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Session Abstracts


Friday, March 16, 2001—Session I

Introductory Remarks and Salmonid Poster Unveiling

William J. Douros, Superintendent, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary


California Fisheries: Why Do They Matter?

Fred Keeley, Assemblymember, 27th District

The presentation by Speaker pro Tem Fred Keeley will discuss the economic dimension of salmon, the role of salmon in California's history and traditions, and the role that salmon play in ecosystems. The presentation will also discuss California legislative efforts and legislative politics surrounding salmon recovery efforts.

Salmon Decline: Why Care About Salmon?

James Lecky, Assistant Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Services, Southwest Region

Salmon and steelhead trout embody historic, cultural and economic values that have been of significance for thousands of years, predating the arrival of European settlers. Salmonids also serve as highly visible indicators of the manner in which humans interact with their environment. Over the last century or so, human activities have caused a precipitous decline in the numbers of salmon and steelhead in the Monterey Bay area. Some of these activities have caused direct and easily understood impacts to salmonids; others, such as global warming, are more subtle but probably just as harmful. Although natural cycles, such as ocean conditions and predation by marine mammals, can and do affect the ability of salmonids to cope with environmental fluctuations, the rapidity with which human activities have impaired habitat conditions exceeds the ability of salmonids to successfully adapt. Salmonids are extremely sensitive to changes in habitat conditions and to reductions in habitat quantity, and we can often see how salmonids respond to these human-induced impacts. As harbingers of adverse effects of human activities, salmon and steelhead can help us to better understand ourselves - how we affect the environment, how we set priorities, how to craft solutions to complex problems of competing uses for limited resources.

Friday, March 16—Session II


FishNet 4C: A Proactive County Initiative for Salmonid Protection and Restoration

Kallie Marie Kull, Program Director, FishNet 4C - Fishery Network of the Central California Coastal Counties

FishNet 4C - a unique, multi-county program, was an exciting pro-active move by County Supervisors to help the Central California Coastal Counties do their part for salmonid protection and restoration. Incentives and regulations have combined in recent years to bring county governments forward, to join in an ever increasing local movement for watershed planning and restoration. UC Berkeley and the FishNet Program have teamed up to provide the Counties with the blueprints to make lasting positive effects on anadromous fishery habitat.

Department of Fish and Game Perspective on Salmonid Recovery

Robert W. Floerke, Regional Manager, California Department of Fish and Game, Central Coast Region

California Department of Fish and Game is affecting recovery of the anadromous salmonids using streams tributary to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary by protecting and restoring their habitat, by hatchery supplementation, and by studying their distribution and relative abundance.

Assessing Viability and Setting Recovery Goals for Salmonids: How Science Can Support Recovery Planning

Dr. Eric Bjorkstedt, Research Fisheries Biologist, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Santa Cruz Laboratory

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides measures to conserve and recover listed species, thereby returning them to sustainable numbers no longer requiring the protections of the ESA. Decisions regarding issues such as how to define "recovery goals," how to go about attempting to achieve such goals, and what are acceptable costs and risks associated with these efforts are political and social in nature. Scientific assessment, evaluation, and research can provide information on the likely outcomes and risks associated with different recovery scenarios&endash;information crucial to reaching decisions based on the best understanding of how salmonid populations and their habitats function, given the data available for analysis. This presentation will 1) review efforts to develop a scientific framework for developing recovery goals based on our best understanding of salmonid biology and ecology, including the concept of "Viable Salmonid Populations" and how this concept relates to recovery of Evolutionarily Significant Units, 2) briefly outline how Technical Recovery Teams may approach the development of preliminary recovery goals, and 3) emphasize the importance of understanding uncertainty and its implications for predicting outcomes of recovery strategies, evaluating risks associated with these strategies, and shaping the expectations of society regarding the appropriate role of science in recovery planning.

Friday, March 16—Session III


To Recover the Salmon: Conservation Options Under the Endangered Species Act

Miles Croom, Recovery Coordinator, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Region

Salmon and steelhead populations, once abundant in California, have declined to about 10 percent or less of historical levels. These fish supported thriving fisheries at one time, but due to the drastic decline in their numbers they have been listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA was passed by Congress in 1973 to provide measures to conserve and recover listed species, thereby returning them to sustainable numbers no longer requiring the protections of the ESA. The ESA contains a number of tools that are used by government agencies, local jurisdictions, user groups and landowners to ensure that human activities are done in a way that avoids or minimizes the harmful effects of these activities. These ESA tools affect different groups in different ways, but in the end the tools are intended to promote the recovery of listed species. This presentation will take a brief look at these tools, which include section 4 rules, section 7 consultations, and section 10 permits, and show how they relate to recovery planning.

