Thanks | Elections and Appointments | Trawl CVs to Join EM Workgroup | AFSC Marine Mammal Lab Mammal Status | BSAI Crab Specifications | Small Sideboards | GOA Trawl CV Chinook Salmon PSC | IFQ Medical Transfer Provision | IFQ Beneficiary Designation | IFQ Committee | Arctic Exploratory Fishing | Electronic Monitoring Priorities | Observer Fee Analysis | Economic SAFE review | Ecosystem Research Workshop | Ecosystem Committee/Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan | Social Science Planning Team | Assessment Modeling Workshop | Groundfish Management Policy | Staff Tasking | Upcoming Meetings
Thank you, Seattle!
The evening before the Council meeting, fishing industry and other involved groups hosted a seafood buffet and reception at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel in downtown Seattle. Many people had attended the Ecosystem Research Workshop held at the same location earlier in the day and were able to continue their conversations in a relaxed setting. Thank you to the industry groups for sponsoring the event and for providing a chance for Council members, stakeholders, staff, and public to engage outside the scheduled meeting days. A good time was had by all.
Elections and Appointments
The Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) elected Anne Hollowed and Gordon Kruse as co-Chairs of the SSC for 2018. Dr. Hollowed chaired the February meeting, and will chair in April and December. Dr. Kruse will chair in June and October. Sherri Dressel was re-elected as vice-Chair.
The Council noted the retirement of Doug DeMaster. DeMaster has been the Science and Research Director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center since 2001, and served in numerous capacities as marine mammal expert prior to Director. David Witherell noted that he has worked closely with the Council throughout his tenure, providing guidance on the conservation measures for Steller sea lions and other marine mammals, fisheries, and marine ecosystems. His knowledge and wisdom, positive attitude, and friendly demeanor will be sorely missed by all of us in the North Pacific. Best wishes in your retirement Doug, and a big mahalo nui loa for your dedication to the conservation and management of marine ecosystems off Alaska.
The Council’s Advisory Panel re-elected Ernie Weiss as Chair, and Angel Drobnika and Matt Upton as vice-Chairs.
The Council Chairman appointed Denise May to the Charter Halibut Management Committee.
The Chairman also provisionally appointed Dr. Mike Downs (SSC member), Dr. Elizabeth Figus (NPFMC staff), and Mike Fey (AKFIN staff) to the Social Science Planning Team. The Council will consider making their appointments permanent in April.
Trawl CVs to Join EM Workgroup
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS NOW CLOSED
In February 2018, the Council changed priorities for the EM Workgroup to reflect a new focus in developing EM use on trawl catcher vessels. The Council formed the EM Workgroup in February 2014 to create an ongoing forum for EM discussions (initially with a fixed gear focus), and to inform Council decisions and recommendations to NMFS on EM integration. To date, the EM Workgroup has helped Council and the agency to develop the EM program that has been implemented in fixed gear sectors. This February, the Council announced that it would reconstitute membership of the EM Workgroup to include representatives of trawl catcher vessels and EM providers in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska.
A nominations period for reconstituting membership to the EM Workgroup was open to the public until noon on March 30th. New membership was announced at the April Council meeting. The EM Workgroup’s next meeting is scheduled for May 15 in Seattle. Please contact Council staff Elizabeth Figus, 907-271-2801 for further information.
AFSC Marine Mammal Lab Mammal Status
The SSC received a series of presentations from ecosystem program leads at the AFSC Marine Mammal Laboratory, as requested by the SSC in December 2017. The purpose of the presentations is to regularly bring to the SSC information about marine mammals of conservation concern, or for those with unexpected survey or research results. For this meeting, Dr. John Bengtson provided an overview of the Marine Mammal Laboratory, Dr. Tom Gelatt provided an overview of the Alaska Ecosystem Program and recent survey results for the Eastern and Western Distinct Population Segments of Steller sea lions. Dr. Peter Boveng provided an overview of the Polar Ecosystems Program and provided information about harbor seals and Bearded seals. Dr. Phil Clapham provided an overview of the Cetacean Assessment Program, and information about the eastern Pacific population of North Pacific right whales. Future presentations will occur during the February Council meetings. Staff contact is Steve MacLean.
