The Council reviewed reports from the Joint and BSAI Groundfish Plan Teams and recommended 2021 and 2022 groundfish harvest and prohibited species catch (PSC) specifications for proposed rulemaking.
The SSC was presented with the Joint Groundfish Report and the BSAI Groundfish Plan Team Report that summarized the issues discussed and actions taken by the Plan Teams at their September meeting. For proposed rulemaking for the 2021 and 2022 fishing years, the Council recommended OFLs and ABCs consistent with SSC recommendations, based on rollover of the existing 2021 specifications for all stocks except for updated northern rock sole. The Council also recommended proposed TACs for all species, PSC limits for halibut, crab, and herring, and adopted Halibut discard mortality rates (DMRs) for 2021 and 2022. Full details are included in the Council motion for the BSAI.
The Council received a letter from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) indicating that the combined, post-season sum of the three-river index (Upper Yukon, Unalakleet, and Kuskokwim Rivers) of Chinook salmon is 173,416 and is below the threshold level of 250,000. Therefore, the performance standard for the Bering Sea pollock fishery will decrease from 47,491 to 33,318 Chinook salmon and the PSC limit will decrease from 60,000 to 45,000 Chinook salmon, as identified at 50 CFR 679.21.
Information for the GOA Proposed Specifications is available here. Staff contact for BSAI Groundfish is Steve MacLean.