The Council discussed the relative priority and scheduling of previously tasked projects, and identified new tasking. The revised 3 meeting outlook reflects this guidance.
The Council was briefed on the planning for in-person meetings. All Council meetings will remain virtual through the end of 2021. The Council is tentatively planning to hold the February 2022 meeting in person, but will make a final decision based on current circumstances in early December. Based on Council direction, staff are planning to accommodate remote accessibility options at the next in-person meeting, including broadcasting the SSC and AP in addition to the Council, and allowing for remote testimony. In case the 2022 meetings are not able to occur in-person, alternate dates have been identified for 2022 should the meetings need to switch to a virtual mode.
The Council directed staff to write the following letters:
- A letter to the Secretary of State, to request help to identify levels and stock composition of bycatch of salmon in waters outside the jurisdiction of the United States (see also here).
- two letters to the Secretary of Commerce. First, to support recent requests for increased and dedicated funding for salmon research, observation, and monitoring, including on the lifecycle of salmon species, and the effects of environmental change on salmon. Second, in support of the NMFS Regional Action Plans on Climate and the NOAA Climate and Fisheries Initiative, and underscoring the importance of providing funding for these initiatives without reducing funding for existing programs.
- A letter to the AFSC, in appreciation for the climate reports presentations, and providing recommendations on finalizing the Regional Action Plans on Climate. In particular, the Council emphasized the need to link proposed projects and research to management application in the Council or other processes (including the Council’s ongoing Bering Sea FEP Climate Change Task Force), and to highlight and follow through on coordination with agency and community partners moving forward.
The Council also tasked the following projects:
- an updated salmon bycatch impact analysis, using current genetic stock identification information, and including a PSC harvest rate analysis and estimate of the Chinook salmon bycatch impacts on specific salmon stock groupings. The report should also evaluate impacts of western Alaska chum salmon bycatch, and stock status update of western Alaska Chinook and chum stocks.
- an analysis of the likely conservation benefits and impacts of shifting the Red King Crab Savings Area boundary further northward through emergency rule.
- a discussion paper on the impact of bottom contact by pelagic trawl gear on Bristol Bay Red King Crab stocks, the boundaries used for the BBRKC survey, stock assessment, PSC limits, and the directed fishery, and an exploration of mechanisms for creating flexible, responsive spatial management measures for all gear types that might be applied to protect BBRKC.
The Council made the following appointments:
- Kathryn Meyer was appointed as the primary Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife representative to the SSC.
- Caroline Brown was appointed to the Social Science Plan Team.
- Philip Joy was appointed to the BSAI Groundfish Plan Team.
- Jared Weems was appointed to the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan Team.
- Mike Litzow was appointed to the BSAI Crab Plan Team.
Finally, the Council issued a call for nominations for the SSC, the Advisory Panel, and a vacancy for an Area 3A representative on the Charter Halibut Management Committee.
Staff contact is Diana Evans.