The Council reviewed the Cook Inlet Salmon Committee’s progress on developing recommendations for an amendment to extend federal management to Cook Inlet salmon fisheries that operate in the EEZ and provided direction for their further work. The Council also received a report from the SSC about their review of status determination criteria for the Cook Inlet salmon fisheries.
The Cook Inlet Salmon Committee was created to involve salmon stakeholders in the development of the FMP amendment. After receiving the Committee’s first meeting report in December 2018, the Council directed the Committee to meet again prior to the April 2019 Council meeting and in order to further develop management measure recommendations related to reporting and monitoring of harvest and bycatch, and to further develop its recommendations on status determination criteria. A discussion paper developed by staff serves as a reference document for the Committee to base its recommendations on.
The Cook Inlet Salmon Committee met on March 6 and on April 2, 2019 to address the issues directed by the Council as well as other topics related to the FMP amendment. The Committee Reports for these meetings reflect perspectives held by some Committee members that challenge information provided in the staff discussion paper. A Committee proposal on methods for establishing status determination criteria captures some of these stakeholder perspectives, including assertions that the FMP should manage fishery activity in freshwater areas, that salmon escapement goals should be determined by the Council, and that it is a violation of the MSA to allow salmon to exceed escapement goals. These concepts are not supported by the Council, and a motion was passed to direct the Committee to focus its recommendations on procedures for FMP implementation and identifying appropriate fishery monitoring to meet the MSA requirements.
The Council also received a report from the SSC on their review of escapement-based data and established escapement goals for status determination criteria. The SSC review was requested by the Council to address the Committee’s December 2018 objections to status determination criteria methods as well as related analysis of overcompensation in Kenai and Kasilof River sockeye salmon described in the staff discussion paper. The Council requested that the SSC review the information for consistency with National Standard 1 and the use of best scientific information available under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The SSC provides a response to the Council on this issue in their report, and the Council directed staff to incorporate the proposed status determination criteria in a future analysis, incorporating the SSC’s comments as practicable. The Council also directed the Cook Inlet Salmon Committee to defer review of status determination criteria until the analysis is available for review.
Staff contact is Jim Armstrong.