senoritafish: (fisheries observer by ray troll)
[personal profile] senoritafish
Good grief, June is almost over. How did it fly by so fast?

The second week of June I had to go to a PFMC meeting in Spokane, WA. If you're wondering why a body having to do with mostly ocean-going fishing meets occasionally on the eastern side of Washington (and sometimes in Idaho), the answer is "salmon." Which I have nothing to do with, but salmon drags everything after it. My flight had a transfer in Seattle and I had a 2½ hour layover between planes. [livejournal.com profile] tikistitch was kind enough to come down and meet me at the airport and chat between planes; we got some dinner and I hope I didn't babble at her too much - I really didn't expect that glass of wine to be so big, especially at an airport, and it turns out I'm really a lightweight lately. I brought her a little Stitch something from Downtown Disney she'd mentioned she couldn't find, just in gratitude for all the fun I've had reading her Mythklok stories. Really great to meet you, Pam, and thanks for putting up with me!

There were only two HMS agenda items, and one was pretty much just discussion. However, the other was more complicated, even though it hasn't been in the past. The team I'm on is supposed to suggest recommendations for the Council to make to international fisheries management bodies known collectively as Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) - because sharks, tunas, swordfish and other Highly Migratory Species move all over the Pacific Ocean and many countries fish on the same populations. Generally, a lot of these stem from biomass assessments that are done by "working groups", that is, scientists from agencies from a number of countries working under to auspices of the RFMOs to come up with biomass assessments. Our team will generally go over the recommendations from those working groups, or have someone associated with them speak to us, and if those more experienced in doing assessments (Suzy is actually on one or two of the working groups) agree with the results, then we generally suggest the Council recommend US delegates to whatever RFMO support it and if needed, suggest ways to manage fisheries - ferinstance, if the assessment says a species is approaching a condition of overfishing, and fishing mortality needs to be limited, suggest limiting fishing effort by a maximum tons landed, number of fishing days, closed areas or seasons etc. And since, in most cases U.S. fishers take only a small fraction of the total (in the case of tuna, there are none of those giant purse seiners based here anymore) trying to find ways to do it without putting them out of business. Our team mostly looks at the biological and to some extent the economic side of the picture; there's also an advisory subpanel made up of commercial and sportfishing industry members, environmental groups, and science-at-large people that also gives their input and recommendations. Each of our groups writes up a report which is read in front of the Council, who then asks questions, discusses it, and moves to make some action; all. They make take some recommendations and discard others. If you're curious, you can look at the agenda and see the reports here.

This time was a little more complicated than the normal recommendation process. The working group that does the biomass assessment for north Pacific albacore was supposed to meet in Japan in March. Well, you know what happened in Japan in March. So that meeting was postponed until June (Suzy wasn't actually at our meeting, she was in Japan), and meanwhile the Council still wants its recommendations, which are rather difficult to come up with, assessment sight unseen. The Director actually sent us an email, directing us to consider various scenarios in case increases/decreases in biomass or fishing pressure. We've done these kinds of analyses before, and they usually take something on the order of a three-day meeting with a lot of white board scribbling, and often quite a bit of email traffic after the meeting, to get all the details of all the scenarios ironed out. This just didn't seem feasible at a 1½ day meeting at a hotel, in addition to other stuff on our own agenda and joint meetings with the advisory subpanel (who were trying to do the same thing) as well.

Wednesday turned out to be a very long day, starting with Marija's 7am CA delegation meeting; then ours, another joint with the subpanel, and spending the afternoon trying to write our statement - wound up working on it until 7:30 pm. My boss, who came up for the Coastal Pelagic Team meeting poked his head in to see what we were working on and why it was taking so long. It turned out that neither the team nor the subpanel followed the Directors instructions exactly, but apparently the Council was fairly happy with what we came up with - Marija even described it as "meaty" on the Council floor the next day.

Speaking of the next day - I mentioned salmon earlier? HMS was supposed to be the first thing on the agenda the next morning, but it turned out salmon issues took way longer than they were supposed to and HMS didn't start until 11am. They weren't finished discussing when I had to leave for the airport.

Anyway. I last visited Spokane for a similar meeting two years ago. I really wish I could take another extra day in Spokane because its downtown area, at least, is pretty neat. There was a little co-op market that seemed to be new from the last time I was here; I got my lunch at the deli there every day, and picked up a couple of sets of To-GoWare, one for me and one for my brother as a present. I've been looking for some for awhile; could've bought them online I suppose, but just hadn't. My friends at work use them and I figured it was a good idea to carry around with me, to use for lunch at work and not use so much plastic at takeout places. I already have a pair of chopsticks my dad gave me a couple years ago, but a fork and a spoon is cool too.

Whenever I'm in another city, I seem to get on a geocaching kick, provided I have a GPS with me. I recently started using one my dad bought a few years ago from a discount catalog. It's horribly out of date - the maps can no longer be updated on it and it's only got a simple b&w screen, but so far it's getting me a lot closer to places than the car type GPS I had been using - which we still have, but since the battery will no longer hold a charge, and they don't sell new ones, I think it's going to be relegated to stay in the car. The Riverfront Park is really pretty and I found five traditional caches with logs to sign and 2 virtuals. I'd brought a travelbug from CA with me, hoping to drop it off in Washington, but none of the caches I found were big enough to leave it in; it really wasn't that big a bug either, a laminated copy of a geocoin. I can never see how people release those anyway; most of them are so pretty, it's no wonder people who find them wind up keeping them instead of moving them from cache to cache like they're supposed to. It still irritates me how the first one I found I stupidly handed to someone at an event who said they were going to some giant GeoBash in the Midwest; I never got their username, and they never logged it again. That one came all the way from Eastern Europe and I feel responsible for it going missing. Anyway, I haven't worked up the courage to release Toki's Underwater Friend yet - to tell the truth I've only come across a very few caches she would actually fit in - so I've just been using her to log miles. Since she has a goal of caches near water, it's kind of neat to see the path she's been on so far just from me hauling her around. Maybe I should just keep her. I'm still trying to think of travelbugs themed for other Metalocalypse characters.

Toki's Friend at the R is for River Relaxation geocache:

friend

And here's the view from The 1974 Exposition Attraction...
By the way, she was very impressed by the amount of water at the falls, compared to two years ago.

June 2009
IMG_0758

June 2011
CIMG0838



Ack, I have a ton of pics, but this is long enough - if anyone's interested they can check out the set...
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