Gulf bycatch plans include four options
October 27, 2015
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Plans come together for cutting bycatch in the Gulf. More after this —
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Fishery managers have selected several options for a new plan aimed at reducing Chinook salmon and halibut bycatch in Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries. The program – which could include up to 25 different fish species in the Western, Central and West Yakutat regions – is likely to use a patchwork of catch share options.
An alternative advanced for more analysis last week by the North Pacific Council includes voluntary fishing and processor co-ops with transferrable yearly allocations of target catches, bycatches, full observer coverage, community protection measures, and opportunities for gear conversions.
Sam Cunningham is a Council economist –
What the council is looking to do through this action is to set up a framework of cooperatives within the Gulf trawl fleet and that would allow fishermen to work together to prosecute their fishery within the constraints of those limits, and also seek opportunities to fish in ways that result in less bycatch when possible.
Another option would allocate between 5 and 15 percent of fishing quotas to either a Community Fisheries Association or so called Adaptive Management Program.
Yet another would create voluntary fishing cooperatives with shares of just bycatch. That is designed to protect the historical flow of fish coming into dependent Gulf communities, like Kodiak, which has a large, resident processing workforce.
Darrel Brannon is a Council consultant.
What they are trying to do is keep the crews and the vessels in the communities where they have historically been delivering to similar processors so there is not a lot of disruption in the fisheries.
All of the options will now be further analyzed and tweaked over the course of several Council meetings. It will be two years or more before the massive program makes it out onto the water.
Thanks to the assist from KSKA –
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Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.