BSAI Crab Specifications
The final Norton Sound red king crab assessment was reviewed by the SSC, AP and Council in order to set catch specifications for the 2018 fishery. This stock has a separate specifications timing in order to accommodate the CDQ fishery which can open in early May. The stock is healthy and with an estimated mature male biomass for this stock slightly below its target level (BMSY proxy= 4.82 million lbs) with an OFL calculated by the Tier 4b control rule. The Council adopted the 2018 Norton Sound Red King Crab SAFE chapter and an OFL of 0.43 million lbs and ABC of 0.35 million lbs (which used a 20% buffer from the OFL), as recommended by the SSC. The SSC also recommended the stock as a candidate for Tier 3 management. The stock is not overfished nor is overfishing occurring on this stock. Staff contact is Diana Stram.
The Council took final action in February to prohibit directed fishing by regulation for species with sideboard limits insufficient to support directed fishing for non-exempt American Fisheries Act (AFA) vessels and Crab Rationalization (CR) vessels. The Council also recommended removing the sideboard limit on AFA catcher/processors for Central Aleutian Islands Atka mackerel since the sideboard limit under the AFA (11.5%) exceeds the allocation to the trawl limited access sector (10%) that was established by the Amendment 80 Program. This alternative and option support the original intent of creating these sideboard limits to protect non-AFA and non-CR Program fisheries from potential adverse impacts associated with AFA and CR programs. The Council’s recommendation eliminates the need for NMFS staff to annually calculate dozens of sideboard limits for the harvest specifications, and then concurrently close most of these sideboard fisheries to directed fishing at the beginning of the fishing years. This approach also simplifies an element of annual data entry and programming for NMFS’s groundfish catch accounting system and should realize modest cost savings.
Staff contact is Jon McCracken.
GOA Trawl CV Chinook Salmon PSC
The Council considered an initial review analysis of alternatives to modify the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) non-pollock trawl catcher vessel (CV) sector’s prohibited species catch (PSC) limit for Chinook salmon. The Council established a purpose and need statement that affirms the need to balance the optimum yield objective with bycatch minimization, and the need to do so in light of the best available information on variability in annual Chinook PSC levels and in the groundfish fisheries themselves. The Council’s statement notes that new information has become available since the Council originally took action to set PSC limits for these sectors in 2013; that information includes expanded observer coverage on smaller trawl CVs (less than 60 feet in length) and continued genetic sampling efforts to determine the region of origin for GOA trawl Chinook PSC.
The alternatives under consideration include a No Action alternative (status quo PSC limits), increased limits for the non-pollock trawl CV sectors (Rockfish Program and non-Rockfish Program), and additional flexibility under the existing limits in the form of limited one-year rollovers of unused Chinook PSC. The current limit (“base limit”) for non-Rockfish Program CVs is 2,700 Chinook salmon PSC per year; the limit for Rockfish Program CVs is 1,200 Chinook per year. Alternatives to modify existing annual PSC limits could increase allowable Chinook removals by up to 3,000 fish in the non-Rockfish Program CV sector and by up to 900 fish in the Rockfish Program CV sector. For each sector, the Council added a “flexibility approach” (Option 4) that would maintain the current annual PSC limit but allow a portion of unused Chinook—relative to the sector’s base limit—to be rolled over to the sector’s limit in the following year. Rollovers would not accumulate over multiple years. The maximum amount of Chinook PSC that can be rolled over would be capped at (suboptions) 25%, 50%, or 75% of the sector’s base limit. The maximum rollover for the non-Rockfish Program CV sector would be 2,025 Chinook, and the maximum for the Rockfish Program CV sector would be 900 Chinook. None of the alternatives under consideration would permit total Chinook PSC in the GOA trawl fisheries to exceed the annual amount that triggers reconsultation under the Endangered Species Act listing for Chinook salmon or southern resident killer whales (40,000 Chinook).
The Council requested a second initial review draft so that it could receive additional information about the status of Chinook salmon stocks and commercial/non-commercial salmon fisheries that might be affected by PSC in the groundfish trawl fishery. The Council noted that multiple Chinook stocks from regions whose presence has been detected in trawl PSC samples are experiencing poor returns. Among other items, the next iteration of this analysis will include additional information on Chinook stock status throughout the Pacific coast (US and Canada), conservation management measures enacted in directed salmon fisheries, Chinook abundance in the GOA, hatchery releases, and the best available estimates of natural mortality rates for the immature Chinook that are taken as PSC in trawl fisheries.
