New England Fishery Management Council
SUMMARY Herring Oversight Committee, ASMFC Section and Herring Advisory Panel Joint Meeting Crowne Plaza, Warwick, RI July 11, 2002 The Herring Oversight Committee, ASMFC Herring Section, and Herring Advisory Panel met jointly to review the annual Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) Report for the 2001 fishing year and develop recommendations to the Council on specifications and management area TACs for the 2003 fishing year. The ASMFC Herring Section also discussed and took action on matters not directly affecting the federal Herring Fishery Management Plan. ADVISORY PANEL SESSION At the start of the meeting, the Advisory Panel (AP) held a session to conduct some business and develop recommendations to the Committee. The AP informed the Committee that Art Odlin, former chair of the AP, has resigned and that Dave Ellenton has been elected chair. The AP also requested that in the future, they be provided more time to meet independently and that they would like the Committee to consider meeting in, or nearer to Maine. The AP stated that they would like to see more frequent stock assessments than once every four years, and that they would like increased industry participation. Consensus The AP reached a general consensus that until new processing capacity is on line, it supports foreign joint ventures (JV) and internal waters processing (IWP) activities at the status quo level with fish coming from Areas 2 and 3. The AP has concerns about the method for setting Area 1 TACs that does not take into account the situation, as happened this year, where the fish are late moving, or do not move at all from Area 1 into Area 2 in the winter. The current TACs are predicated on an assumed catch of 10,000 mt of Area 1 fish in the Area 2 winter fishery, but when those fish are not caught, the Area 1 TAC is not readjusted to allow those fish to be caught. As a result, with the split season quota going into effect in 2002, vessels could not fish in Area 1 during part of April and all of May, and the sardine canneries were shut down for 4-5 weeks. The AP supports the split season, but stresses the need for a mechanism to make timely adjustments when the winter fishery in Area 2 does not take place. Committee members generally agreed with the AP but pointed out that past attempts to deal with this issue have not been successful due to uncertainty about the assumptions of mixing and other technical considerations. Dr. Overholtz, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, informed the AP and Committee that the Center is looking to fund a research project that will allow for monitoring the rates of mixing of fish from different spawning components that may be useful in setting up a reliable TAC adjustment
program in the future. Dr. Overholz also suggested that the Area 3 component could support a catch of 100,000 mt based on recent survey estimates of abundance. SAFE REPORT The staff presented the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) Report for 2001. Following a question and answer period, the staff presented the Plan Development Team (PDT) recommendations for 2003 specifications. The PDT recommends no change from the 2002 specifications. 2003 SPECIFICATIONS The Committee, AP, and ASMFC Herring Section discussion focused on the impending rapid growth in the processing sector. The PDT had reviewed a processor survey conducted by Dr. Gates that was intended to be used in the SAFE Report and in calculating domestic harvesting capacity (DAP) specifications, but it determined that the survey results were incomplete. The staff noted that for it or NMFS to conduct a formal survey would first require clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) which could take considerable time, and would not be available for this year’s specifications setting process. In response, the AP and members of the public provided a list of known processing ventures and their potential capacity. In addition to the 100,000 mt that have traditionally been used by the bait and sardine sectors, there is planned or under construction sufficient capacity to process a total of over 340,000 mt of herring, including 20,000 mt to be used by a domestic at-sea processing vessel. One member of the public cautioned the Committee against using this estimate in setting specifications in that is based on construction and completion of freezing and processing facilities in early 2003, and urged the Council to take the steps necessary to formally collect the information needed to set DAP. A representative of the canneries noted that efforts are underway to open European Union markets to U.S. sardines, which, if successful, will result in increases in the cannery demand as well. One Committee member expressed concern that if the canneries increased production significantly, the fishery on juvenile herring would also increase, with potential risks to the long-term health of the fishery. In response, a representative of the canneries pointed out that the machinery installed in the modernization of the plants is not capable of cutting fish smaller than eight inches, so the problem of the canneries purchasing large numbers of immature fish does not exist. In light of these numbers, the discussion focused on the amount of fish that should be made available in 2003 to foreign processing vessels under the JVPT specification, and whether any such fish should come from Area 3. Since Area 1 is currently being fished at capacity, Area 3 will be the area where vessels will focus their effort to provide fish to the new shoreside processing facilities. The agent for current JV activities commented that if JVs are not allowed in Area 3, then there would be no JVs which would be a significant loss of opportunity for some U.S. vessels, including displaced groundfish vessels. Motion to recommend the following specifications for 2003: 2
