New Council Members | Call for Nominations | Plan Team / Committee Appointments | Halibut Deck Sorting EFP Updates | BSAI Crab Specifications | Groundfish Harvest Specifications | Observer Program Annual Deployment Plan | Halibut in Pots | Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan | BSAI Halibut Abundance-based Management | AI Pacific Cod Set-Aside Adjustment | IFQ Medical and Beneficiary Transfers | IFQ CQE Fish Up in Area 3A | Small Sablefish Discarding | Unguided Halibut Rental Boats | Staff Tasking | Upcoming meetings
Kinneen Elected Council Chair; New Council Members
The Council elected Mr. Simon Kinneen as Chair of the Council for the upcoming year, and re-elected Mr. Bill Tweit as Vice-Chair. As Mr. Tweit has been serving as Interim Chair since August, the Council commemorated his service with a mini gavel.
Mr. John Jensen joins the NPFMC as a new council member from Petersburg, Alaska. Mr. Jensen has experience in recreational fishing as well as a career in commercial fishing, and currently sits on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Board of Fish, and is a member of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission.
Captain Allison J. Caputo is also joining the Council as the USCG representative. Captain Caputo is the Chief of Maritime Law Enforcement for the Seventeenth Coast Guard District. The USCG representative is a non-voting member of the Council who assists with decision making, specifically on enforcement and safety issues.
Mr. Ivan Weinstein participated during this meeting as a representative of the US State Department in the Office of Marine Conservation.
Re-appointed to the Council for three-year terms are Craig Cross and Andy Mezirow. Mr. Cross has been involved in the Council process for over 20 years and currently works for Aleutian Spray Fisheries in Seattle. This will be his third term on the Council. Mr. Mezirow has been re-appointed to his second term on the Council after serving on the Council’s Advisory Panel. Mr. Mezirow is a charter vessel business owner based in Seward.
Call for Nominations
The Council is accepting nominations for its Scientific and Statistical Committee, Advisory Panel, and BSAI Halibut ABM Stakeholder Committee.
Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) nominees should have areas of expertise in biology/stock assessment, marine mammals, statistics, fisheries/resource economics, sociology/anthropology, or other relevant disciplines and be federal employees, state employees, academicians, or independent experts not employed by advocacy or interest groups. SSC members serve one-year terms but may be reappointed. The SSC advises the Council on all aspects of the decision-making process, including stock assessments and annual specifications, protected species interactions, and adequacy of analyses supporting various management actions. Nominations, letters of interest, and a resume should be submitted to the Executive Director by November 30th at 12pm Alaska time.
The Advisory Panel (AP) is composed of representatives of the fishing industry and others interested in the management of the North Pacific fisheries, and provides advice from those perspectives. AP members serve for three-year terms, and may be reappointed for up to two subsequent consecutive terms. Members of the panel are expected to attend up to five meetings, four to five days in length, each year. Note that no seats on the Advisory Panel are designated to a particular stakeholder group or geographical area, and the Council encourages all interested stakeholders to apply. There are eight seats available for appointment on the AP. Of these, seven are held by existing AP members who are eligible to serve another term, and have indicated interest in doing so: Dan Donich, Angel Drobnica, John Gruver, Craig Lowenberg, Joel Peterson, Ben Stevens, and Samantha Weinstein. The remaining open seat, previously held by Shannon Carroll, who resigned in July, will be appointed by the Council for the remaining two years of the three-year term. Nominations, letters of interest, and a resume should be submitted to the Executive Director by November 30th at 12pm Alaska time. Please note that the names of those who submit a nomination will be made public.
The Council is also accepting nominations for a Halibut Stakeholder Committee, which will provide recommendations for the scenarios to be analyzed in the upcoming halibut abundance-based management PSC limit analysis. The Committee will also provide recommendations on measurable objectives and associated performance metrics to be considered by analysts in evaluating trade-offs among alternatives. The committee will meet to draft these scenarios prior to the February 2019 Council meeting, with an initial update on Committee progress to be provided to the Council in December. The committee is intended to include a range of interested stakeholders from both the directed BSAI groundfish and directed Area 4 halibut fisheries. Interested members of the public should submit a letter of interest and brief resume to the Council chairman and Executive Director by close of business on October 30th.
