The council oversees federal fisheries in the million square miles of ocean between 3 and 200 miles off Alaska’s coast.
While the council itself does not begin meeting until 8 a.m. Wednesday in the Kodiak Harbor Convention Center, the council’s scientific committee and its advisory panel begin their work at 8 a.m. today.
The scientific committee meets in the Kodiak Inn’s Harbor Room, while the advisory panel does its work in the Elks Lodge.
The top topic for the advisory panel and the council in general is the issue of halibut bycatch — halibut caught and killed by fishermen pursuing other species.
Commercial halibut fishing quotas have been cut several times in the past few years, while the bycatch quota has been unaltered during the same period.
At this meeting, the council will consider whether to cut the bycatch quota for groundfish fishermen in the Gulf of Alaska, and if so, by how much. Cuts of 5 percent, 10 percent or 15 percent from the 2,300 metric ton bycatch quota are possible.
The council will also discuss whether or not jig boats can carry other types of fishing gear while pursuing Pacific cod. The Alaska Jig Association has scheduled a meeting on the issue at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Elks Lodge.
The council’s meeting is open to the public, except for brief periods of executive session.
Other public events are planned through the week. At 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Kodiak Fisheries Research Center is a joint city-borough reception.
At 5:30 p.m. Thursday is a presentation about observer deployment in 2013, the first year fisheries observers will deploy to smaller boats in the Kodiak fleet.
The Kodiak Association of Charter Boat Operators will host a barbecue 6-8 p.m. Friday in the Buskin River Pavilion, and the city of Ouzinkie will host a community reception at 7:30 p.m. June 11 (location not specified).
More information about this week’s meetings, including a full agenda and background papers, can be found online. The Kodiak Daily Mirror will also publish regular stories as the council works.