The Council has tasked an inter-agency workgroup of NMFS AKR, NMFS AFSC, IPHC, and Council staff to develop abundance-based approaches for BSAI halibut PSC limits, building upon previous work by IPHC staff. The workgroup has met numerous times and has produced two different discussion papers (in April 2016 and again in October 2016) to provide information necessary to establish abundance-based PSC limits as well as to provide draft index and control rule formulations for Council consideration. Per Council direction, two different stakeholder workshops have also been held, the most recent in conjunction with the February 2017 Council meeting. The Council reviewed the recent discussion paper which builds upon these previous papers with direction as provided by the Council and the SSC in October. This discussion paper addressed the Council’s October requests for further development of indices and control rules as well as incorporated feedback from the workshop held in February 2017.
The Council made several requests for the workgroup to incorporate into an expanded discussion paper, including much of the feedback received from the SSC. These include suggestions on alternative approaches for estimating recruitment, stock status of halibut, providing additional rationale and analysis for each proposed index as well as an analysis of the step-wise inclusion of each index in combination for the proposed abundance-based management (ABM) alternative examples provided. As an interim step towards the preliminary analysis of these indices by the workgroup in October, the workgroup will provide draft measurable objectives and performance metrics building upon feedback from the February workshop for review and consideration in June. These will include those draft metrics by which the workgroup would analyze the proposed indices as well as a methodology to analyze the combined indices (for October). The workgroup will also provide some additional information requests regarding the characteristics of the individual indices as well as an outline of the information to be included in the expanded discussion paper for October to allow for further feedback on these aspects at the June meeting. Staff contact is Diana Stram.