The Council is seeking nominations to the Pacific Northwest Crab Industry Advisory Committee, PNCIAC. PNCIAC’s function is to provide the Alaska Board of Fisheries and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council with advice and recommendations regarding appropriate measures for the conservation and management of the BSAI king and Tanner crab fisheries. There are up to 15 seats available, and each member serves a two-year term. Nominations close December 1. Please send a letter of interest to staff contact Sarah Marrinan.
Plan Team / Committee Appointments
The Council appointed new membership to the Social Science Planning Team, in response to a Council call to add expertise in Local and Traditional Knowledge and those who work directly with rural and Alaska Native coastal villages and/or tribal organizations. The Council selected Dr. Courtney Carothers to serve as a member of the Team, and reserved a seat for ADF&G, who will be nominated and subjected to approval by the Council. In addition, the Council requested that at a future meeting, staff bring back suggestions on a process for the Council to select a Social Science Planning Team member to broadly represent the Tribal organizations. Staff contact is Sarah Marrinan.
The Council appointed members to the Community Engagement Committee, which was authorized by the Council at the June 2018 meeting. A call for nominations was open from June through September. From the nominations, the Council chose seven committee members representing fishing communities from all over Alaska. The committee members are: Simon Kinneen and Theresa Peterson (co-Chairs), Jennifer Hooper, Robert Keith, Nicole Kimball, Merissa Merculieff, Tom Panamaroff, Rob Sanderson, and Becca Robins Gisclair. The committee will develop tools and processes to facilitate improved communication and understanding between rural communities and tribes and the Council. Staff contact is Steve MacLean.
In addition, John Jenson was appointed to Chair the Cook Inlet Salmon Committee, and Kenny Down was appointed to the Council’s Joint Protocol Committee with the Board of Fish.
Halibut Deck Sorting EFP Updates
The Council received an update from representatives of the Alaska Seafood Cooperative concerning the ongoing halibut deck sorting Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) research, which is testing handling methods or reducing halibut mortality in non-pollock groundfish fisheries. The research is intended to explore implementation issues that will be applied in the proposed regulatory amendment to implement voluntary halibut deck sorting on trawl catcher processors when operating in non-pollock groundfish fisheries off Alaska, which is currently under internal development at NMFS. The analysis and proposed rule for the regulatory amendment is anticipated during the spring of 2019.
In addition to reporting on halibut mortality encountered during the EFP, the presentation compared deck sorting performance with previous years, and reported on operational changes introduced in 2018. Additionally, the Alaska Seafood Cooperative has field tested an electronic length measuring board this year, which has potential to speed up data collections, reduce data entry errors, and reduce observer workload relative to current manual data entry methods. Additional work and more trials of the electronic board and chute cameras are planned for 2019. Staff contact is Elizabeth Figus.
BSAI Crab Specifications
The Council reviewed the final BSAI Crab Stock Assessment Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report and received information on the status of the ten federally managed crab stocks. Based on this report, the SSC recommends overfishing levels (OFLs) and acceptable biological catch levels (ABCs) for 2018/19 and reports on catch accruing towards these levels in the previous year (see table below). The SAFE report also provides stock status in relation to status determination criteria. For stocks for which biomass information is available, a determination of where the current biomass is in relation to its target (BMSY) managed stock size is provided. EBS Tanner crab and Aleutian Islands golden king crab are estimated to be above BMSY for 2018/19, while EBS snow crab, Bristol Bay red king crab, Pribilof Islands red king crab and Norton Sound red king crab have all declined since last year, and are estimated below BMSY. The Pribilof Islands blue king crab stock remains overfished, and is estimated to be well below its minimum stock size threshold (MSST). Saint Matthew blue king crab is also estimated to drop below its MSST in 2019, and therefore the Council anticipates receiving an overfished determination from NMFS following this meeting, which will initiate steps to prepare and implement a rebuilding plan amendment for this stock.