Perspectives from Various User Groups and Panel Discussion

Moderator: Jeff Almquist, Supervisor, County of Santa Cruz
Mike Stiller, President, Santa Cruz Commercial Fisherman's Association
Craig Bell, Northern Association of River Guides
Bud McCrary, Owner, Big Creek Lumber
Gary Patton, Executive Director, LandWatch Monterey County
Tim Frahm, Conservation & Water Quality Program Director, San Mateo County Farm Bureau
Karen Christensen,Watershed Program Director, Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District
Allen Smith, Chairman of the Board, Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Program


Saturday, March 17—Session I



Stephanie Harlan, Boardmember, Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments; Councilmember, City of Capitola; Chair, Sanctuary Advisory Council
William J. Douros, Superintendent, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Fisheries Conservation in Monterey Bay: What Have We Learned from the Salmon?

Miles Croom, Recovery Coordinator, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Region

 "Ironically, as we work to save the salmon, it may turn out that the salmon save us."

Paul Schell, former Mayor of Seattle

The evidence is becoming increasingly clear, both in detail and in the range of effects, that we humans are having a direct, measurable impact on the world around us. Some of these effects are more or less obvious, such as the construction of dams that close off habitat that once supported salmon spawning. Others of these effects are more subtle, or at least are more difficult to link in a direct way to our activities. Global warming, sea level rise, holes in the ozone layer, melting of glaciers throughout the world, declining stocks of harvestable fish&endash;these problems seem to be more difficult for us to take ownership of. As we work to gain a better understanding of the ecological mechanisms through which our activities are expressed, and as we build support for attempts to change the behaviors that led to these impacts, we must not wait to initiate corrective measures. These measures must be understood and supported by the people who will be asked to make changes, and feasible options must be devised to both buy time and provide some measure of protection against extinction. To this end, institutions such as NMFS and the NOS National Marine Sanctuary Program are working to provide these options and protections for resources that have been of enormous importance in the past for historical, cultural and economic reasons. The drastic decline in the numbers of salmon and steelhead on the West Coast is teaching us that we must begin now to make the investment in time, money, and effort to preserve the future of these fish&endash;as both symbols of our stewardship and as resources of economic and ecological significance - while at the same time we seek deeper insights and better understanding of exactly how to direct those energies to best effect.

Coastal Pelagic Species: Where Are They All Coming From?

Dr. Kevin T. Hill, Senior Marine Biologist, California Department of Fish and Game, Marine Region - La Jolla

Coastal pelagic species are schooling fish, not associated with the ocean bottom, that migrate in coastal waters. California's major coastal pelagic species include Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax), Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus), jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus), northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax), and market squid (Loligo opalescens). Coastal pelagic species collectively comprise the one of the largest marine fisheries in California with respect to biomass, landed volume, and revenue. One characteristic common to coastal pelagic species is the highly dynamic nature of their populations with respect to movement, biomass, and availability to the fishery. 'Boom or bust' population cycles of coastal pelagic stocks have been attributed to a number of key factors, including relatively short life cycles, variable recruitment, and annual and decadal scale variation in optimal habitats for spawning, larval survival, recruitment, and feeding. The management history has varied widely for coastal pelagic species. Prior to the 1970's, management was minimal for all these species. The outlook for coastal pelagic species and their fisheries will depend upon the forces of nature, economics, and the combined wisdom of resource users and managers.

Overfished Groundfish and the Sustainable Fisheries Act

Dr. Steve Ralston, Research Fisheries Biologist, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Santa Cruz Laboratory

In 1996 the Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA) was passed by Congress when it re-authorized the original Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The SFA imposed significant new standards that guide and constrain the management of all the nation's marine fisheries, as mediated through the Regional Fishery Management Councils. The most significant new aspects of the SFA affecting west coast groundfish fisheries were the requirements that the Pacific Fishery Management Council end overfishing if it occurred and to maintain healthy groundfish stocks close to population levels that would be expected to produce, over the long term, the maximum sustainable yield. Both requirements have resulted in sharp reductions in allowable biological catch of groundfish and landings have fallen accordingly. In addition, a number of stocks have been declared overfished and rebuilding plans have been implemented that further constrain fishery impacts along the west coast.

