Federal council takes up GOA Chinook issues

Federal fisheries managers this week have scheduled an initial review of proposed adjustments of the prohibited species catch of Chinook salmon in the Gulf of Alaska groundfish fishery.

The agenda for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which is meeting through Feb. 12 in Seattle, includes several hours to discuss an initial review draft on Chinook salmon prohibited species catch in the Gulf of Alaska non-Pollock trawl fisheries.

The document prepared by council staff analyzes proposed management measures that would apply to all trawl fishing by catcher vessels in the groundfish fisheries of the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska except the directed Pollock fishery. Trawl fishing in the Gulf is limited by prohibited species catch of Chinook salmon. Prohibited species caps limit the amount of Chinook salmon that can be taken in the trawl fishery, with directed fishing with trawl gear closed if that limit is met.

Alternatives under consideration would increase the existing prohibited species caps for non-Pollock trawl catcher vessels and catcher vessels fishing under authority of a Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program cooperative quota permit. Implementation of the management measures evaluated in the draft analysis would require an amendment to the fishery management plan for groundfish in the Gulf of Alaska, plus amendments to implementing regulations.

The council is using a new commenting process aimed at reducing its administrative workload and providing an easier way to submit and view comments electronically. To Comments submitted by the Feb. 2 deadline, including those on the draft analysis of proposed changes in prohibited species catch in the Gulf, are posted online at https://comments.npfmc.org/Meeting/Details/62

Council meeting are open to the public, with the exception of executive sessions.

A link to the meeting agenda, schedule and list of review documents is online at www.npfmc.org. The meeting is broadcast online at https://npfmc.adobeconnect.com/february2018

Motions approved by the council will be posted online following the meeting.