Under a process to accommodate specific fishery and data availability needs, the Crab Plan Team and SSC review assessments in a staggered time frame, with some stocks assessed on an annual basis while others are assessed less frequently. The cycle for assessment frequency is shown in the table below, in conjunction with the SSC’s recommended OFLs and ABCs. Stocks can be assessed more frequently on a case-by-case basis, if data indicates it is necessary.
The Crab Plan Team will meet next in Nome, Alaska, for their January 22-25, 2019 meeting. Additional details, including draft agenda, logistics and other information, will be posted to the Council’s website in the next month to facilitate arrangements. Staff contact for BSAI crab stocks is Diana Stram.
Groundfish Harvest Specifications
The SSC was presented with the Joint Groundfish Plan Teams Report that summarized the issues discussed and actions taken by the Plan Teams at their September meeting in Seattle, WA. Highlights of the Plan Team report included overviews of the various surveys conducted in support of stock assessments and ecosystem analyses, as well as Team discussions with individual assessment authors. Two additional reports were addressed by the Teams in this cycle. The first was a report from a June Assessment modeling workshop addressing ensemble modeling and reductions below the maximum permissible ABC due to increased scientific uncertainty in the point estimate of the OFL specified under the Tier system. The second report was from a subgroup of the Joint Teams that met after the workshop to further explore reductions below maximum permissible ABC and recommend risk classification frameworks for ABC reductions. Reports from both groups were presented to the Joint Teams with recommendations from the Teams contained in the Plan Team Report.
Other issues brought forward to the SSC by the Joint Plan Teams included further development of ecosystem socioeconomic profiles (ESPs), and ecosystem status reports (ESRs), criteria for initiating new stock assessments within the prioritization schedule, and the application of the vector-autoregressive spatio-temporal (VAST) model for estimating survey biomass. The SSC provided guidance and recommendations on these issues as well as on harvest specifications for 2019.
For proposed rulemaking for the 2019 and 2020 fishing years, the SSC and Council recommended OFLs and ABCs based on a rollover of existing 2019 specifications for all stocks. Fully updated stock assessments for BSAI/GOA groundfish will be reviewed by the Plan Teams at their upcoming November meeting. Consistent with SSC-recommended OFLs and ABCs, the Council recommended proposed TACs and PSC limits and adopted updated Halibut DMRs for 2019; full details are in included in the Council motions for the GOA and the BSAI.
The Council received a letter from ADF&G indicating that the combined, post-season sum of the three-river index (Upper Yukon, Unalakleet and Kuskokwim rivers) of Chinook salmon was below the defined threshold (250,000) for a low Chinook year. The Council relies on the three-river index value to set Chinook PSC limits for the EBS pollock fishery, therefore a lower Chinook PSC limit will be in place for 2019.
In response to Council discussion and Team and SSC recommendations regarding when to set ABC below the maximum permissible based upon increased scientific uncertainty, the Council moved the following:
The Council clarifies its policy is that the Plan Team develop, and the SSC recommend, ABCs which are based on biological and environmental scientific information through the stock assessment and Tier process. Socio-economic factors should be considered during the TAC-setting process at the Council, and not incorporated into the ABC recommendations.
Staff contact for BSAI groundfish is Diana Stram, and for GOA groundfish is Jim Armstrong.
Observer Program Annual Deployment Plan
The Council reviewed the Observer Program Draft 2019 Annual Deployment Plan (ADP), received a report from its Fishery Monitoring Advisory Committee (FMAC, formerly named the Observer Advisory Committee), and provided recommendations to NMFS. The Council supported NMFS’ recommendations for the deployment strata (to use the same strata as in 2018) and a coverage allocation scheme of 15% plus optimized allocation based on discarded groundfish, halibut PSC, and Chinook PSC, as described in the Draft 2019 ADP. Final selection rates for the deployment strata will be determined in the Final ADP, which will be reported to the Council in December. The Draft ADP includes an EM selection pool for fixed gear vessels, and the Council recommended that if additional funds become available, NMFS should expand the EM trip selection pool to up to 165 vessels, using the order of priority for candidate vessels as presented in the Draft 2019 ADP. The Council requested NMFS include Sitka on the list of ‘primary ports’ for EM deployment in 2019.
