National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), propose to designate critical habitat for three species of rockfish in Puget Sound & Strait

Big news. The Federal Government is proposing designating critical habitat for certain rockfish. Public comment now open. Comments on this proposed rule must be received by 5 p.m. P.S.T. on November 4, 2013. Requests for public hearings must be made in writing by September 20, 2013. Comments close on 11/04/2013. The Feds say “Puget Sound” but actually are also including some areas of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. To them, it’s apparently all the same. They delineate it deeper in the document.  From the people I’ve talked to close to this decision, this has been studied a great deal and a lot of meetings have been held getting to this decision.  It likely will raise some objections, likely intense. But the stocks are in such critical shape in many places,  this appears to be needed. It’s not a new issue, the fact that the Feds have finally moved on it is. Hopefully (and apparently) we still have time to save some of them.  As you may or may not know, rockfish do not migrate. They hang out in their habitat, and can live  a long long time. They are often bycatch of other fisheries, and if you bring them up from a great depth, they end up often getting ‘the bends’ (barimetric poisoning) and die.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), propose to designate critical habitat for three species of rockfish listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including the threatened Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus), the threatened DPS of canary rockfish (S. pinniger), and the endangered DPS of bocaccio (S. paucispinus) (listed rockfish). The specific areas proposed for designation for canary rockfish and bocaccio include approximately 1,184.75 sq mi (3,068.5 sq km) of marine habitat in Puget Sound, Washington. The specific areas proposed for designation for yelloweye rockfish include approximately 574.75 sq mi (1,488.6 sq km) of marine habitat in Puget Sound, Washington. We propose to exclude some particular areas from designation because the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion and exclusion of those areas will not result in the extinction of the species.

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/08/06/2013-18832/endangered-and-threatened-species-designation-of-critical-habitat-for-yelloweye-rockfish-canary

 

And more from Mike Satos’ blog:

The National Marine Fisheries Service proposes to designate almost 1,200 square miles of Puget Sound as critical habitat for three species of endangered rockfish. The habitat protection follows the 2010 decision to list yelloweye, canary and bocaccio rockfish under the Endangered Species Act. The Fisheries Service says the rockfish are vulnerable to overfishing because they have long lives and mature slowly with sporadic reproduction. Tuesday’s designation will require federal agencies to make sure their actions don’t harm rockfish habitat. The protected area in Puget Sound overlaps existing critical habitat for Puget Sound Chinook and Hood Canal summer-run chum, bull trout and Southern Resident killer whales. Critical habitat listed for Puget Sound rockfish http://kplu.org/post/critical-habitat-listed-puget-sound-rockfish Also, if they haven’t erected a paywall, Chris Dunagan reports: Habitat protection proposed for endangered rockfish in Puget Sound http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2013/aug/06/habitat-protection-proposed-for-endangered-in/#axzz2bGUhM000

 

Derelict Fishing Gear Funding Received – NW Straits Foundation News

The Northwest Straits Foundation received $660,000 to finish the job of removing derelict fishing nets from shallow subtidal waters of Puget Sound. The Foundation estimates there are 500 shallow water derelict nets left to remove. The Foundation is aiming to complete the work by December 31, 2013. Funding comes from the US Environmental Protection Agency through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. This funding will be combined with current and pledged funding from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, NOAA Marine Debris Program, ConocoPhillips Migratory Bird Fund, US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program, Lucky Seven Foundation, Tulalip Tribes and private donations.

The new funding also pays for a new response and retrieval program designed to prevent future re-accumulations of derelict nets by responding to reports of newly lost nets immediately. The Foundation will be developing this new program in close coordination with the Puget Sound fisheries co-managers.

Washington poised to get tougher with shellfish operators

3/1 KPLU-FM
By Austin Jenkins and KPLU News Staff

Last summer, we brought you a story about gaps in the system that’s supposed to keep Washington shellfish safe to eat. Now state lawmakers appear ready to get tougher with shellfish operators who violate food safety laws.

Early last year, Washington Fish and Wildlife cops shut down a Hood Canal shellfish harvesting operation. They allege G&R Seafood poached $500,ooo worth of oysters and clams from state and private beaches.

But Fish and Wildlife police say even after the business was raided, the company’s owner – who denies any wrongdoing – was spotted selling shellfish at fairs and other public gatherings. But Chief Deputy Mike Cenci says there was nothing his officers could do since it was G&R’s harvesting license <http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/>  that had been yanked:

More at
http://www.kplu.org/post/washington-poised-get-tougher-shellfish-operators

Retiree ‘matriarch’ of North Olympic Peninsula environmental community

Editor note: If you are a recent resident to the Olympic Peninsula, you should read this whole article to better understand the history of the last 25 years on this place. The hard fought battles for Protection Island by Eleanor Stopps, and the ones discussed in this article about Dr. Eloise Kailin are history that is rarely available on the Internet. Enjoy.

