Two federal fisheries council meetings are underway virtually this week in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Adaption of final exempted fishing permit recommendations for 2021-2022 coastal pelagic species fisheries is a top item on the agenda for the April meeting of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, being held via webinar from April 6-9 and April 12-15.
The Council also plans to adopt final management measures for this year’s ocean salmon fisheries and adopt a Pacific sardine assessment, final harvest specifications and management measures for the 2021-2022 Pacific sardine fishery.
Also up for action is guidance to the National Marine Fisheries Service on development of groundfish management measures to satisfy terms and conditions of the humpback whale Endangered Species Act consultation, and adoption of final incidental Pacific Halibut catch recommendations for 2021 and early 2022 non-Indian salmon troll fisheries.
All Council meetings are open to the public online. The agenda and more meeting details are online, with copies of briefing materials prepared for the meeting at www.pcouncil.org.
Scallop and halibut matters are earmarked as major issues for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting from April 12-17.
The Council’s scallop plan team met virtually in February to discuss the status and appropriate harvest level for weathervane scallops off Alaska. At next week’s meeting, the Council and it’s Scientific and Statistical Committee will review the plan team’s report and set appropriate harvest limits for the 2021-2022 scallop season.
The Council is also expected to review an analysis to modify halibut bycatch limits that apply to most trawl vessels that fish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and process their catch onboard. The major change being considered is to switch from a fixed bycatch limit to one that fluctuates every year based on BSAI halibut abundance.
Meetings of the NPFMC’s scientific and statistical committee were set for April 5-9 and the council’s advisory panel was set to meeting from April 6-10. All NPFMC meetings are also open to the public via Adobe Connect, https://npfmc.adobeconnect.com/council/.