The Kodiak Fisheries Workgroup sent a letter of community input to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council before the council’s meeting in early October. The letter focused on the gulf trawl bycatch management issue.
Fisheries analyst for the Kodiak City and Kodiak Island Borough, Heather McCarty, says it encouraged the council to continue analysis on some points that the Kodiak community thinks important, and it furthermore provided a community perspective.
NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on a proposed rule that would reduce bycatch limits for Pacific halibut in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) groundfish fisheries.
Bycatch is also known as “prohibited species catch,” or PSC. The proposed fishery management plan amendment, "Amendment 111," would reduce PSC limits for halibut in specific amounts in four groundfish sectors:
- Amendment 80 sector (non-pollock trawl catcher/processors) by 25% to 1,745 mt;
- BSAI trawl limited access sector (all non-Amendment 80 trawl fishery participants) by 15% to 745 mt;
Coming up this week, there are even more options on the table regarding Gulf of Alaska bycatch after the North Pacific Council met; we have a new director of the commercial fisheries division, and once again proof that you shouldn't mess with the Lacey Act. Help from KSKA's Ellen Lockyer AND Monica Gokey in Anchorage, and KDLG's Molly Dischner in Dillingham.
Following the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) first successful use of a stereo camera to verify a US study, some say this technology will soon become a more conventional way to conduct marine research.
The study was conducted to help inform the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC) of the state of coral in the Pribilof Canyon in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska and whether it was threatened by pollock fishing in the area, before they made their decision earlier this month to continue to allow fishing there.
Salmon bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska trawl fishery has been under scrutiny since 2012, when the North Pacific Fishery Management Council proposed a revision in the Gulf trawl fishery’s management structure. The Council is slowly making headway on the issue.
Pacific halibut and Chinook salmon are taken as prohibited species, or bycatch, by the Gulf groundfish trawl fleet, and the Council wants to provide tools for better managing the prohibited species catch.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has allocated an additional 1,600 chinook salmon to be used as bycatch for the Gulf of Alaska non-pollock, non-rockfish groundfish trawl fleet.
The year-round Gulf of Alaska non-pollock, non-rockfish fishery had to shut down on May 2, having exceeded its allocation of 2,700 chinook salmon bycatch. Somewhere between 13,000 to 15,000 metric tons of groundfish would have been left in the water in the second part of the season, approximately $4.6 million in ex-vessel value and $11.3 million in first wholesale value.
As a fishery scientist who has worked for more than 20 years with trawl fishermen to reduce salmon, crab and halibut bycatch, I find the recent rhetoric around proposed North Pacific Fisheries Management Council changes to the Bering Sea halibut bycatch cap very frustrating. In particular, I hear media campaigns underwritten by environmental NGOs claiming, “It’s been 20 years since the halibut bycatch cap was last reduced,” implying that this has created a conservation issue.
There’s no doubt that the recent announcement of shutting down directed fishing for groundfish will have an effect on Alaska fisheries, particularly for cod, but U.S. fisheries officials told SeafoodSource that this doesn’t mean no one can fish for cod and flatfish.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will hold its second meeting of 2015 from April 8-14 at the Anchorage Hilton.
The council's biggest agenda item will be final action on measures to reduce chinook and chum salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery. The alternatives, introduced for public review in December 2014, include both voluntary and regulatory controls to shorten seasons, provide incentives, and reduce bycatch caps.
JUNEAU -- Commercial fishermen who make their living in federal waters off Alaska are watching as Gov. Bill Walker prepares to announce a set of appointments to the board that manages the multibillion-dollar fishing industry in the North Pacific.
One of the principal roles of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is overseeing the massive, Seattle-based factory fishing vessels that catch and process lower-value groundfish like pollock, mackerel and sole.
A limited entry state waters pollock fishery could ease some of the impending Gulf of Alaska rationalization headaches, but the experimental permits fishing for pollock with non-trawl gear haven’t yet proven their value.
A working group of stakeholders and fisheries officials met for the third and last time on Feb. 18 to discuss adding a limited entry state pollock fishery to Alaska waters for both trawl and non-trawl vessels.
NMFS issues a proposed rule to implement cost recovery fee programs for the Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program for groundfish and halibut, and three limited access privilege programs: The American Fisheries Act (AFA), Aleutian Islands Pollock, and Amendment 80 Programs.
NOAA Fisheries is being asked by the state of Alaska and representatives of the Pribilof Island community of Saint Paul to institute emergency action to lower halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea groundfish fisheries.
The request to Assistant Administrator of NOAA Fisheries Eileen Sobeck came in late December from Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, the city of Saint Paul, the Tribal government of Saint Paul and Tanadguix Corp., an Alaska Native village corporation.
The overall feeling at the meeting seemed to be discontent with a grain of salt. Many fishermen who attended voiced their frustration with the observer program in general. But, many also said that they understand what its purpose is.
That sentiment is nothing new to Martin Lefled, who works with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, based out of Seattle, and is the director of the observer program in Alaska for the federal fisheries. He says NMFS has received a lot of feedback and it’s listening.
Conscientious chefs, shoppers, and restaurant goers in search of sustainable seafood just got a heap of new options to choose from. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s highly regarded Seafood Watch program recently announced an unprecedented upgrade in the listing of 21 species of fish caught on the U.S. West Coast. The sustainable seafood ranking program no longer cautions consumers to avoid these species, thanks to improvements to fisheries management in the 14 years following the collapse of the entire West Coast groundfish fishery, when many species were considered dangerously overfished.
The nation’s most influential sustainable-seafood group believes a host of once-troubled West Coast bottom fish are now recovering so well that consumers should seek them out at restaurants and markets.
Marine scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium said Tuesday that government regulators and fishermen had made such strides in how they manage and catch 21 species of rockfish, flounder, lingcod and sole that it listed all among the “good” or “best” seafood choices in the new edition of its popular guide.
A federal judge has ordered the National Marine Fisheries Service to prepare a supplemental environmental assessment for the revised marine observer program that was implemented in 2013.
No immediate changes to the program will be made, but Judge Russel Holland found that NMFS did not account for whether it would lose data quality after learning that higher costs would reduce the amount of observer days at sea by more than half compared to what was originally planned.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has published the proposed rule that would allow Bering Sea fishers some flexibility as they target flatfish.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council created the new regulation in April, which would allow Amendment 80 cooperatives and community development quota entities to exchange harvest quota for three flatfish species — flathead sole, rock sole and yellowfin sole.
Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young today shared his support for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) report reversing its opinion on the status of the Steller Sea Lion, following overbearing National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) restrictions that hampered and closed certain Aleutian Islands groundfish fisheries in 2011.
NMFS has taken a reccomendation from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and tightened halibut bycatch limits for commercial groundfish fishermen in the Gulf of Alaska with plan set to start this year. The Amendment 95 plan will minize halibut bycatch for GOA groundfish fisheries which include pollock, Pacific cod, rockfish and other flatfish.