The SSC and Council reviewed an application for an exempted fishing permit to allow for some flatfish trawling within the Bristol Bay red king crab savings area (RKCSA) closure in order to evaluate the relative differences in crab bycatch rates inside and outside of the closure area. The Bristol Bay red king crab savings area has been closed to bottom trawling since the mid 1990’s. The underlying hypothesis of this EFP is that red king crab bycatch rates in the winter/spring flatfish fisheries could be reduced with access to the closed areas. The SSC provided extensive comments on the EFP design and expressed concerns regarding the proposed trawling in relation to low stock status for Bristol Bay red king crab and the potential for encountering molting male crab. The actual winter distribution of red king crab in this area is unknown. The Council had a lengthy discussion on the relative merits of this proposal as it relates to examination of the efficacy of the RKCSA closure. A motion to approve a modified EFP application did not pass. In the end the Council reiterated it’s general support of evaluating the efficacy of the RKCSA and other area closures but did not move forward with approval of this EFP at this time. The Council noted that a staff discussion paper specific to Bristol Bay red king crab PSC management measures will be reviewed in February and further discussion on evaluation of the efficacy of closure areas will likely ensue at that time. Staff contact is Diana Stram.