The Council discussed the relative priority and scheduling of previously tasked projects. The revised 3 meeting outlook reflects this guidance. Council meetings, including Plan Team and Committee meetings, will be held virtually through the first part of 2021. The Council also heard the report of the Council’s Finance Committee.
The Council directed staff to write letters to NMFS on the implementation of the recent Executive Order requiring protection of 30% of the U.S. ocean by 2030, and to Senator Sullivan’s office regarding proposed language affecting Council management of salmon fisheries in Alaska.
The Council also discussed proposals from the public requesting emergency relief for situations arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council recommended four emergency rule requests to NMFS, with supporting rationale indicating the need for these actions stem from unforeseen and adverse impacts on harvesters, processors, and communities as a result of travel restrictions, health mandates, and operational challenges directly attributable to the global pandemic. The emergency rules recommended by the Council for the 2021 fishing season are to:
- Allow temporary transfer of halibut and sablefish IFQ ,
- Waive vessel use cap on IFQ halibut in Areas 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D,
- Suspend residency requirements applicable to the Adak CQE program, and
- Move up the start date for the Central GOA Rockfish Program from May 1 to April 1.
Finally, the Council issued a call for nominations for a new member for the Climate Change Task Force