Federal management support for commercial, subsistence and cultural fisheries

Published by FiskerForum, 13-04-2017 · info@fiskerforum.dk

A bill introduced in the US Senate in mid-February to amend the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 would negatively affect Hawaii’s commercial fisheries, according to the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.

It is generally estimated that 20% of Hawaii’s billfish catch is sold to US mainland seafood markets annually at a value of approximately $600,000 in landed, wholesale revenue. The existing law allows billfish landed by US fishing vessels in Hawaii and the US Pacific territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands to be sold in markets on the US mainland.

The proposed amendment would prohibit this.

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, during its 169th meeting in Honolulu, voiced concerns about the proposed legislation and will provide information to the Secretary of Commerce on the stock status of Pacific billfish and the economic impact of the introduced amendment. The Council noted that US mainland sport fishing tournaments target billfish and requested information from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on the estimated number of billfish killed in these US mainland tournaments and whether or not the billfish retained goes to local consumption.

‘Most of the billfish landed and sold in the Western Pacific Region is Pacific blue marlin, which is not subject to overfishing or in an overfished condition,’ noted Kitty M. Simonds, the Council’s executive director.

‘The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the nation’s primary fisheries law, requires the Regional Fishery Management Councils and NMFS to prevent overfishing while achieving optimal yield for the benefit of the nation.’

Among other actions, the Council reaffirmed its support of community-based management in the Western Pacific Region and directed staff to support a meeting of the State of Hawaii with Hui Malama o Moomomi and the affected fishing community, following the State’s public scoping meetings on the proposed Moomomi Subsistence Fishing Area Management Plan, to reach consensus on management measures that are acceptable by the whole community.

The Council also directed staff to work with the Council’s Fishing and Indigenous Community Advisory Sub-Panel to review available information in order to develop the legal, cultural and historical basis and justification for obtaining indigenous fishing rights in the Western Pacific Region.

Source: Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council

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