The Council discussed the relative priority and scheduling of previously tasked projects, and identified new tasking. The revised 3 meeting outlook reflects this guidance.
Return to In-Person Meetings
The Council was briefed on staff progress with planning the transition back to in-person meetings, beginning in October. All Plan Team and Committee meetings will be held virtually through September 2021, and the Advisory Panel and the SSC will also meet virtually for the October meeting. Based on Council direction, staff will tentatively plan to hold the October 2021 Council meeting itself in person. The Council supported this phased-in approach in order to prioritize staff resources for piloting additional remote participation options as part of the return to in-person meetings, in particular allowing remote testimony at the Council, and in future, broadcasting AP and SSC meetings when they occur in-person.
The Council directed staff to write a letter to NFWF, in support of several electronic monitoring projects that have been submitted for funding (see discussion in observer and trawl EM newsletter articles).
The Council also provided the following additional direction:
- The Council tasked a discussion paper to consider changing the Aleutian Islands golden king crab fishery start date and removing the facility use cap, in order to provide a live crab market opportunity for independent processing quota holders through custom processing arrangement as well as for more crab harvesters.
- The Council endorsed the Ecosystem Committee’s proposed workplan to address a number of topics including northern fur seals, marine debris, areas-based management, GOA ecosystem-based fishery management research initiatives, and forage fish.
- The FMAC co-Chairs referenced an issue raised earlier in the meeting about a labor shortage of qualified observers for the Alaska fisheries, and noted they intend to follow up over the summer with NMFS, and report back to the Council.
- The Council supported the Executive Director working with Tanana Chiefs Conference to organize a potential outreach and engagement trip for Council members and staff over the summer.
- The Council also requested staff post discussion papers, reports, and analyses in support of upcoming agenda items at least 7 days before the closing of the written comment period whenever possible.
Finally, the Council appointed Andrew Olson to the GOA Groundfish Plan Team, and issued a call for nominations for vacancies on the PCFMAC and Trawl EM committees.