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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The West Coast PACIFIC FISHER MANAGEMENT COUNCIL has done what the Atlantic Seaboard and the Aleutian and Hawaiian islands have previously done--adopted a management plan that will report on the health of the ocean......Their ecosystem evaluation will figure into decisions on setting fishing seasons, catch quotas and other issues impacting the health of the fishery

Panel approves ecosystem plan for West Coast fisheries

Associated Press;

Fishing boats are tied up in Garibaldi, Ore. The Pacific Fishery Management Council voted Tuesday to adopt a fishery ecosystem management program, which will guide it in making decisions on spot and commercial fishing seasons, quotas and fishing methods on the West Coast.


GRANTS PASS -- After three years of consideration, West Coast federal fisheries managers on Tuesday unanimously adopted their first ecosystem approach to decisions on fishing seasons and catch quotas.

Meeting in Portland, thePacific Fishery Management Counci ladopted the Fishery Ecosystem Plan, whose first initiative will be to consider how to make sure enough little forage fish remain in the ocean for bigger fish to eat."Clearly, federal managers have gotten the message that the days of crisis-based management, managing for a single species, and how to maximize catches are over," said Ben Enticknapp of the conservation group Oceana.

The Pacific council followed the lead of other councils, which have established ecosystem plans for federal waters off the southern Atlantic Seaboard, the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and the Hawaiian and Marianas islands, said Yvonne deReynier, who overseas development of ecosystem plans for NOAA Fisheries Service in Seattle. Each council is taking its own approach to the issue, because there is no legal mandate, she added.
As recently as 2002, the West Coast groundfish fishery, which includes popular species like lingcod and rockfish, was in trouble. A fisheries disaster was declared after a decade of declining catches.

Since then, managers have gone beyond just cutting back catch quotas to buying out half the groundfish fleet, protecting marine habitats and taking steps to minimize the numbers of unwanted fish that get dumped overboard dead, known as bycatch. Fisheries have been rebounding.

Under the ecosystem management program, the council will get regular scientific reports on the health of the ocean that will figure in decisions on setting fishing seasons, catch quotas and other issues.

Conservation groups were disappointed the program was non-binding, but felt the scientific reports will go a long way toward informing good council decisions, said Enticknapp.

Scott McMullen, a retired fisherman who serves on Oregon's Ocean Policy Advisory Council and helped write the program, called it a milestone, but added it faces challenges due to the difficulty of measuring things like forage fish numbers.
"In the forest, you can go out and count the trees," he said. "You can't do that in the ocean."

Brad Pettinger, director of the Oregon Trawl Commission, a fishing industry group, said West Coast fisheries have rebounded since the 2002 groundfish collapse, with strong catches of shrimp and whiting, the fish that is processed into artificial crab, and bycatch below 5 percent.

"Obviously, you want to be careful on forage fish, because it's part of the food chain," he said. "But I don't think we are anywhere close to (overfishing those species). The Wild West is gone."

Two major forage fish species, sardines and anchovies, are fished for bait and food. But lesser-known species, such as sand lance and some smelt are not. Conservation groups worry that as demand for fish protein increases, they will be overfished.The fish go through a boom-and-bust cycle of about 50 years, whether they are managed or not, Pettinger said.

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