Toward a New Ocean Wilderness: Bring Back the Fish

Richard Charter, Marine Conservation Advocate, Environmental Defense

A careful look below the waves shows that many marine species are clearly in trouble, with a search for new restoration tools now generating a growing public dialog. While Monterey Bay enjoys the unique protection afforded by our nation's largest National Marine Sanctuary, there is now compelling scientific evidence that populations of key marine species continue to decline. The creation of "no take" marine reserves has a substantial track record of success in other parts of the world, and is gaining growing attention in the U.S.

Overly optimistic assumptions by fishery managers as to what levels of harvest might be sustainable have contributed to these problems, combined with pollution and climate change. Our society now needs to look at new tools for the restoration of our fish populations.

An Executive Order has called for the creation of a National Center for Marine Protected Areas. California's new law, the Marine Life Management Act, seeks to better protect ocean resources. The Pacific Fishery Management Council is working toward the adoption of marine reserves as part of its strategy for rebuilding declining rockfish populations.

Each new marine reserve site must be custom designed and created locally. Lengthy and patient stakeholders consultation processes at the Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys, and within California's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, are providing models for good science, relevant consultative processes, and enabling the design of effective reserves that will produce constructive and multi-disciplinary results.

Join us for a stimulating look at how fishery management is changing. We will also look at the types of marine reserves, the range of purposes they serve, and the grassroots organizing necessary to successful designation. Biodiversity, research, and fishery restoration can all be secured by the creation of marine reserves, but each reserve must begin with the people in affected local communities. In a field now rapidly emerging as one of the important answers to the questions being asked by our marine environment, we are embarking on a process which is as much of an art as a science.

Saturday, March 17—Session II


Federal Fishery Management: The Challenge of Litigation

Dr. Rebecca Lent, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Region

One of the greatest challenges faced by the National Marine Fisheries Service is the growing number of legal cases brought against the agency. At last count, NMFS is confronting 114 cases nation-wide, with 16 of these cases focused here in the Southwest Region. These suits are brought against the agency by environmental constituents, commercial and recreational fishermen, as well as other private and tribal organizations. The allegations in the suits include violation of Magnuson-Stevens Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), and the Administrative Procedure Act. While the litigation workload has forced the agency to put more resources into defending its actions, there have been positive effects of the lawsuits. New regulatory actions are subjected to a more rigorous review and analytical process. The agency has been able to increase its emphasis on NEPA and RFA analyses, enlisting social as well as environmental scientists in improving regulatory packages. Legal experts are more integrated into the entire regulatory process from concept to regulation, reviewing actions and products at every step of the way. These efforts won't necessarily result in fewer lawsuits; however, regulatory actions taken by the agency are not only defensible, they are based on data and analyses that more fully inform the public as well as the decision makers.

Changes in Management Strategies for California's Fisheries

Patricia Wolf, Regional Manager, Marine Region, California Department of Fish and Game 

The conservation and management of California's diverse and rich marine resources entered a new era with the passage of the Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) of 1998. This law directs the State to manage resources, and fisheries, for sustainability; to involve fishermen, scientists and the interested public in developing management measures; to use fishery management plans as a primary tool for management; and to develop and use the best available scientific information. The MLMA also gave greater responsibility for marine fisheries management to the California Fish and Game Commission. Another important piece of legislation, the Marine Life Protection Act, requires recommendations for networks of marine protected areas including siting of new areas and modifications of existing areas, with an emphasis on public and peer review. Implementation of these acts, as well as other legislative mandates for fishery management, is well underway. These change in management strategies present new challenges and have required innovative approaches and solutions by the Department of Fish and Game and the Marine Region.

A Vision for Sustainable Fisheries Along the California Coast: Protecting Habitats for Fish and Humans

Pietro Parravano, President, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Association

The Cultural Value of Recreational Fishing in California: Conservation Ethics Giving Back More Than We Take

Bob Strickland, President, United Anglers of California

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