A limited entry state waters pollock fishery could ease some of the impending Gulf of Alaska rationalization headaches, but the experimental permits fishing for pollock with non-trawl gear haven’t yet proven their value.

A working group of stakeholders and fisheries officials met for the third and last time on Feb. 18 to discuss adding a limited entry state pollock fishery to Alaska waters for both trawl and non-trawl vessels.

NMFS issues a proposed rule to implement cost recovery fee programs for the Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program for groundfish and halibut, and three limited access privilege programs: The American Fisheries Act (AFA), Aleutian Islands Pollock, and Amendment 80 Programs.

NOAA Fisheries is being asked by the state of Alaska and representatives of the Pribilof Island community of Saint Paul to institute emergency action to lower halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea groundfish fisheries.

The request to Assistant Administrator of NOAA Fisheries Eileen Sobeck came in late December from Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, the city of Saint Paul, the Tribal government of Saint Paul and Tanadguix Corp., an Alaska Native village corporation.

The overall feeling at the meeting seemed to be discontent with a grain of salt. Many fishermen who attended voiced their frustration with the observer program in general. But, many also said that they understand what its purpose is.

That sentiment is nothing new to Martin Lefled, who works with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, based out of Seattle, and is the director of the observer program in Alaska for the federal fisheries. He says NMFS has received a lot of feedback and it’s listening.

Conscientious chefs, shoppers, and restaurant goers in search of sustainable seafood just got a heap of new options to choose from. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s highly regarded Seafood Watch program recently announced an unprecedented upgrade in the listing of 21 species of fish caught on the U.S. West Coast. The sustainable seafood ranking program no longer cautions consumers to avoid these species, thanks to improvements to fisheries management in the 14 years following the collapse of the entire West Coast groundfish fishery, when many species were considered dangerously overfished.

The nation’s most influential sustainable-seafood group believes a host of once-troubled West Coast bottom fish are now recovering so well that consumers should seek them out at restaurants and markets.

Marine scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium said Tuesday that government regulators and fishermen had made such strides in how they manage and catch 21 species of rockfish, flounder, lingcod and sole that it listed all among the “good” or “best” seafood choices in the new edition of its popular guide.

A federal judge has ordered the National Marine Fisheries Service to prepare a supplemental environmental assessment for the revised marine observer program that was implemented in 2013.

No immediate changes to the program will be made, but Judge Russel Holland found that NMFS did not account for whether it would lose data quality after learning that higher costs would reduce the amount of observer days at sea by more than half compared to what was originally planned.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has published the proposed rule that would allow Bering Sea fishers some flexibility as they target flatfish.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council created the new regulation in April, which would allow Amendment 80 cooperatives and community development quota entities to exchange harvest quota for three flatfish species — flathead sole, rock sole and yellowfin sole.

Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young today shared his support for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) report reversing its opinion on the status of the Steller Sea Lion, following overbearing National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) restrictions that hampered and closed certain Aleutian Islands groundfish fisheries in 2011.

NMFS has taken a reccomendation from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and tightened halibut bycatch limits for commercial groundfish fishermen in the Gulf of Alaska with plan set to start this year. The Amendment 95 plan will minize halibut bycatch for GOA groundfish fisheries which include pollock, Pacific cod, rockfish and other flatfish.