Government Shutdown Forces Revised NPFMC Agenda

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) is currently abbreviating the agenda for its February meeting in Portland, Oregon, because of the impact of the partial shutdown of the federal government, which has furloughed thousands of federal workers.

Council staff is conducting business as usual, but most of the council’s federal partners at the National Marine Fisheries Service for the Alaska region and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, the US Coast Guard and the US Fish and Wildlife Service are furloughed. These scientists and fishery managers are key contributors to the council’s analyses, plan teams and committees, so the council is rescheduling or modifying the agenda for several meetings where NMFS representatives were to provide presentations, reports and/or analyses. The council meeting itself will be shortened but the Statistical and Scientific committee and the advisory panel will still hold their meetings during the council session.

Agenda items now postponed include C2, observer program fees initial review, and the Fishery Monitoring Advisory Committee report, plus item D4, the economic data reports discussion paper.

Additional items that may be delayed 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 pushed back.

Agenda updates are being posted online at

Council staff mentioned 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.