The Council also received a report from the Trawl EM Committee, and requested NMFS prioritize staff time to engage with the Committee to develop EM for compliance monitoring and for salmon accounting on pelagic trawl catcher vessels fishing in the BSAI and the GOA as well as vessels delivering to tender vessels.
The Council requested NMFS provide additional information about the cost structure under the observer contract and how costs may be expected to fluctuate at different funding levels. The Council recommended the FMAC partial coverage subgroup develop additional recommendations for how to potentially lower costs and increase observer coverage rates in the partial coverage category while maintaining: data sufficient for managing the fisheries; randomized deployment; and cost equity considerations among participants. The subgroup should also continue to provide input on differential deployment base levels by gear type. In the meantime, the Council decided to compose a letter to NMFS headquarters to request additional Federal funding to supplement observer deployment in the partial coverage category.
The Council requested NMFS provide updates to the FMAC in May 2019 regarding an evaluation of how the observer fee will be split between fixed gear EM and human observers for the draft 2020 ADP; and, an evaluation of Observer Program performance metrics in the 2018 Annual Report. Finally, the Council requested staff to write a letter to the National Observer Program in support of regional-specific solutions to observer safety issues. Staff contact for observer issues is Elizabeth Figus.
Halibut in Pots
The Council took final action on an issue that would allow retention of legal-size halibut in pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI), provided the operator holds sufficient halibut IFQ or CDQ for the corresponding regulatory area. The purpose of this action is to allow for more efficient harvest of the halibut resource by decreasing wastage of legal-size halibut discarded in the BSAI sablefish pot fishery and to allow for the possibility of reduced whale depredation of halibut off of hook-and-line gear.
This action includes the following elements: 1) an exemption to the 9-inch maximum width of the tunnel opening on pots, 2) VMS and logbook requirements for all vessels using pot gear to fish IFQ/CDQ, and 3) in the event that the overfishing limit for a shellfish or groundfish species is approached, regulations would allow NMFS to close IFQ fishing for halibut as necessary. Additionally, the Pribilof Islands Habitat Conservation Zone would be closed to all fishing with pot gear. To the extent practicable, the Council has recommended that halibut fishermen in the BSAI interested in using pot gear under this action consult with crab fishery participants on appropriate crab escape mechanisms to minimize crab bycatch.
Until the action is approved by the Secretary of Commerce and implemented by NMFS, retention of halibut in pots in the BSAI is not permitted. The Council plans to review the effects of allowing retention of halibut in pot gear three years after implementation.
Staff contact is Sara Cleaver.
Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan
The Council reviewed an initial draft of the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP). The Bering Sea FEP establishes a framework for the Council’s continued progress towards ecosystem-based fishery management (EBFM) of the Bering Sea fisheries, and relies and builds on the Council’s existing processes, advisory groups, and management practice. The core FEP document reviewed at the meeting identifies management goals and objectives for the FEP and for monitoring of the Bering Sea ecosystem, and describes how the FEP framework will support research projects (Action Modules) to address Council priorities. The FEP offers a framework for strengthening trust, transparency, and a sense of shared investment among managers, scientists, and stakeholders. It is intended to be a living document and process, and adopting the FEP will mark the beginning of the Council’s use of the FEP to improve ecosystem-based fishery management.
The Council requested that the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan Team, which has been developing the FEP, make specific clarifications to the document following the recommendations of the Ecosystem Committee, and SSC, including the role of the FEP team in the ongoing FEP process, how the FEP will avoid redundancy with existing Council processes, and identifying the FEP as a strategic document.
Staff contact is Diana Evans.
