The Council discussed the relative priority and scheduling of new and previously tasked projects, including changes to the April and June agendas resulting from the Federal government shutdown and postponement of items from the February 2019 meeting. The Council also discussed the following issues:
- The Council tasked staff with developing a discussion paper to consider some form of rationalization or cooperative management structure for the Bering Sea Pacific cod pot catcher vessel fishery greater than or equal to 60 ft LOA. The Council also clarified that while tasked, this paper should not be prioritized over existing tasking.
- The State of Alaska also noticed stakeholders that it will be developing State positions on management structure in the BSAI and GOA fisheries, and encouraged stakeholders to contact ADFG with specific questions, concerns, or requests.
The Council also directed staff to develop and send several letters:
- A Council comment letter on proposed regulations governing Council member recusal.
- A follow-up Council comment letter to Senator Sullivan on MSA reauthorization.
- A letter to NMFS and the State Department indicating the Council’s support for the Central Arctic Ocean Agreement, and Council interest in staying engaged with the development of exploratory fishing efforts whenever that should occur.
- A letter to the IPHC requesting additional information on the January 2019 agreement to account for under 26 inch (U26) halibut beginning in 2020, what that will entail and how it will involve NMFS and the Council.
Council comments on committees:
- The Council’s Finance Committee approved the Executive Director’s proposed budget for the upcoming 5-year grant proposal.
- The Council announced the following upcoming committee agendas:
- Ecosystem Committee: meet in April to review: 1) a briefing on the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network, 2) an update on Bering Sea FEP planning, 3) habitat and EFH updates, 4) northern fur seal research updates from NMFS and co-managers, if available, and 5) a workplan for the Ecosystem Committee.
- Community Engagement Committee: meet on March 20th for an inaugural meeting to discuss how the committee will organize and operate.
- Enforcement Committee: meet in April to review: 1) sablefish discards discussion paper, and 2) review the Trawl Electronic Monitoring Committee’s cooperative research plan for 2019.
- IFQ Committee: meet in April primarily to review: 1) sablefish discards discussion paper, 2) CQE in 3A initial review, and 3) IFQ eligibility criteria discussion paper.
- The Council is planning an evening workshop in April to evaluate whale depredation in sablefish fisheries, and opportunities for cooperative research.
- The Council issued a call for nominations for pot fishery and active observer representation on the Fishery Monitoring Advisory Committee.
- The Council appointed new members to three Committees.
Appointments to Committees:
- The Council Chair appointed Forrest Braden to the Charter Halibut Management Committee.
- The Council Chair appointed Jeff Berger to the Cook Inlet Salmon Committee.
- The Council Chair appointed Mellisa Heflin to the Community Engagement Committee.
A full list of Council committee membership can be found here.