The Council is scheduled to receive an updated initial review draft at its April 2018 meeting in Anchorage, AK. Final action is tentatively scheduled for October 2018.
Staff contact is Sam Cunningham.
IFQ Medical Transfer Provision
The Council reviewed a discussion paper, developed a Purpose and Need Statement, and approved alternatives for analysis. Alternatives were included to broaden the definition of a Certified Medical Professional that would be allowed to certify the Medical Transfer Application Form. Currently only a licensed medical doctor, an advanced nurse practitioner, or a primary community health aide may submit an affidavit to NMFS. The two options included in the Council’s motion would broaden the definition to include other commonly used medical professionals as well as an option to either include or exclude medical professionals who are practicing outside the U.S.
An alternative was also added to provide options for the maximum number of years that the medical transfer provision can be used for any medical reason, beyond which the QS holder would be precluded from fishing his or her IFQ that year. Those options are: 2 of 5 most recent years, or 3 of 7 most recent years. Two options were also included to define when a “year” begins. A year would be defined as either a calendar year or 365 days from the date on which the medical transfer was approved by NMFS. Finally, the Council included an option that would establish a limit on the number of times a QS holder could use the medical transfer provision. The range of years to be analyzed is 5 to 10 years.
The Purpose and Need Statement and the Council’s alternatives for analysis are available on the Council’s website under the C-4 Agenda Item from the February 2018 Council meeting.
Staff contact is Sam Cunningham.
IFQ Beneficiary Designation
The Council reviewed a discussion paper on IFQ survivorship beneficiary designation and developed a Purpose and Need Statement and alternatives to be analyzed (available on the Council’s website under the Agenda Item C5).
The alternatives provide options for the Council to add “estate” to all references to surviving spouse and immediate family at 50 CFR 679.41(k). The proposed change is intended to clarify which individuals may receive QS and lease IFQ for three years after a QS holder’s death. The Council also developed an alternative to address the definition of an “immediate family member.” That term is not defined in regulations at 50 CFR 679, and the lack of a definition has created problems for NMFS when administering the provision. The two definitions of an immediate family member being considered by the Council are those currently used by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the Federal Family Medical Leave Act.
Staff contact is Sam Cunningham.
The IFQ Committee met on February 5, 2018 to review two Council discussion papers and a set of 20 proposals for modifications to the IFQ program which were offered by members of the Committee. The discussion papers addressed use of IFQ lease provisions that cover medical hardship and survivorship beneficiaries and are summarized separately.
The Committee reviewed proposals that fell into six general categories: eligibility to own/purchase quota share (QS), use of the hired master provision, definition of an “owner-operator,” QS ownership/use caps and QS blocks, the creation of QS pools to support new entrants and/or rural community engagement, and the Federal loan program administered by NMFS Financial Services Division.
The Council made three motions to request discussion papers.
- Eligibility Requirement – The Council will consider whether to replace the Transfer Eligibility Certificate (TEC) to purchase QS with a requirement to demonstrate recent fishery participation in order to purchase or hold QS. “Sea-day” requirements could range from 30 to 90 days over a fixed three- to five-year period. The Council is considering this issue in light of public testimony and information in the 20-year Program Review that identifies arrangements that do not reflect the original program goal of an owner-operated fleet.
- Hired Master Use – The Council initiated a discussion paper that explores the use of the hired master provision relative to its original intent. The Council recognized the natural tension between the objective of an owner-operated fleet and the diversity of business arrangements that utilize hired masters in a net beneficial manner. The Council requested information on the use of the provision and a characterization of the various business arrangements.
- CQE Fish-Up Provision in Area 3A – The Council will consider whether to allow Community Quota Entities (CQE) to fish Category D halibut IFQ on Category C vessels after (options) August 15 or September 1. The Council received testimony that vessel size restrictions and poor weather and/or disabled small vessels has led to CQE IFQ going unfished by eligible residents.
In staff tasking, the Council noted its intent to consider other IFQ proposals at a future meeting and will reconvene the IFQ Committee as the discussion papers become ready for review. The Council plans to hold an informal IFQ outreach session concurrent with its June meeting in Kodiak, AK. Further information will be made available at npfmc.org or by contacting the Council at 907-271-2809.
