The Council heard from the Cook Inlet Salmon Committee on progress with recommendations on the Salmon FMP amendment under development.
The Cook Inlet Salmon Committee was created to involve salmon stakeholders in the development of an FMP amendment that will extend federal management authority to salmon fisheries in EEZ waters of Cook Inlet. Under Alternative 2 in the amendment, commercial salmon fisheries in EEZ waters of Cook Inlet would be cooperatively managed with the State of Alaska, and authority would be delegated to the State for several types of management measures. The Committee met on Monday, September 30 to develop recommendations on management measures including reporting and monitoring tools, as well as to review an analysis of economic and community considerations and a timeline for amending the FMP. In order to better develop specific management measure recommendations to the Council, Committee members will work collaboratively in a shared document and transmit written submissions to the Council.
At the meeting, the Committee reviewed a list of several types of management measures (i.e., Category II measures) that could be delegated and expressed their interest in establishing mechanisms in the Salmon FMP, like those in the Crab FMP, that guide the State on implementation. The Committee also recommended creating a role for stakeholders in the review of information supporting harvest-limit setting. The Committee discussed the logistical and technological challenges presented by existing harvest reporting options and recommended mechanisms be developed for Cook Inlet driftnetters that would simplify or minimize costs, especially those needed to differentiate catches from Federal and State waters. The Committee was interested in establishing an option for choosing no-retention or full-retention of bycatch, though stakeholders maintained that very little bycatch occurs in their fishery.
The Committee reviewed a range of salmon fishery economic and community data and made suggestions for additional information to consider, as well as explanations for existing spatial patterns and trends. The Committee did not make recommendations on the timeline for completing the amendment, which, according to staff, could be in place by the start of the 2022 fishing season.
The Council was presented with a report of the Committee meeting and encouraged the Committee to work collaboratively to further develop recommendations prior to the next Committee meeting. Based on the Council response, the Committee is expected to hold additional meetings prior to Council review of the Salmon FMP Amendment.
Staff Contact is Jim Armstrong.