Oct 8, 201208:25 PMBlog: Fish Bytes
Crab on the table
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council took up Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab management issues Oct. 7 and 8 as part of its meeting in Anchorage.
The Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, or BSAI, crab issues included initial review of changes to right of first refusal for designated community entities when processor quota share, or PQS, could be sold out of the community, two items regarding crab price arbitration, changes to crab economic data reporting, and a report on several crab stocks.
During the stock reports, Diana Stram told the council that tanner crab was no longer in a rebuilding status. Changes to the tanner crab model, approved by the Statistical and Scientific Committee, alter the recruitment aspect of the model to consider a different base time frame. As a result, the stock is concerned to be at an acceptable biomass, and not working towards rebuilding to a higher level.
The council moved for staff to analyze possible changes to the right of first refusal provisions for community entities. The changes discussed, which will come back for council consideration at a future meeting, could allow a longer timeframe to act on the right of first refusal, eliminate the potential for those rights to expire, and would examine a situation and proposed solution where the rights holder may not have received appropriate notification.
The council discussed discussed and accepted a workgroup report on binding arbitration for golden king crab prices. The workgroup was formed due to industry concerns about the arbitration process. The council asked for the industry to report back when the issues were resolved. No time was specified, and staff action was not associated with the request.
The council also heard about issues in the arbitration process between harvesters and processors for Bering Sea crab prices, but a motion to take action failed. Council members said they weren’t convinced that the issue needed to be addressed by that body. The arbitration process has been used eight times, and the council felt some work could still be done between those involved.
The council also approved of changes to the crab economic data reporting forms.
The council moved BSAI two crab items – active participation requirements and cooperative provisions for crew – off of its agenda Oct. 8 after chair Eric Olson said there was not enough time to get through the rest of the agenda in the time remaining. The active participation was an initial review item, and the cooperative provisions were in front of the council as a discussion paper.
The council meeting will resume at 8 a.m. Oct. 9, and begin with public testimony on central Gulf of Alaska groundfish issues.