BSAI Halibut Abundance-based Management
BSAI ABM PSC limits preliminary analysis
The Council evaluated a preliminary review draft EIS/RIR of alternatives for abundance-based management (ABM) of BSAI halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limits. The analysis centered primarily around a detailed description of the Council’s alternatives, elements and options, and a historical analysis of the application of candidate PSC limits from within the alternative set, to show the behavior of control rule features relative to estimated PSC limits. A narrative description was also included of how the three directly regulated BSAI groundfish sectors approach their fishing year in the context of the various constraints they face, including but not limited to halibut PSC limits. This section was included to provide the context necessary to understand interactions between fisheries, and the factors that drive the decisions made during the year by fleet managers and vessel operators in the Amendment 80 sector, the trawl limited access sector, and the hook-and-line catcher-processor sector.
The Council made a number of changes to the alternative set based upon the preliminary analysis, staff workgroup recommendations, SSC comments, and stakeholder and Advisory Panel input. The current suite of alternatives are the following:
- Alternative 1: No action
- Alternative 2: Single index used to set trawl and/or non-trawl halibut PSC limit.
- Option 1: NMFS EBS bottom trawl survey index.
- Option 2: IPHC Area 4 setline survey index.
- Alternative 3: Primary and secondary indices are used to set trawl and/or non-trawl PSC limit.
- Option 1: Primary index is EBS trawl survey, secondary index is Area 4 setline survey.
- Option 2: Primary index is Area 4 setline survey, secondary index is EBS trawl survey.
- Alternative 4: Use two indices (EBS trawl survey and Area 4 setline survey) to set the non-trawl PSC limit in the form of a look-up table.
A range of elements and options are contained within each of the alternatives. Further detail on these are provided in the Council’s motion as well as direction to analysts on standardization of the indices under the different alternatives, and apportionment of PSC limits to sectors.
BSAI Halibut ABM Stakeholder Committee
The Council moved to form a stakeholder committee that will provide recommendations for the ABM scenarios to be analyzed in the draft EIS/RIR. The Committee will also provide recommendations on measurable objectives and associated performance metrics to be considered by analysts in evaluating trade-offs among alternatives. This committee will meet to draft these scenarios prior to the February Council meeting with an update on the initial committee meeting provided to the Council in December. The committee is intended to include a range of interested stakeholders from both the directed BSAI groundfish and directed Area 4 halibut fisheries. Interested members of the public should submit a letter of interest and brief resume to the Council chairman and Executive Director by October 30th.
Staff contact is Diana Stram.
AI Pacific Cod Set-Aside Adjustment
The Council reviewed an initial review document that would adjust Amendment 113 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. The intent of the proposed action is to adjust Amendment 113 such that the prosecution of the BSAI Pacific cod fishery aligns with the Council’s original objective of providing stability to AI shoreplant operations, AI harvesters, and AI fishing communities dependent on AI Pacific cod harvesting and shoreside processing activity.
At this meeting, the Council released the document for public review, selected Alternative 4 as the preliminary preferred alternative, and added two options to Alternative 4. The new options adjust the BS trawl CV Pacific cod A-season limitation. Option 1 would change the end date for the limitation to from March 21 to March 15, while Option 2 would continue the March 21 end date for the limitation but modify the limitation restriction to only require harvesting of the limitation in the AI.
The final motion is available on the Council’s website under the C-7 October agenda item. Staff contact is Jon McCracken.
IFQ Medical and Beneficiary Transfers
After reviewing the initial draft analysis of the medical transfer and beneficiary lease provisions, the Council approved a preliminary preferred alternative for each issue and added an option to the medical transfer provision. The final Council motion, including all amendments, is available here.
Preliminary preferred alternatives selected for the medical transfer provision would replace the current definition of a certified medical professional with a broader term, “health care provider”. This approach is used by the Pacific Council for medical leases in their limited entry fixed gear sablefish primary fishery. A health care provider would be defined as an individual authorized to provide health care services in the State where he or she practices and preforms within the scope of their specialty. Health care providers outside the U.S. that are licensed to practice medicine are included in the definition.
