set into motion was to make the regulatory planning and decision making process more explicit and transparent to the public. To accomplish this objective, the Act instructs the Department of Fish and Game to prepare a Master Plan that "specifies the process and resources needed

The Department has established a Master Plan Team that is developing a first draft of the plan. This draft will be reviewed by the MLMA Evaluation Advisory Committee, a group of independent constituents created to advise the Department on implementation of the Act. Subsequently, the draft Master Plan will be shared with the public for further review and comment. A final draft will be submitted to the Fish and Game Commission for adoption in September 2001, at which time the Master Plan will receive additional public review through the standard regulatory process. For further information, contact: Marija Vojkovich at (805) 568-1246 or mvojkovi@dfg2.ca.gov

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Abalone Recovery and Management Plan

In an effort to allow early input on the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan (ARMP) the Department's Nearshore Invertebrate Team (NIT) held a commercial constituent workshop July 26. The objectives of the workshop were to disseminate information to the constituents, create a preliminary view on goals for abalone recovery, and obtain input on the commercial goals for future abalone fisheries. The list of participants was created with input from local fishermen, the Recreational Abalone Advisory Committee, and the NIT. An informational letter was also sent to constituents who were not included in this workshop. The workshop is seen as the first in a series of steps to involve all concerned constituents in the planning and implementation of the ARMP. Future workshops, small group conversations, and scoping sessions will provide more input and allow the NIT to draft the ARMP based on the participation of all interested groups. For further information, contact: John Ugoretz at (805) 560-6758 or jugoretz@dfg2.ca.gov

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Squid

The Sher bill, (SB 364), enacted in 1998, required the Department to initiate a research and monitoring program and develop a status report and recommendations for management of market squid. The legislation also required the establishment of constituent and science advisory groups. Both advisory groups are aiding the Department in developing management recommendations. In addition, the Department and several universities are conducting research on squid biology and life history. To gain critical fishery data, commercial catch sampling has been conducted the past three years in southern California and Monterey.

The status report with recommendations for management is to be completed by April 1, 2001. The Department has begun development of a draft management plan and will seek input from the advisory groups and the public during the fall and winter. Written comments and suggestions are always welcome, attendance at advisory committee meetings and dialogue with committee members is encouraged.

In addition, several public meetings will be held in January 2001 to give everyone an opportunity to provide support or suggestions for the management recommendations. For further information, contact: Marija Vojkovich at (805) 568-1246 or mvojkovi@dfg2.ca.gov.

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Pink Shrimp Task Force

In 1993, a moratorium was put on the pink shrimp trawl fishery with the expectation that a limited entry program with transferable permits would be developed. This moratorium expires at the beginning of the next fishing season, April 1, 2001. The Department created a Pink Shrimp Task Force (PSTF) that determined a limited entry program must be in place by the start of next year's fishing season. The PSTF has developed a range of alternatives for a limited entry program and is working with the Department's Restricted Access Policy Team (RAPT) to determine a capacity goal for this fishery. A workshop was held with outside experts, the RAPT, and Department staff to determine capacity goals for pink shrimp. Any proposed limited entry program will be enacted through the Fish and Game Commission. For further information, contact: Kristine Barsky at (805) 568-1220 or kbarsky@dfg2.ca.gov

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Spot Prawn Fishery

In February 2000 the Fish and Game Commission adopted regulations that, among other things, established a control date of January 1, 1999 for establishing a restricted access spot prawn trap fishery and spot prawn/ridgeback prawn trawl fishery. The control date means that anyone who has not landed spot prawns before this date would not be considered for inclusion in a restricted access program. It is likely that minimum landing requirements will be established for the programs which will further reduce the number of eligible participants. Further work on developing the restricted access programs has been put on hold until the Department's Restricted Access Policy Team develops standard guidelines regarding fishery capacity goals and other elements of restricted access programs.

In May 2000 the Fish and Game Commission adopted a regulation requiring the implementation of an on board observer program for the spot prawn trawl and trap fisheries. The program would require proof of payment of an observer fee, ranging from $250 to $1000, for all vessels landing spot prawns from July 1, 2000 to March 31, 2001. Funds will be used to pay for Department observers to collect information on bycatch and to analyze the data. During the next eight months, the Department plans to collect information on the type, condition, and magnitude of bycatch in the spot prawn trawl and trap fisheries, primarily from the ports of Half Moon Bay south to San Diego. For further information, contact: Paul Reilly (831) 649-2879 or preilly@dfg.ca.gov