ABC 300,000 mt OY 250,000 mt DAH 250,000 mt TALFF 0 DAP 246,000 mt USAP 10,000 mt BT 4,000 mt JVPT 0 JV 0 IWP 0 (motion initially made by Pierce for ASMFC, not seconded, and Calomo/Kendall for the NEFMC. Upon clarification of the rules of procedure, that the motion would not be voted on unless it was seconded by both groups, the motion was re-made on behalf of ASMFC by Calomo/Freeman) Comments on the motion: 1. The public has made a convincing case that domestic shoreside processing capacity will increase in 2003 to the point where the plants will be able to purchase all of the herring caught by U.S. vessels. 2. This motion will send a clear signal to investors in shoreside facilities that the Council will make the fish available to them. 3. The new processing capacity will not be on line by early 2003, and a limited amount of fish available to JVs will allow for an extension of the 2002 JV fishery into the winter fishery in early 2003 (oppose the motion). 4. This motion will also send a signal that the Council will not allow cheap labor and lack of environmental rules (on foreign processors) to undercut the competitiveness of the shoreside plants. 5. This motion is too big a change, too quickly and is not consistent with the plan goal for incremental growth in the fishery (oppose the motion). Motion to amend to set DAP at 231,000 mt and JVPT at 15,000 mt (10,000 mt for IWP and 5,000 mt for JVP). (Smith/Flagg-ASMFC, Williamson/Flagg-NEFMC) Comments on the motion to amend: 1. The intent is to allow for a winter fishery, but not a fall fishery in 2003 2. The new shoreside processors are fully automated plants that do not employ significant numbers of people, and they purchase fish from the largest vessels. The IWP operations do buy fish from the smaller vessels which represents employment opportunities for U.S. fishermen. 3. If the shoreside capacity materializes, the boats will sell to them before selling to the IWPs or JVs because of their interest in establishing long-term relationships with the plants. 3
4. A number of U.S. vessels are still interested in engaging in joint ventures and we should provide them that opportunity. Motion to amend failed 2-3 (NEFMC) and, therefore, no ASMFC vote taken. Motion to amend: to recommend DAP at 236,000 mt, with USAP at 15,000 mt, JVPT at 10,000 mt (5,000 mt each for JVP and IWP) (Flagg/Williamson- NEFMC, Smith/White – ASMFC) Motion to amend accepted as a friendly amendment by the maker and seconder of the main motion. Motion as amended passed NEFMC and ASMFC unanimously Motion to recommend that JVPT be limited to Area 2 only (Kendall/Calomo-NEFMC, Adler/AbbottASMFC) Motion clarified to recommend that fish landed under the JVPT specification can only be caught in Area 2 Motion passed NEFMC and ASMFC unanimously. Motion to recommend that the USAP specification be limited to fish coming from Areas 2 and 3 only (Williamson/Flagg-NEFMC, Abbott/Smith-ASMFC) Comments on this motion: 1. To allow this additional processing capacity into Area 1 would compete with established processing capacity in the area 2. Shoreside monitoring of the catch, particularly to enforce the spawning closure tolerance provision is much easier than at-sea monitoring Motion passed 3-1-1-NEFMC, 3-1-2-ASMFC. Motion to accept the PDT recommendation on management area TACs from the SAFE Report, Table 2, page 3 (Flagg/White-ASMFC, Kendall/Freeman-NEFMC) One member of the Committee pointed out that there was a suggestion to allow the Regional Administrator to reallocate 20 percent of the uncaught portion of the 50,000 mt Area 2 TAC back to Area 1A. Dr. Pierce made the following motion to amend, but it did not get a second:
that, consistent with Amendment 1 to the ASMFC plan for determining annual TAC distribution as described on page 3, item 1 (of the ASMFC plan), if it is not projected that the winter fishery in the northern part of Area 2 will land less than 5,000 mt by March 1, then the Area 1A quota will be increased by an additional 5,000 mt, or one-half of the Area1 set aside for the Area 2 winter fishery. Motion passed NEFMC and ASMFC unanimously. Motion to increase the Area 3 TAC by 10,000 mt to 60,000 mt by increasing the optimum yield specification to 260,000 mt (Calomo/Kendall-NEFMC, Adler/Flagg_ASMFC) One member commented that as an alternative, the increase could come out of the Area 2 reserve for April – December since those fish are from the same component. This would avoid the need to increase optimum yield. Motion perfected by friendly amendment the reduce the Area 2 reserve by 10,000 mt and increase the Area 3 TAC by 10,000 mt The basis for 10,000 mt, rather than some other amount is that it represents an incremental increase that would not jeopardize the health of the stock but would allow for growth in the fishery. Motion as perfected passed NEFMC and ASMFC unanimously. In discussing the Area 1A TAC, a member of the AP requested that in future SAFE Reports, the PDT show the step-by-step calculation for all the area TACs as outlined in the FMP. OTHER BUSINESS A member of the ASMFC Section asked what would happen if the Council did not adopt the Committee’s recommendations, while the Section has already approved them. The members agreed that in such a situation, the Section would revisit the specifications and TACs at its August meeting. Several members discussed how the impending increase in processing capacity will create markets for herring that will enable new harvesting capacity to operate in the area. If this increase in capacity occurs in the next year, as it may likely do, then the Council will have a more difficult time implementing a limited entry program because it will force some new participants out of the fishery after they have become established. This should raise the level of priority that the Council places on doing a herring amendment, with a limited entry program, as soon as possible. The Chair indicated he would communicate this to the Council when it considers its 2003 priorities. The Committee discussed the request for an increase in the 2002 specification for JV and IWP. A member of the AP noted that if the increase comes from Area 3 fish, the amount of fish available from
Area 3 for the shoreside processors and domestic markets would be reduced at a time when the fishery is growing significantly. Motion to recommend that the Council not support the request for an additional 10,000 mt for JVs in 2002 (Calomo/Freeman, motion passed, 4-1) Following the motion, two people commented that this increase is for 2002, and that the shoreside processing capacity increase is not yet on line. The proposal would provide opportunity for domestic vessels. The Committee reviewed a letter from the Department of State requesting Council comment on a request by the European Union to negotiate a Governing International Fishery Agreement (GIFA). A representative of the sardine canneries pointed out that the E.U. does not allow U.S. or Canadian Sardines into those markets. A member of the Committee noted that while we are talking about significant increases in domestic processing capacity the need for foreign joint ventures diminishes. Motion to recommend that the Council not support the negotiation of a GIFA with the European Union. (Calomo/Kendall, motion passed unanimously) Following this item, the ASMFC Herring Section held its meeting.