The Council’s preliminary preferred alternative defining the use of the medical transfer provision would revise federal regulations to allow the medical transfer provision to be used for any medical reason. This would modify the regulations that currently state that the medical transfer provision may be used in 2 of the 5 most recent years for the same medical condition. That change is more restrictive since it would not allow an individual to use the medical transfer provision repeatedly by having a medical professional attest to different medical conditions on the medical transfer form. The Council did not select a preliminary preferred alternative for the number of years the medical transfer could be used during a defined number of years. It is still considering 2 of 5 years and 3 of 7 years as the number of time the provision could be used. The Council did not include a lifetime limit on the number of years an individual could use the medical transfer provision as part of their preliminary preferred alternative.
An option (Alternative 2, Option 3) was added to the analysis that allows for additional use of the medical transfer provision, but would place limits on the amount of IFQ that could be leased some years. The option allows a QS holder to lease their IFQ up to 4 times during a 7-year period, but the third and fourth time the lease is used, during the 7-year period, only 80% and 60% of the IFQ issued to the QS holder could be transferred, respectively.
The Council’s preliminary preferred alternative for the beneficiary transfer provision would include “estate” when referencing surviving spouse and immediate family member at 50 CFR 679.41(k). The Council’s motion also identified the U.S. Office of Personnel Management definition of “immediate family member” as its preliminary preferred alternative to define that term. Staff contact is Sarah Marrinan.
IFQ CQE Fish Up in Area 3A
The Council reviewed a discussion paper on whether to allow Community Quota Entities (CQEs) in Area 3A to fish D-class halibut IFQ on C-class vessels. Current regulations that restrict CQE ability to fish “D” class quota on “C” class vessels have, in some circumstances, limited the CQE community’s access to fish CQE halibut, particularly in Area 3A. The discussion paper provided an overview of current vessel size restrictions for CQEs across regulatory areas, the original intent of D-class quota shares under the IFQ and CQE programs, CQE participation in Area 3A, and an initial look at potential impacts of the proposed action. After reviewing the document and hearing public testimony, the Council developed a Purpose and Need Statement and alternatives to be analyzed for initial review (available on the Council’s website under Agenda Item D1). The alternatives include options to allow CQE communities to fish “D” class quota on “C” class vessels only after specified dates, as well as options to limit the number of years CQEs could participate in this opportunity. The action is intended as a fallback mechanism for CQEs that have unfished D-class quota late in the season to potentially avoid revenue loss, furthering the Council’s intent of encouraging CQE communities to secure long-term opportunities to access halibut. Staff contact is Sara Cleaver.
Small Sablefish Discarding
The Council reviewed a discussion paper that considered modifying the requirement to retain sablefish in the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) longline and pot fisheries. The Council’s request for the discussion paper was responsive to public testimony in April 2018 that the IFQ fishery was experiencing an increase in catch of small sablefish due to an unprecedently large 2014 year class. Small size fish are of lesser value to harvesters and processors, and stakeholders had expressed interest in discarding small fish for both economic and conservation purposes. Encounters with small sablefish have increased throughout Alaska waters, but the most dramatic shift occurred in the Western GOA and the BSAI. The discussion paper identified information needed to develop a discard mortality rate (DMR) for IFQ-caught sablefish as well as changes to observer sampling protocols that would be required. The paper also provided information on the relationship between value-per-pound and market category, noting that while price varies by year, it is stable across FMP subareas within each year.
At the meeting, the Council determined that, rather than embarking on an analysis of potential management alternatives, they would like further information in a second discussion paper. Specifically, the Council requested that the paper evaluate:
- A process for establishing species-specific and gear-specific DMRs for sablefish that outlines the work necessary to maintain the relevance of that DMR over time.
- An assessment of the reliability of applying temporary proxy DMRs from other fisheries to the sablefish IFQ longline and pot fisheries and the implications of increased monitoring necessary to establish observer-based DMRs.
- The possibility of allowing discards during years of high abundance versus years of lower abundance and how to establish a threshold between high and low abundance years.
