At this meeting, the Council reviewed but took no further action on an analysis to expand the Red King Crab Savings Area boundary from 57° 00.0’ N to 57° 30.0’ N through an emergency rule. After reviewing the analysis, the Council did not recommend an emergency rule because the expansion of the Red King Crab Savings Area boundary does not meet all three criteria defining an emergency. Specifically, the Council noted that the uncertain benefits for Bristol Bay red king crab savings from expanding the savings area boundary do not outweigh the value of advance notice, public comment, and the deliberative consideration of the impacts on participants.
The Council noted in the Bristol Bay red king crab discussion paper that was tasked in October 2021 will provide a comprehensive evaluation of current boundaries used for PSC limits in addition to boundaries relevant to assessment and management of the directed Bristol Bay red king crab fishery. This discussion paper will also evaluate the best available information on bottom contact by pelagic trawl gear and the impact it may have on Bristol Bay red king crab stocks, and summarize mechanisms used in other Council-managed fisheries to create flexible, responsive spatial management measures for all gear types, and how they might be applied to protect Bristol Bay red king crab.
During staff tasking at this meeting, the Council asked staff to also include in the Bristol Bay red king crab discussion paper the best available information on Bristol Bay red king crab molting/mating annual cycle, and how the seasonality of this overlaps with fisheries, and the effects these interactions may have. The Council prioritized this discussion paper for the April or June meeting, depending on the availability of staff resources. Staff contact is Jon McCracken.