IS THE COUNCIL IMPACTED BY THE SHUTDOWN? The Council staff is at work and conducting business as usual. However, most of our federal partners at the National Marine Fisheries Service (Alaska Region and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are on furlough during the shutdown.
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS? Since many NMFS scientists and fishery management specialists are key contributors to the Council’s analyses, Plan Teams and Committees, the Council is rescheduling or modifying the agendas for several meetings where NMFS representatives were expected to provide pivotal presentations, reports, and/or analyses.
WHAT ABOUT THE COUNCIL’S FEBRUARY 2019 MEETING? The Council’s February meeting in Portland, OR at the Benson Hotel will be shortened to occur from February 4-10 and will still include meetings of the SSC and Advisory Panel. If the partial government shutdown remains in place, the Council will conduct as much business as possible given the federal furlough.
The following agenda items have been postponed to a future meeting: C2 Observer Program Fees Initial Review and FMAC report, and D4 Economic Data Reports Discussion Paper. Additionally, the following items may be postponed as well: B4 State Department Report on Central Arctic Ocean fishing agreement; D6 Economic SAFE Report; D7 Marine Mammal Conservation Status Report. Additionally, the presentation on Saltonstall-Kennedy grant results may also be postponed. The updated agenda and additional information can be found at npfmc.org.
The Council may not be able to take final action on any agenda items during this meeting unless the meeting has been announced in the Federal Register at least 14 days before the Council takes a final action. The Council could make a ‘preliminary final determination’ on these issues, and take final action at a later meeting. With respect to the Norton Sound Red King Crab Harvest Specifications, which requires timely action to open the fishery, the Council may hold a teleconference meeting as soon as the Federal Register notification requirements can be met, allow additional public comments, and take final action on that issue.
UPCOMING PLAN TEAM AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS:
Further information and updates on all Council meetings can be found at meetings.npfmc.org.
Crab Plan Team: The Council’s Crab Plan Team will meet January 23 – 25 in Nome, Alaska. The meeting has been shortened to start on Wednesday, as some agenda items have been postponed until May as NMFS staff may not be available.
Halibut ABM Stakeholder Committee: The Committee will meet on February 4th at the Benson Hotel in Portland, OR. There are no changes to the previously announced agenda.
Fishery Monitoring Advisory Committee: This Committee meeting has been postponed, and will likely be rescheduled to occur during the April 2019 Council meeting in Anchorage, AK. The Committee was primarily scheduled to review the observer fee analysis (which has been withdrawn from the agenda), and other topics.
Ecosystem Committee: The Committee will meet on February 5th at the Benson Hotel in Portland, OR. The agenda will likely be modified to remove the presentation on marine mammal conservation status, unless NMFS staff are available to provide this report.
At this point, no further changes have yet been proposed to Council Plan Team and Committee meetings that are scheduled for mid-February and beyond.