*11/28/10 Peninsula Daily News

Retiree ‘matriarch’ of North Olympic Peninsula environmental community

By Jeff Chew
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — Dr. Eloise Kailin helped fight against a nuclear power plant on the Miller Peninsula east of Sequim — and won.

That was in 1973 and led to the formation of the nonprofit Protect the Peninsula’s Future, the North Olympic Peninsula’s longest-standing environmental group.

Today, the group tackles issues affecting health, wildlife habitat and quality of life in the region, while Kailin remains active in environmental battles while sharing a 4-acre farm off River Road with her son, Harvey, where the two have built a commercial kitchen to produce apple butter.

Bob Lynette, a retired conservation lobbyist and renewable energy consultant who has worked with Kailin on the PPF board for 12 years, sees the 91-year-old retired physician as the original driving force behind Peninsula environmental activism.

Read the whole story at: http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20101128/news/311289983/retiree-matriarch-of-north-olympic-peninsula-environmental-community

Superb video on local ocean acidification

Check out this 9 minute video from Oregon Public Broadcasting on the effects of ocean acidification on shellfish and animals at Tatoosh and the Oregon coast. A very good narrative of what’s happening to us right in our backyard of Tatoosh, and Hood Canal for that matter.

http://ecotrope.opb.org/2010/10/video-what-makes-oyster-larvae-unhappy/

New beach for Port Angeles voiced at idea session – PDN

10/22 Peninsula Daily News

By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News

EDITOR’S NOTE — Click to see the 43-page presentation to the Port Angeles City Council on the proposed Port Angeles Waterfront and Transportation Improvement Plan: http://issuu.com/peninsuladailynews/docs/ptcitycouncil.3.15.00

PORT ANGELES — The idea of establishing a beach east of the Valley Creek estuary received enthusiastic support from the City Council on Thursday during a discussion of a proposed waterfront and transportation improvement plan.

David Roberts, a state Department of Natural Resources aquatic lands assistant manager, suggested creating a beach there during the public comment portion of the meeting.

The shore between Oak Street and the estuary is one of the areas slated for a makeover under the plan, which focuses on the waterfront but also will result in new entryway monuments on the west and east entrances to Port Angeles, new “wayfinding” signs to direct traffic and pedestrians to points of interest and shopping, and a citywide transportation study.

More at
http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20101022/NEWS/310229988/new-beach-for-port-angeles-voiced-at-idea-session-and-click-to-see

Coast Guard Bill – Huge win for protection of the Strait!

-Update – Chris Dunagan goes into detail on this bill. This is really significant and is one of the most important pieces of legislation to help us protect our coasts since the Magnuson Act. Read the overview at

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2010/10/10/coast-guard-bill-covers-safety-and-budget-issues/

President Obama is expected to sign a sweeping authorization bill that reorganizes U.S Coast Guard operations, increases maritime safety rules and calls for improved oil-spill prevention and response in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

This bill has been blocked for over a year, so this is great news. It is a great win for everyone who fishes, or makes a living off people enjoying the Straits. Thanks are in order to Senator Cantwell and Senator Murray, as well as all the other people behind the scenes who pushed this, like Fred Felleman,  People For Puget Sound, The Makah Nation, and many others. This has been a major effort for over 10 years. It is sad that it took losing the Gulf to get this over the hump, but we are there. Now to the House for a final vote. This also will help better protect fishermen who have the most dangerous job in America.

9/30 Seattle Times
Bill OK’d that overhauls fishing-industry safety, protects Sound
Seattle Times staff
The U.S. Senate late Wednesday night unanimously approved a Coast Guard authorization bill that includes a major overhaul of federal fishing-industry safety laws, and measures to strengthen efforts to prevent Puget Sound oil spills.
The bill was expected to soon be approved by the House of Representatives and sent to the President Obama for signing.
“It has been nearly four years in the making to get this important legislation through Congress,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wa., who chaired a Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the legislation. “This bill establishes new safety laws on oil-spill prevention and fishing vessel safety so that we can continue to operate in these pristine waters in a safe and effective manner.
…. The oil-spill provisions will include measures to expand oil-spill response capabilities around the entrance of Strait of Juan de Fuca and increase the role of Indian tribes in the response effort. The legislation will result in oil-spill response equipment, including booms and barriers, positioned along the strait.
Approximately 600 oil tankers and 3,000 oil barges travel each year through Puget Sound and carry about 15 billion gallons of oil to Washington refineries, according to Cantwell.
More at
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013032351_webcoastguardbill.html

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 290 other followers

%d bloggers like this: