From David Bayes/Stop Alaskan Trawler Bycatch

The Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) numbers for 2022 in the Bering Sea / Aleutian Islands(BSAI) have been released.

Prohibited Species may never be retained for commerce by the trawl fleet, and theoretically, should not be caught at all.

That said, the NPFMC has already “pre-approved” bycatch of the following Prohibited Species for the 2022 BSAI trawl fleet.

To put this into perspective, if this was a hunting regulation, it would be analagous to a rabbit hunter being told that he was “pre-approved” to shoot and leave(waste) a set number of moose, caribou, bears, and ducks as “incidental catch” each year.

As you read through these numbers, bear in mind that the Yukon river has been closed to King Salmon retention, the Bering Sea Red King Crab season has been canceled altogether, and the Bering Sea Opilio crab season has been reduced by approximately 80%.

Discards ok’d – The “pre-approved” 2022 bycatch numbers for the Bering Sea trawl fleet set by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council are as follows:

  • Chinook Salmon bycatch: 45,700 fish (there is no hard cap for chums or other salmon)
  • Halibut bycatch: 5.48 million pounds (For the Gulf of Alaska: 3.76 million pounds)
  • Herring bycatch: 6 million pounds
  • Snow Crab (opilio): 5.99 million individuals (equal to 7.8 million pounds; the catch for crabbers is 5.6 million pounds)
  • Tanner Crab (bairdi): 3.07 million individuals (6,140,000 pounds; crabbers can take 1 million pounds)
  • Red King Crab: 80,160 individuals (520,000 pounds; the fishery is closed to crabbers for the first time in 25 years)

There is no bycatch cap for sablefish (black cod) in the Bering Sea or Gulf; the Gulf also does not have any bycatch caps for any species of crab.