The Council discussed the relative priority and scheduling of previously tasked projects, in the context of the cancelled April and limited June meetings, and provided guidance to the Chair and Executive Director about which items to prioritize for October and subsequent meetings. The revised 3-meeting outlook highlights this guidance. In addition to must-do items in October (crab and groundfish specifications, the 2021 Observer Annual Deployment Plan, and the Cook Inlet Salmon FMP amendment initial review), the Council will review workproducts for BSAI halibut abundance-based management and will take final action on the squid/sculpin product types analysis. The Council took into account the potential for additional agenda items based on whether the Council is able to meet in person or virtually. At this point, it appears that both the September Plan Team meetings and the October Council meeting will occur online, as reflected in the draft 3-meeting outlook. However, should the situation improve dramatically and in-person meetings be possible, the October agenda and schedule may be revised to include the BSAI Pacific cod actions.
The Council directed staff to develop the following letters:
- To the NMFS Alaska Fisheries Science Center, expressing concern about the lack of surveys in 2020, and requesting a detailed plan, which would enable a full complement of 2021 surveys even if covid-19 limitations are still in effect.
- To NFWF, in support of three electronic monitoring projects that have been submitted for funding.
The Council provided the following additional direction:
- During the B reports, the Council provided direction to NMFS affirming their inseason management authority to respond selectively to triggered closures of herring savings areas.
- The Council also considered how to respond to NMFS’ request for input regarding Executive Order 13921 on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth. The Council is interested in input from stakeholders about ideas or opportunities to identify recommended actions that would further reduce the regulatory burden on domestic fisheries. Such testimony should be provided directly to the Council at the October Council meeting, at which time the Council will compile a prioritized list of recommended actions.
Finally, the Council Chair announced Plan Team appointments and a call for nominations for an active observer to the PCFMAC.