Staff contact is Sam Cunningham.
Arctic Exploratory Fishing
The Council reviewed a discussion paper that reviewed international fishery agreements and provisions regarding exploratory fishing. The Council requested in June 2017 that the paper identify how different international organizations define exploratory fishing, discuss management measures related to exploratory fishing, identify challenges and successes to management, and identify best practices that could be applied to the Central Arctic Ocean and Arctic Management Area. The Council, in the motion, noted their intention to amend the Arctic FMP to provide guidance for exploratory fishing in the Arctic Management Area. The discussion paper summarized exploratory fishing provisions in six international organizations in the North Pacific and Bering Sea, North Atlantic, and Antarctica. After review and discussion, the Council approved a motion to take no further action to amend the Arctic FMP or continue development of the paper. Staff contact is Steve MacLean.
Electronic Monitoring Priorities
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.
Observer Fee Analysis
The Council reviewed a progress report on the observer fee analysis. The Council adopted a purpose and need statement, as well as three action alternatives for the fee analysis:
Alternative 1: Status quo. Observer fee of 1.25% applies equally to all landings in the partial coverage category.
Alternative 2: Increase the observer fee up to 2% (analyze a range), to apply equally to all landings in the partial coverage category.
Alternative 3: Maintain the 1.25% observer fee applying equally to all landings in the partial coverage category, and additionally, raise the fee up to 2% (analyze a range) by gear sector (longline, pot, jig, trawl).
The Council supports the analytical approach presented by staff, which outlines the milestones for the earliest implementation date in 2021. In addition, the Council recommended that the analysis include a discussion of the relative impacts of the alternatives with respect to Council policy objectives for monitoring beyond base thresholds. The Council supported placing the observer fee analysis as the first priority for observer tasking projects in Council review.
The Council requested the OAC and OAC subgroup review and provide input on the Analysis prior to initial review by the Council. Initial coordination with the OAC is planned in May, with an opportunity for further coordination expected in September of 2018.
The Council motion is available online, and staff contact is Elizabeth Figus.
Economic SAFE review
The Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) reviewed the Groundfish and Crab Economic SAFE reports as presented by economists Ben Fissel and Brian Garber-Yonts, respectively, from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Economic and Social Science Research Division. Through dialogue with the SSC, these Economic SAFEs are continually being improved in order to better capture and communicate economic and sociological conditions relative to the groundfish and crab fisheries. Improvement in the quality and quantity of socio-economic information available to the SSC increases their ability to assess actions proposed by the Council. The Economic SAFEs characterize economic and social conditions from the latest complete year for which data are available. For the February 2018 review, the data were complete through 2016.
The SSC also received a presentation from social scientist Sarah Wise (AFSC) on community metrics in the SAFE, and an overview of programmatic research on human dimensions in North Pacific fisheries that will be undertaken. This research is important for understanding how important fisheries are to the culture and economy of individual communities, and for identifying communities that are vulnerable to changes in fisheries or fishery management.
Steve Kasperski presented updates on other socio-economic programs and projects to keep the SSC informed about developments in research relevant to Alaska fisheries and affected communities, and also to solicit recommendations from the SSC to improve these programs and projects. Ongoing revisions to improve the Economic Data Reports required under Amendment 91 to the BSAI Groundfish FMP (Chinook salmon bycatch management) were reviewed. The SSC supported revision of the EDR process including the skipper surveys to better reflect current issues.
Staff contact is Jim Armstrong.
Ecosystem Research Workshop
The Council held a one-day ecosystem research workshop on Wednesday, February 7th, in conjunction with the February Council meeting. The workshop was intended to engage the broader Council community, including Council members, scientific and industry advisors, and stakeholders, in a discussion about how the growing body of ecosystem knowledge can be incorporated into the Council process. The workshop was well attended and included stakeholder representation from diverse interest groups and Alaska communities. A successful outcome of the workshop was the opportunity for Council members to sit down together with SSC and Advisory Panel members, and stakeholders, to examine a strategic topic for the Council.
Speakers in the first half of the workshop set the stage for understanding the context for ecosystem-based fishery management in Alaska, and the tools in use for bringing in ecosystem information and for understanding and planning for climate change effects. Presentations are posted on the Council website. In the afternoon, participants used the recent example of the change in stock status of Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska in 2017, and how the Council, NMFS, and stakeholders reacted, as a case study. In breakout groups, participants explored what worked well, what were challenges or opportunities for improvement, and how to apply these lessons to other management scenarios.
