The Council considered a discussion paper on the non-binding price formula that is part of the Arbitration System in the Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands crab rationalization program. The discussion paper reviewed the current criteria used by the non-binding price formula arbitrator to aid the Council in determining whether operational cost changes to the participants in the crab fisheries should be considered in setting the non-binding price formula.
The Council had extensive discussion on the type of action that was appropriate in response to this discussion paper. A motion was made to send a letter to formula arbitrator, which would have stated that the formula arbitrator can consider operational costs under the existing standards for arbitration. This motion failed. Some Council members stated that they believed that the formula arbitrator already has the ability to consider operational costs under the existing standards for arbitration. They were concerned that sending a letter could be misconstrued as justification for the inclusion of a certain operational cost, rather than a clarification that appropriate operational costs could be considered under the existing standards. Other Council members considered this to be a change to the policy interpretation of the standards, which may require more extensive analysis and a regulatory amendment package. Some Council members also expressed concern about the legal interpretation of the current arbitration standards and the formula arbitrator’s ability to consider operational costs.
Staff contact is Sarah Marrinan.