23 Aug 2007

California Coastal Commission Considering Longline Permit

The California Coastal Commission (CCC) meets this week in San Francisco. It has just come to light that the CCC is considering the recently approved federal Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP), which authorizes one pelagic longline to fish off a portion of California's shores. The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) approved the federal permit, which still requires the approval of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The CCC has authority to make recommendations on federally approved actions that might impact species in state waters. TBF believes the CCC will oppose the federal action out of concern that species in state waters will be negatively impacted.

State officials realize the federal government is interested in increasing, on both coasts, the U.S. swordfish landings. The U.S. is currently importing more swordfish than is being caught by U.S. fleets. Thus the federal decision makers at all levels are expected to support the Council action authorizing the longline permit off the west coast. On the east coast the NMFS is working diligently to find ways to "reinvigorate" the commercial swordfish fishery.

The CCC is expected to take a vote on the position it will take on the federal action - to support or not support. The vote is scheduled for Friday, August 10th. The meeting is taking place at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero at 5 Embarcadero Plaza between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. Anglers are urged to attend if at all possible. TBF has submitted comments consistent with our opposition expressed before the federal Council opposing the EFP in waters off California.