The Council reviewed two exempted fishing permit (EFP) applications that were presented at the meeting and recommended that both be approved.
The first EFP was proposed by the Aleut Corporation, to develop an economically viable AI pollock fishery. By allowing vessels under this EFP to fish in a mixed-target pollock fishery with its own Pacific Ocean perch (POP) allocation of 500mt, rather than being restricted to the 5% aggregated rockfish MRA limit, this EFP proposal will test an alternative management framework for limiting POP bycatch in the AI pollock fishery. The Council is in support of the EFP’s goals to reduce POP bycatch mortality, prove the viability of fishing for pollock in the AI under the current POP abundance, provide an important economic opportunity for Adak, and improve safety at sea.
The second EFP application was submitted by Mr. Cory Lescher and Dr. Bradley Harris from the Alaska Pacific University Fisheries, Aquatic Science, and Technology (FAST) Laboratory. Two concurrent studies would be conducted under this EFP. The first would compare red king crab prohibited species catch (PSC) rates generated using Observer Program sub-sampling protocols to whole-haul censuses in the Amendment 80 Bering Sea yellowfin sole and role sole fisheries. The second is an at-sea crab vitality pilot study to examine factors which influence red king crab discard mortality. Assessing the accuracy of PSC estimation and the potential to improve the viability of crab PSC may help inform future fisheries management. Testimony and Council discussion highlighted support for the project. Staff contact is Sara Cleaver.