NPFMC meeting in Portland will be shortened

It’s business as usual for staff of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, but a partial federal government shutdown due to President Trump’s demand to fund a wall on the nation’s southern border has furloughed other federal employees with whom they collaborate.

Pivotal presentations, reports and/or analyses that were to be discussed at the council’s meeting in Portland, OR Feb. 4-10 will not be available because many employees of the National Marine Fisheries Service (Alaska region and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center), the U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are furloughed and also not being paid.

The council announced this past week that several agenda items scheduled for the Portland meeting are not postponed for a future meeting. They include agenda Items C2, the observer program fees initial review, and Fishery Monitoring Advisory Committee report, and item D4, the economic data reports discussion paper.

Additional items that may be postponed include B4, state department report on Central Arctic Ocean fishing agreement; D6, the Economic Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report; and D7, the marine mammal conservation status report.

Presentation on Saltonstall-Kennedy grant results may also be postponed.

An updated agenda and additional information are being posted online at


Council staff note that the council may not be able to take final action on any agenda items during this meeting unless the meeting has been announced in the Federal Register at least 14 days before the council takes a final action. The council could make a preliminary final determination on these issues, and final action at a later meeting.

Council staff also said that the Norton Sound red king crab harvest specifications, which require timely action to open the fishery, may be the subject of a teleconference meeting as soon as the Federal Register notification requirements can be met, allow for additional public comments and take final action on that issue.

The council’s crab plan team will meet in Nome on Jan. 23-24. The meeting was shortened due to some agenda items being postponed until May because NMFS staff may not be available.

The halibut allowable biological catch stakeholder committee meeting is set for Feb. 4 in Portland with no changes to the previously announced agenda.

A meeting of the fishery monitoring advisory committee has been postponed and likely will be rescheduled to happen during the council’s April meeting in Anchorage. The ecosystem committee will meet Feb. 5 at the Benson Hotel in Portland, but its agenda will likely be modified to remove a presentation on marine mammal conservation status, unless NMFS staff are available to provide the report.