Fisheries Forum staff, who helped to facilitate the workshop for the Council, presented a preliminary summary of the cross-cutting themes from participants at the end of the February Council meeting. The participants emphasized that the starting point for the discussion should be that Alaskan fishery management is working well, with healthy fisheries and intact ecosystems, and an inclusive and transparent process. With respect to how that management framework will hold up in a changing environment, there were some key issues that were echoed throughout the breakout groups. These included how to identify early warning indicators of change, and what to do about them; how to incorporate “squishy” data in the management process, and what it the role for non-traditional data sources such as local and traditional knowledge; how to strengthen two-way communication between and among scientists, managers, and stakeholders; and how to build management strategies that are flexible enough to respond to a changing environment.
A formal workshop summary will be available for the June Council meeting. The Council requested staff consider how the report might focus the Council on how to continue the conversation, especially with respect to some of the cross-cutting themes such as what are the Council’s objectives for managing in a changing environment; do we share the same tolerance for risk; and how do we prioritize and make tradeoffs to make the best use of limited resources. The Council intends to schedule time during the June Council meeting to review the report and consider how to take further action.
Staff contact is Diana Evans.
Ecosystem Committee/Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan
The NPFMC Ecosystem Committee met on February 6, 2018 from 8 AM to 5:30 PM in Seattle, WA. In addition to the discussion of the Arctic Exploratory Fishery discussion paper addressed elsewhere, the committee reviewed a pre-draft Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan and received presentations from the Pribilof Islands on their perspectives on ecosystem issues. The committee thanked the representatives from St. Paul Island and St. George Island for their presentations. The committee requested examples of co-production of knowledge and suggested that NOAA Fisheries may consider a workshop to evaluate the potential for co-production methods to be incorporated into fishery management processes.
The Council requested that staff continue to work on the FEP document and incorporate comments from the committee, available in the committee minutes. At the committee’s request, the Council chose to delay review of the preliminary draft FEP to October and requested that the committee provide additional opportunity to review and provide feedback on the revised FEP document before it is distributed to the Council.
Staff contact is Steve MacLean.
Social Science Planning Team
The Council received a Social Science Planning Team (SSPT) update on the new advisory body’s membership, scope, and preliminary agenda for a public in-person meeting in May 2018. The meeting will take place in Anchorage, AK on dates to be determined during the week of May 7. Details will be provided on the SSPT webpage when they become available.
The SSPT will review the first iteration of a social science data “gap analysis” that identifies areas of need, existing sources that are underutilized, and pathways to incorporate existing/new information into the management process. The SSPT will continue to refine its scope and prioritize its activity by reviewing past SSC comments on social science information needs. The Council encouraged the SSPT to reflect on its “mission” as the group gains insight from the gap analysis. The SSPT was asked to consider how best to communicate its findings to the broader Council process, and how the group might interact with efforts such as rural community outreach and the Bering Sea FEP initiative. The Council is interested in the SSPT’s feedback on how to systematically collect and incorporate local/traditional knowledge about the fishery resource, the ecosystem, and human dimensions.
After receiving feedback from the SSC, the Chairman provisionally approved nominations for three new members. Dr. Mike Downs (SSC), Dr. Elizabeth Figus (NPFMC), and Mike Fey (AKFIN) were nominated based on their relevant expertise and experience with the collection and application of social science data to fishery management. The Council will discuss the nominations in executive session in April.
Staff contact is Sarah Marrinan.
Assessment Modeling Workshop
The Council will be hosting a stock assessment ensemble modeling workshop over the summer of 2018. The focus of the workshop will be to examine approaches to and best practices for ensemble modeling employing examples from stock assessment and other disciplines within the North Pacific and other regions. Members of the Bering Sea Aleutian Islands Groundfish Plan Team will lead the workshop with invited experts from other regions, as well as representatives from both groundfish plan teams and assessment authors. The workshop will be open to the public. A report from the workshop will be presented to the Joint Groundfish Plan Teams in September in order to solicit recommendations on both approaches for ensemble modeling as well as rationale and approaches for establishing ABC below the maximum permissible. Additional details and an agenda for the workshop will be posted to the Council website later in the spring. Staff contact is Diana Stram.
