Fish Radio
October 18, 2013                    

Pile o' pollock Credit:

Pile o’ pollock


This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Working together to reduce salmon bycatch. More after this –

Pollock fleet uses rewards to cut bycatch                     

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Bycatch in fisheries is not only bad for the resources; it’s also bad for business. For decades fishermen have sought ways to avoid the hassles of unwanted catches that slow down their operations. A case in point:  west coast shrimpers trying to avoid Pacific whiting.

So these fishermen designed excluder devices. So 50 years ago we had excluder devices in trawl nets off the west coast. It was done to   lower the   sorting cost to fishermen. My point is that fishermen have been grappling with this for a long time and it not just the result of regulations.     

 Gil Sylvia is a marine resource economist at Oregon State’s marine experimental station at Newport.  Preventing bycatch was a major goal of the Magnuson-Stevens Act which governs federal fisheries. Sylvia says changes need to be made jointly by policy makers and  industry stakeholders.

  The solution is to co-develop rights based systems, which is where we are heading on the west coast, and market based performance standards that create the long-term rewards for industry to discover incentives — it’s not just about immediate incentives, it could be a 10 year investment. So who is going to create and implement the bycatch and discard solutions that are going to lower costs and increase profits for industry. That’s the issue – and reward the best fishermen.  


A case in point:    The fleet of 98 Bering Sea shore based pollock boats, fishing in six cooperatives, created IPAs, or incentive plan agreements, to keep Chinook salmon bycatch below a 60,000  hard cap set by fishery managers. Incentives include rewards and penalties for individual vessels, which can also earn salmon savings credits.

   How you earn those credits is for every three fish below the base cap that a vessel avoided in a year, it would earn a savings credit. Those credits would be saved in an account and last over a 5 year period. 

 John Gruver is inter co-op manager of United Catcher Boats, a trawl trade group. The fleet also relies on a secure web site that lets them track catch data quickly.

   We have a secure web site that each co-op can go to and make transfers and see how all their vessels stand and each co-op can check on other co-ops and more importantly, can check on themselves  

NOAA Fisheries data show that Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery in 2011   totaled 25,400 fish.  That compares to 121,000 taken as bycatch five years ago.

Thanks to the assist from KDLG/Dillingham.

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. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.