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:
- Requested staff to bring back ideas for improving outreach and community engagement, in general and on the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan. This should include considering appropriate roles for the various Council committees, including the Ecosystem Committee, the Outreach Committee, the Social Science Plan Team, and the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan team.
- Directed staff to send letters: a) to the IPHC, to respond formally to their letter on abundance-based management and to comment on 2018 harvest specifications; b) to BOEM in response to the proposed oil and gas lease sales, requesting removal of several areas in Alaska from consideration; and c) to St Paul, in response to their request to add a member to the Ecosystem Committee, which is not possible at this time but the Council encourages their continued involvement in the Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan development.
- Directed staff to prepare a comment letter on HR 200 that builds on previous Council comments and incorporates the Legislative Committee recommendations, in case the Council is requested to comment on the bill. Additionally, all future Council comments on legislative actions should be copied to the Congressional delegations for AK, WA, and OR.
- Recommended that an agenda item be added to the Council Coordination Committee agenda to discuss funding for the fishery science centers, noting especially this Council’s concerns about stable base funding for surveys and ecosystem process studies.
- Notified the public that some Council members intend to host an informal IFQ outreach session in Kodiak in conjunction with the June Council meeting. More information on the planning process will be forthcoming.
- Established guidance that out of cycle public comment on IFQ and charter halibut management issues should be included in the Council’s staff tasking agenda item at the immediate meeting, but if the Council takes no action, should be compiled for review by the relevant committees at their next meetings.
The Council received written and verbal testimony on additional IFQ proposals and shoreside access issues in Adak. The Council expressed interest in some of the issues raised, and while they took no further action at this time, they indicated they may revisit these issues in future. The Council also acknowledged a request to change the CDQ program boundaries but noted that the request is not within the Council’s authority.
Motions are posted on the Council website through the Agenda. Staff contact is Diana Evans.