At the February 2018 meeting in Seattle, the Council reviewed the status of observer and electronic monitoring (EM) projects in the groundfish and Pacific halibut fisheries off Alaska. The Council received a presentation from the National Observer Program about observer insurance issues. The presentation further provided an overview of the National Observer Program Safety Review. The Safety Review document was not available for public review at the time of the meeting, but it will likely be available for Council review at the upcoming meeting in April or June 2018.
- Deck sorting of halibut Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) with EM for compliance monitoring
- Evaluation of alternative sampling methods for salmon on CGOA Rockfish trawl CVs
- Full retention on AFA Pollock CVs with EM compliance
- Full retention on WGOA pollock trawl CVs with EM compliance
- Implementation of EM on fixed gear catcher vessels <40ft Length Overall (LOA)
The Council further recommended that the EM Workgroup continue to be a forum for EM development and to inform Council decisions and recommendations to NMFS on EM integration. However, to accommodate the re-prioritized list of EM projects, the focus of the EM Workgroup will shift from fixed gear to trawl gear and membership in the EM Workgroup will be reconfigured to ensure representation of the trawl catcher vessel fleet. A call for nominations of representatives from the trawl catcher vessel fleet is open until noon on March 30, 2018.
The Council noted the importance of passing on the legacy of information from fixed gear EM Workgroup members to the newer trawl members. Therefore, the Council is interested in having a transition meeting of old and new fishery representatives at the EM Workgroup meeting this May to change over the workgroup focus from the fixed gear fleet to the trawl fleet. As a first task, the Council directed the reconstituted EM Workgroup to assess the ways in which EM can meet monitoring objectives for different trawl fisheries. Staff contact is Elizabeth Figus.