In addition to discussing the relative priority and scheduling of previously tasked projects, the Council took the following actions and clarified direction and tasking for its committees:
- Approved a process for regulatory reform review whereby NMFS and Council staff will conduct a preliminary review and report back to the Council in April 2018.
- Discussed the Steller Sea Lion 5 year review, but declined to provide comments during the current public comment period. The Council intends, however, to remain involved as the review proceeds.
- Encouraged further review of the LEO network and citizen science opportunities by authors of the Ecosystem Considerations report, taking into account the SSC comments, and anticipates hearing back on the utility of these opportunities at a future meeting.
- Requested that NOAA Office of Law Enforcement provide finer-scale information on pollock trip limit overages in 2017 at a future meeting.
- Approved the Plan Teams’ intention to hold a public workshop to consider, among other things, appropriate protocols for determining when to set ABC below the maximum permissible. The Council requested a report back on this topic at a future meeting, noting that it may result in changes to the Plan Teams’ Terms of Reference.
- Agreed to report to the IPHC the Council’s action on self-guided halibut rental boats, which is directly responsive to an IPHC proposal that was submitted for the 2018 IPHC annual meeting.
- Directed staff to send letters:
- to the AFSC regarding support for Northern Bering Sea Pacific cod genetic and tagging studies, especially to the extent that this work can affect the 2018 Pacific cod stock assessment;
- to the AFSC supporting additional Northern Bering Sea surveys;
- to the State Department expressing support for the Central Arctic Ocean agreement, and noting how it aligns with the Council’s Arctic FMP; and
- to Sea Grant with feedback on the Council’s interaction with the Young Fishermen’s Summit and further opportunities.
Additionally, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game notified the Council that they intend to investigate an issue raised in a public comment letter relating to latency issues in the scallop fishery, and would report back to the Council, plan team, or Joint Protocol Committee at a future date.