This Week in Bycatch - June 18
The National Marine Fisheries Service reports a total halibut bycatch for the first two weeks of June of 506,747 pounds in all groundfish fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands management areas, excluding the halibut and sablefish longline fisheries. Total halibut mortality for the month so far is 460,457 pounds for a mortality rate of just under ninety-one percent.
The largest share of reported bycatch, just over ninety-nine percent, was in the non-pelagic, or bottom, trawl fisheries, which are currently targeting smaller flatfish such as arrowtooth flounder and yellowfin sole, as well as rockfish. NMFS reports non-pelagic trawl halibut bycatch as 502,895 pounds, of which 455,783 pounds were dead.
The remainder of June’s halibut mortality to date was split between the pelagic, or off-bottom trawl fishery, which almost exclusively targets pollock, and non-halibut and sablefish longline fisheries, principally Pacific cod. Longline halibut mortality was reported at seven hundred fifty pounds, while pelagic trawling accounted for just under four thousand pounds.
Total halibut bycatch for 2019 to date in all fisheries is 7,289,468 pounds. Reported mortality for the year so far is 4,402,604.
NMFS reports all figures in metric tons; these have been converted into pounds.