Groundfish Management Policy
The Council conducted its annual review of the Programmatic Groundfish Management Policy, as required under the GOA and BSAI Groundfish FMPs. The management policy was added to the FMPs through the 2004 Programmatic SEIS and reflects the Council’s vision for management of these fisheries from an ecosystem-based management perspective. The Council’s anticipation that management of the groundfish fisheries will always be a dynamic process was built into the management policy and so annual review was identified as a necessary tool to ensure that management continues to be adaptive to changes in the fisheries and ecosystem. More specifically, annual review allows the Council to evaluate the adequacy of the Policy relative to current issues and concerns such that revisions, if necessary, can be identified. It also allows the Council to review its numerous actions and statements and whether those are fulfilling the Policy. Finally, it provides a framework for revision to the Council’s workplan for the coming year.
This year’s review highlighted Council activities in 2017 that were relevant to the Groundfish Management Policy. The Council recognized the ecosystem-based management response to the change in GOA Pcod stock conditions, the re-categorization of squid to the ecosystem component category, ongoing projects under the observer program, halibut abundance-based management, progress in conservation of northern fur seals, ongoing sector reports, and outreach to the community on St Paul Island, among many other issues to be consistent with priorities and objectives in the Policy. Additionally, it was pointed out that each Council agenda includes many non-action items that parallel or directly fulfill the Policy. As with previous review in April 2017, the Council determined that the PSEIS continues to be appropriate as a guiding document and chose not to initiate any amendments to the Policy. Furthermore, the Council found that its actions over the past year and pending actions for the current year continue to fulfill the Policy and did not feel that new Council actions needed to be initiated.
Staff contact is Jim Armstrong.
In addition to discussing the relative priority and scheduling of previously tasked projects, the Council took the following actions and clarified direction and tasking for its committees:
- Requested staff to bring back ideas for improving outreach and community engagement, in general and on the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan. This should include considering appropriate roles for the various Council committees, including the Ecosystem Committee, the Outreach Committee, the Social Science Plan Team, and the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan team.
- Directed staff to send letters: a) to the IPHC, to respond formally to their letter on abundance-based management and to comment on 2018 harvest specifications; b) to BOEM in response to the proposed oil and gas lease sales, requesting removal of several areas in Alaska from consideration; and c) to St Paul, in response to their request to add a member to the Ecosystem Committee, which is not possible at this time but the Council encourages their continued involvement in the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan development.
- Directed staff to prepare a comment letter on HR 200 that builds on previous Council comments and incorporates the Legislative Committee recommendations, in case the Council is requested to comment on the bill. Additionally, all future Council comments on legislative actions should be copied to the Congressional delegations for AK, WA, and OR.
- Recommended that an agenda item be added to the Council Coordination Committee agenda to discuss funding for the fishery science centers, noting especially this Council’s concerns about stable base funding for surveys and ecosystem process studies.
- Notified the public that some Council members intend to host an informal IFQ outreach session in Kodiak in conjunction with the June Council meeting. More information on the planning process will be forthcoming.
- Established guidance that out of cycle public comment on IFQ and charter halibut management issues should be included in the Council’s staff tasking agenda item at the immediate meeting, but if the Council takes no action, should be compiled for review by the relevant committees at their next meetings.
The Council received written and verbal testimony on additional IFQ proposals and shoreside access issues in Adak. The Council expressed interest in some of the issues raised, and while they took no further action at this time, they indicated they may revisit these issues in future. The Council also acknowledged a request to change the CDQ program boundaries but noted that the request is not within the Council’s authority.
Motions are posted on the Council website through the Agenda. Staff contact is Diana Evans.
Revised three-meeting outlook resulting from this meeting.
Enforcement Committee: April 3 from 1 – 4, Anchorage Hilton
EMWG: May 15, 8:15 -5:30 AFSC, Traynor Room, Seattle
OAC: May 16-17, 8:15 -5:30 AFSC, Traynor Room, Seattle
PT Workshop: July (TBD) Seattle
Ecosystem Committee: June 5, Kodiak, early July or September, TBD, Seattle
BSFEP Team: Summer 2018 (TBD)
IFQ Committee: December (T)