There was a
huge effort by commercial and charter fishermen from one end of the Gulf of
Alaska to another to convince the North Pacific Fishery Management Council that
bycatch of halibut needed to be reduced. Alaska Marine Conservation Council
Kodiak Outreach Coordinator Theresa Peterson - who is also a commercial
fisherman with halibut quota - says the call for bycatch reductions came from
far and wide.
-- (Halibut 1 June 12 18 sec "At least 35 different ... that we have today.")
populations of halibut over the years caused the International Pacific Halibut
Commission to reduce allocations to both the charter and commercial fleets, yet
bycatch levels in the trawl and hook-and-line fisheries had not been reduced
for nearly 25 years. The cap has been about 4.4-million pounds since 1986, and
the Council had before it cuts of 5, 10 or 15 percent. It voted 10-1 to go with
a 15 percent reduction, which is about 700,000 pounds.
Director Kelly Harrell said before the council voted that 15 percent was a good
-- (Halibut 2 June 12 15 sec "We don't think it's quite ... in the right direction.")
a retired fishing guide in Kasilof said the cuts to bycatch were vital to
fishermen who target halibut:
-- (Halibut 3 June 12
15 sec "Any fish we can save in ... reallocated to us, you
Benken, the executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association
in Sitka pointed out that many of the halibut caught in trawl nets represent
the future of the stock:
-- (Halibut 4 June 12
27 sec "Larger halibut are big ... depend on that stock.")
step in the process is for the council to determine how to go about implementing
the bycatch reductions, and what tools to use to achieve them.
The cuts to
halibut bycatch will be phased in over three years, with the first 7-percent
cut coming in 2014, followed by 5 percent and then a final 3-percent in
should wrap up its meeting here in Kodiak today.