The Council reviewed the Draft 2018 Observer Annual Deployment Plan (ADP), received a report from its Observer Advisory Committee (OAC) and its Electronic Monitoring Workgroup (EMWG), and provided recommendations to NMFS. The Council supports the ADP’s continuing recommendation to deploy observers by gear type in 2018, for trawl, longline, and pot gear (regardless of vessel length), as well as having separate strata for trawl and pot vessels delivering to tenders. The Council does not support a separate stratum for hook-and-line vessels delivering to tenders, because there are so few instances of this activity.
The Council disagreed with the NMFS recommendation with respect to the observer deployment allocation scheme, as identified in the draft 2018 ADP. The Council prefers the use of the allocation scheme that was in place in 2017, which is full optimization based on discards and halibut PSC. Under the Council’s preferred allocation scheme, selection rates for the pot strata would decrease substantially, and coverage in the hook and line and trawl strata would increase. The agency will take the Council’s recommendation under advisement in its development of a final ADP, which will be reported to the Council in December 2017.
The Council agreed with the remainder of the provisions of the draft ADP for deployment in 2018, and provided recommendations for the 2017 Annual Report (which will be presented in June 2018) and for the 2019 ADP. These include development of a different allocation scheme that provides for minimum selection rates that are specific by gear type; and evaluation of the deployment into the sablefish pot fishery; reporting of EM stratum information. The Council objected to the agency’s statement of intent in the draft ADP that in 2019, the agency would require 100% coverage on EM boats in 2019 with selection of trips for video review occurring after the trip is completed. The Council requested that this change be fully evaluated to understand the cost and operational implications of such a change for vessels and EM service providers. An additional request was made to NMFS to undertake programming changes as necessary to allow vessels in future to be in the EM pool for fixed gear, and in the observer pool for trawl gear, in the same year. Staff contact is Diana Evans.