Deadline to comment to NPFMC on trawl chum cap is March 29 at noon.

Share your thoughts on a trawl chum bycatch cap, research priorities and more to the NPFMC. Deadline=3/29 at noon.

by | March 28, 2024

All documents are posted, including NPFMC research priorities through 2027

Got something to say to fishery managers about a chum cap for trawlers? Or fishery research priorities through 2027? 

The comment deadline for the April 4-9 North Pacific Fishery Management Council is Friday, March 29 at noon, Alaska time. 

All of the topics on the agenda, including all documents and the comment link are HERE   

The public comments, which  provide an opportunity to “get on the record” in federal documents, will be visible after the deadline. 

The NPFMC changed its public comment policy in May 2021 due to increased profanity and threats. The comment section “was being used like a social media thread with back and forth finger-pointing, foul language and rebuttal bashing that was often way off topic,” said an industry insider.

Drone aerial photos of Trawlers at berth at terminal 91

Contentious Chum cap enters “initial review” 

 There is no limit to the number of chum salmon that Bering Sea trawlers can take and toss (by law) as bycatch. At the April meeting, the NPFMC will evaluate, among other options, a trawl chum cap potentially ranging from 200,000 to 550,000 fish. 

“There’s no way the pollock fleet can sit here and say we will accept these hard caps. It could shut down the Alaska pollock fleet entirely.”  

Stephanie Madsen, executive director of the At-sea Processors Association

Below are the topics and documents for next week’s NPFMC meeting on a chum salmon cap. Here is the LINK to the documents under agenda item C2–

NPFMC will set research priorities through 2027

The Council scientific staff has defined “a suitable starting point” for its Top 10 list of research priorities through 2027.

Here are the top 5:

1. Further research to reduce western Alaska salmon bycatch in Bering Sea groundfish fisheries.

2. Quantify the magnitude of fishing gear impacts on crab and their associated benthic habitat and develop fishing gear innovations where needed.

3. Evaluate direct marine mammal-fishery interactions (including feeding on discards and spatiotemporal trends in bycatch) and potential mitigation measures for marine mammal conservation.

4. * Examine the economic, social, and cultural effects of fisheries and fishery management policy on coastal communities over time (including impacts from fishery policy changes and Tribal citizen and Tribal Nation reliance on, participation in, and impacts of federally managed fisheries).

5. * Develop actionable ecosystem indicators relevant to single-species stock assessments and ecosystem assessments that address climate change impacts to managed stocks.

See the other NPFMC research priorities HERE under Agenda item D3

COMMENT DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, MARCH 29 AND MIDNIGHT/AK TIME.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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