- The possibility of increased whale depredation if discarding is allowed.
- An exploration of gear modifications and methods of fishing that could aid in avoiding small sablefish.
- The implications of small sablefish discards increasing the probability of approaching the overall TAC or exceeding the ABC.
- A discussion about the concerns of fishing down the existing spawning stock.
- Potential for and implications of high-grading under size-based management
- Enforcement options
Staff contact is Jim Armstrong.
Unguided Halibut Rental Boats
The Council reviewed a discussion paper to explore mechanisms to create a registry for motorized rental boats that are used by unguided anglers to harvest halibut in IPHC regulatory areas 2C and 3A, and initiated an analysis. The Council requested the discussion paper in December 2017, and stated that they were concerned that differences in harvest regulations between guided and unguided sport anglers, and the apparent growth of the rental boat segment of the unguided sector may negatively impact other halibut fishing sectors. The discussion paper provided an overview of existing vessel registration programs, examined patterns in halibut harvest in the unguided, guided, and commercial sectors in recent years, and addressed questions posed by the Council in their December 2017 motion. After review, the Council passed a motion initiating an analysis of alternatives to require registration for non-guided rental vessels in IPHC areas 2C and 3A, and align bag limits between charter anglers and anglers on non-guided rental vessels by applying the charter angler daily bag limit and size limit to recreational anglers. Staff contact is Steve MacLean.
In addition to discussing the relative priority and scheduling of previously tasked projects, the Council requested staff prepare a series of letters to NMFS:
- providing feedback on the National Bycatch Report.
- providing feedback on the National Observer Safety Report that was recently issued, emphasizing the need for regionally-based response.
- requesting additional funding for observer days in the Council’s partial coverage observer program and staffing support for the Observer Program to support analytical work requested by the Council for program amendments
- to the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC), prioritizing options for survey deployment should limited funding be available in 2019 and 2020. A subgroup of the Council’s SSC met with AFSC staff in September, and prepared a report which was endorsed by the Council and the full SSC. The letter will re-emphasize the Council and SSC’s continued designation of a full complement of vessels to conduct annual bottom trawl surveys in the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, and Gulf of Alaska, as critical ongoing monitoring.
Additionally, the Council discussed the following issues:
- Formation of a halibut stakeholder committee, and guidance for the terms of reference for that committee.
- A staff report on public workshops, with the intention of considering workshops in the future for public engagement on appropriate topics.
- The agenda for the Joint Protocol Committee, and some additional updates that may be relevant for discussion with the Board of Fish representatives.
- Inclusion in the BSAI Pacific cod allocation workshop of an evaluation of the <60 sector.
- Prioritization of observer analytical tasks, and direction to the Fishery Monitoring Advisory Committee to consider analyses that address observer coverage on vessels delivering to tenders.
- Appointments to the Social Science Planning Team and the Community Engagement Committee, as well as Council member appointments to the Joint Protocol Committee and the Cook Inlet Salmon FMP Committee.
Staff contact is Diana Evans.
- Joint Protocol Committee, October 17, 2018, Anchorage, AK
- Charter Halibut Management Committee meetings, October 30, 2018 and December 3 or 4, 2018 (T)
- Trawl EM Committee meeting, November 19-20, IPHC office, Seattle, WA
- BSAI and GOA Groundfish Plan Team meetings, November 13-16, AFSC, Seattle, WA
- Halibut Stakeholder Committee – to be determined, likely a teleconference in November 2018
- Ecosystem Committee – to be determined, likely a teleconference in November 2018
- Cook Inlet Salmon Committee, December 4, Anchorage, AK
- Crab Plan Team, January 22-25, 2019, Nome AK; May 1-3, 2019, Anchorage, AK
- Fishery Monitoring Advisory Committee, February 4, 2019, Portland, OR (T)
- Scallop Plan Team, February 20, 2019, Kodiak, AK
- Salmon Bycatch Genetics Workshop – to be determined, likely in March 2019 in Seattle, WA