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Monday, June 27, 2011

Waters of the U.S.

Update on Waters of the U.S. Draft Guidance

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have extended the public comment period by 30 days for the draft guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act. In response to requests from state and local officials, as well as other stakeholders, EPA and the Corps will take additional comment until July 31, 2011 on this important draft guidance that aims to protect U.S. waters. These waters are critical for the health of the American people, the economy and ecosystems in communities across the country.

This change in the public comment period will not impact the schedule for finalizing the guidance or alter the intent to proceed with a rulemaking.

Public input received will be carefully considered as the agencies make final decisions regarding the guidance. These comments will also be very helpful as the agencies prepare a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

The original 60-day public comment period was originally set to expire on July 1, 2011. The agencies will be publishing a notice of this 30-day extension in the Federal Register.

More information:

2011 National Conference on Fish Passage

The University of Massachusetts is hosting a three-day conference in cooperation with sponsors including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Fish Passage Program.

This three-day conference with concurrent sessions in engineering, biology, and management and social issues
will be of interest to researchers, educators, practitioners, funders, and regulators who have an interest in advancements in technical fishways, nature-like fishways, stream restoration and stabilization, dam removal, road ecology, and the myriad of funding, safety, climate change, and other social issues surrounding connectivity projects.

In the following video Conference Advisory Board member Chris Katopodis shares his thoughts the National Conference on Fish Passage and the UMass Fish Passage Engineering & Ecohydrology degree specialization

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New York Announces Saltwater Fishing Registry

Future Harvest Quotas Based on Number of Registrants

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced on June 14 that all saltwater anglers are required to register in the state's new, no-fee saltwater fishing registry. DEC developed the registry in compliance with recent legislation that suspended the fee associated with the state's marine recreational fishing license for two years. The no-fee registration system will be used by the National Marine Fisheries Service and interstate fisheries regulators to set harvest quotas for marine species.

"New York's angler community plays an essential role in the management of the state's fish and wildlife programs," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "Full participation in the registry by the marine sportfishing community is needed to help ensure New York gets its fair share of the national coastal fishing harvest in comparison with other states."

The new registration system fulfills a federal mandate to develop a database of New York marine recreational anglers to improve federal recreational fishing surveys about the number and size of their catch. This information is vital since it is used to set quotas, size and bag limits, and fishing seasons in subsequent years. DEC anticipates this new data will provide accurate information for future management of the coastal fishery and better integration into federal reporting systems.

DEC reminds anglers that registration in the New York registry is required even if they are already registered with the federal National Saltwater Angler Registry. DEC will automatically enroll all lifetime license purchasers, charter/party boat operators and individuals who purchased a Recreational Marine Fishing License in 2011 in the no-fee registry. Therefore, those license holders do not need to register this year. However, all saltwater anglers will be required to register annually beginning in 2012.

Marine anglers can register by using DECALS, the DEC's automated sporting licenses system. Effective immediately, all anglers 16 years of age and older who take fish from the waters of the marine district, or who take anadromous fish from any waters of the state, are required to register. This requirement is the same as the recently repealed Recreational Marine Fishing License, but is now free of charge. Those fishing from a for-hire party or charter fishing vessel licensed by DEC are not required to obtain an individual registration.
To register, anglers can go to the usual outlets for sporting licenses, or register online anytime on DEC's website. Anglers can also register by phone by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS (1-866-933-2257).

Participation in the registry is comparable to a license to fish in marine waters. After registering, anglers will be given a card similar to the fishing license the registry replaced. Those registering online should print out their receipt. The registration card or receipt must be in possession when exercising the privileges of the registration. Failure to register or carry a recreational marine license or registry card may subject anglers to enforcement and fines.

For more information on the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry, visit DEC's website.


Monday, June 06, 2011

Congratulations Roscoe New York!

Roscoe, NY named 2011 WFN: World Fishing Network's Ultimate Fishing Town USA Presented by Eagle Claw

After More Than One Million Votes Were Cast, Roscoe, NY Edges Waddington, NY For Title and $25,000 Grand Prize

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 6, 2011 - Although New York is best known for the theatre, fine restaurants and the world-class nightlife, it is also a great place to wet a line. In fact, after anglers cast more than one million online votes at www.wfnfishingtown.com, Roscoe, NY has been selected as the 2011 WFN: World Fishing Network's Ultimate Fishing Town USA Presented by Eagle Claw. The announcement was made by Mark Rubinstein, President and CEO of World Fishing Network, North America's only 24/7 fishing channel.

