At the June 2018 meeting, the Alaska Fisheries Science Center requested input from the SSC and the Council on longer-term planning for BSAI and GOA surveys. In order to complete the full complement of surveys conducted with chartered vessels, the agency needs funding for 5 vessels. It is likely that due to budget constraints and other maintenance obligations, the survey program will only be able to afford 4 or even 3 charter vessels in 2019 and 2020. Given this reality, the agency is requesting the SSC and the Council provide input on Council priorities as the agency considers how to allocate vessels among survey needs. The Council endorsed work by an SSC subgroup to meet with AFSC staff over the summer, and to report back to the SSC and Council in October. The Council is interested in exploring how industry vessel platforms could help supplement the data that will be forgone through the reduced availability of chartered survey vessels, and encourages the SSC subgroup and the AFSC to discuss opportunities for cooperative research.
Staff contact is Diana Evans.