In addition to discussing the relative priority and scheduling of previously tasked projects, the Council requested staff prepare a series of letters:
- to National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), describing the importance of continued funding for trawl surveys, especially within the context of the watershed change in ecosystem conditions in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska in 2019.
- to NMFS, providing feedback on the draft electronic monitoring data retention and storage procedural directive, along the lines of comments provided by the Council’s Fishery Monitoring and Advisory Committee.
- to NMFS, for Council review in December, about the designation of humpback whale critical habitat.
The Council also initiated the following new actions:
- an analysis to consider the disposition of squid and sculpins when in the non-target ecosystem component species category.
- a discussion paper on management options available to promote conservation of AI Pacific cod and the sustained participation of AI fishing communities.
- a discussion paper in response to community concerns and small boat access challenges identified in the <60 ft fixed gear BSAI Pacific cod sector.
Additionally, the Council discussed the following issues:
- The Council created a new Partial Coverage Fishery Monitoring Advisory Committee, composed primarily of the partial coverage representatives on the Fishery Monitoring Advisory Committee. The scope and purpose for this and other Council monitoring committees is described in a staff discussion paper.
- The Council supports NMFS recommendations to revise reporting requirements for observer providers and the small CP partial coverage request process, as presented in the FMAC minutes.
- Given concerns about sablefish bycatch in the trawl fisheries, the Council asked representatives of the Amendment 80 and AFA pollock fleets to report to the Council in December about how they intend to minimize sablefish bycatch in 2020.
- The Council asked staff to check in with Pacific Council staff about progress underway with the coastwide sablefish assessment and report back to the Council.
- The Council requested that staff report back to the Council with a workplan for the requested changes to the halibut abundance-based management action in December.
- The Council endorsed NMFS additional recommended inclusions for the Central GOA rockfish reauthorization initial review draft, with the exception of items 1 and 4. If it does not delay the completion of the analysis, the Council also requested staff bring back information about allowing retention of rockfish outside of the Rockfish Program and eliminating regulatory discards due to season restrictions which include a 5% MRA.