Representatives from The Roscoe - Rockland Chamber of Commerce will receive a $25,000 donation to be used towards a fishing-related cause and 10 WaveSpin Reels at a local ceremony emceed by Mariko Izumi, host of WFN's popular fishing and travel show Hookin' Up. The town will also receive national recognition from the honor and have a feature produced about fishing in Roscoe to air on WFN.

"We are so proud and thrilled to receive the title of WFN Ultimate Fishing Town USA," said Elaine Fettig of The Roscoe - Rockland Chamber of Commerce, the group who spearheaded the town's efforts. "This experience brought our community and the surrounding areas together -- from folks spreading the word about the contest; to the media speaking about it frequently; to business owners allowing staff to vote during the business day. We look forward to the opportunities this award will provide to Roscoe, and we thank WFN for bringing our community together in support of a common goal."

Roscoe, N.Y., also known as "Trout Town USA", is a small hamlet of about 600 people with such a strong fishing history that it has been known as Trout Town USA for decades. Its choice natural setting offers anglers five of America's top trout streams and numerous reservoirs and lakes. It is conveniently located approximately two hours from New York City, Connecticut and New Jersey at the gateway to the Catskill Park and surrounded by over 20,000 acres of State Forest Preserve. In addition to world class fishing there are a significant number of cultural and other attractions nearby as well, from the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on the former site of the Woodstock Festival to museums, covered bridges, arts societies, fine shops and more.

After more than 300 towns all across the U.S.A. were nominated in March, a preliminary round of voting in April narrowed the field to 20 finalists. The competition quickly became a two town race as Roscoe and Waddington, N.Y. traded places atop the leader board. In the end, Roscoe edged Waddington by a small margin.

"We commend all of the towns for their enthusiasm, passion and pride and wanting to invite anglers all across the U.S.A. to experience everything their town has to offer," said Mr. Rubinstein. "WFN's search for our Ultimate Fishing Town was not just about finding the place to catch the most fish. As any angler will tell you, and as Roscoe proved, the people are just as important a factor. Roscoe's passionate angling community stepped-up to prove that their pride, passion and fishing are second to none."

As the runner-up, Waddington, NY will be awarded $5,000 while the third place finisher, Baudette, MN will receive $2,500.

Endangered species listing for Atlantic bluefin tuna not warranted

Agency remains concerned; will revisit decision with new science

May 27, 2011
This shortfin mako was hooked on a circle hook and is about to be released.

School of bluefin tuna (Credit: NOAA Fisheries Service)

After an extensive scientific review, NOAA announced today that Atlantic bluefin tuna currently do not warrant species protection under the Endangered Species Act.

NOAA has committed to revisit this decision by early 2013, when more information will be available about the effects of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill, as well as a new stock assessment from the scientific arm of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, the international body charged with the fish’s management and conservation.

NOAA is formally designating both the western Atlantic and eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean stocks of bluefin tuna as “species of concern” under the Endangered Species Act. This places the species on a watchlist for concerns about its status and threats to the species.

“NOAA is concerned about the status of bluefin tuna, including the potential effects of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill on the western stock of Atlantic bluefin, which spawns in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We will revisit the status of the species in early 2013 when we will have a new stock assessment and information from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment of the oil spill. We will also take action in the interim if new information indicates the need for greater protection.”

NOAA’s status review, released with today’s decision and peer-reviewed by The Center for Independent Experts, indicates that based on the best available information and assuming  countries comply with the bluefin tuna fishing quotas established by ICCAT, both the western and eastern Atlantic stocks are not likely to become extinct.

The status review team also looked at the best available information on the potential effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill on the future abundance of the western stock of bluefin tuna and found that it did not substantially alter the results of the extinction risk analysis.  While the NOAA team found that the presently available information did not favor listing, it also recognized the need to continue to monitor the potential long-term effects of the spill on bluefin tuna and the overall ecosystem. New scientific information is expected in a 2012 bluefin tuna stock assessment and as part of the Natural Resources Damage Assessment of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill.

“Based on careful scientific review, we have decided the best way to ensure the long-term sustainability of bluefin tuna is through international cooperation and strong domestic fishery management,” said Eric Schwaab, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “The United States will continue to be a leader in advocating science-based quotas at ICCAT, full compliance with these quotas and other management measures to ensure the long-term viability of this and other important fish stocks.”

NOAA conducted the status review of Atlantic bluefin after determining on Sept. 21, 2010, that a petition for listing under the ESA from a national environmental organization warranted a scientific status review.
To read the status review report on Atlantic bluefin tuna, the federal register notice and other information on bluefin tuna, please go to: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2011/05/bluefin_tuna.html