The Council is amending the Salmon FMP to include the traditional net fishing area in Cook Inlet within the management unit. Additionally, the Council is forming a Salmon Committee that will include stakeholders from the affected area, and will assist the development of the amendment by reviewing and recommending measures necessary to satisfy Section 303(a) of the MSA and related MSA provisions.
From October 2017 to February 1, 2018, the Council solicited written proposals from the public to help the Council identify specific, required conservation and management measures for the Salmon Committee to evaluate during the development of options for the FMP amendment.
Thank you to all who contributed comments and proposals. The Council will address comments and proposals at the April Council meeting in Anchorage (Apr 2 – 10, 2018).
At its October, 2017 meeting, the Council received an update from staff on preliminary development of a Salmon FMP amendment that would extend federal management authority to three traditional net fishing areas that are located in federal waters, but are currently exempt from the FMP. An initial paper (April 2017) laid out the history and scope of the issue for the Council to recommend preliminary alternatives, and the expanded discussion paper presented at the October 2017 meeting provided potential options under the alternative management approaches currently under consideration. The options addressed in the expanded discussion paper consist of means of addressing specific Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) requirements for federal FMPs. The MSA requirements and corresponding options are summarized in Table ES 1-1 in the discussion paper’s executive summary, and are addressed in further detail in Chapter 2 of the discussion paper.
As part of its decision to initiate the amendment, the Council indicated it would create a stakeholder workgroup to assist in development of options for FMP provisions. An evening outreach meeting was held during the October Council meeting week to discuss the formation of the workgroup and the issues that it should consider. The discussion provided a very useful picture of the range of public positions on the action.
After reviewing the expanded discussion paper, and informed by public testimony, the Council took action to solicit written proposals from the public to help further the development of the management measures for the FMP amendment. Additionally, the Council chose to limit the scope of the amendment to only the traditional net fishing area in federal waters that are located in Cook Inlet. Traditional net areas in Prince William Sound and South Peninsula will be addressed in a separate and subsequent action. The Council felt that focusing on Cook Inlet in this action would 1) be consistent with instruction provided in the District Court’s judgement, 2) directly address the area that has been at the center of the litigative history of this action, and 3) inform, and possibly streamline development of a future action that would apply to the other two traditional net areas.
About the Salmon FMP
The Salmon Fisheries Management Plan was developed to prohibit directed commercial fishing for salmon in the EEZ except by a limited number of vessels using troll gear. The vast majority of salmon fishing in Alaska occurs in State jurisdictional waters, and as such, management of the salmon fisheries is deferred to the State of Alaska, Department of Fish and Game.
- Fishery Management Plan for the Salmon Fisheries in the EEZ off the Coast of Alaska, updated 1/14
- Most recent amendment (Amendment 12) analysis
Current Status of the FMP:
The Council’s existing Salmon FMP divides federal waters off Alaska into two management areas, East and West, with a boundary line at Cape Suckling. The FMP delegates management of salmon sport fishing and commercial trolling in the East Area to the State and prohibits all commercial salmon harvest in the West Area. Commercial salmon fishing in federal water portions of the traditional net areas would be prohibited since they partially overlap with federal waters of the West Area but these areas are specifically excluded from the federal FMP. This arrangement was facilitated by the Council through Amendment 12 to the Salmon FMP in 2012 recognizing the State’s superior ability to respond to in-season data by quickly and continually adjusting run-specific harvest measures.
Staff contact is Jim Armstrong, 907-271-2805.