This Week in Bycatch - June 25
Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands pelagic trawlers caught 312 king salmon in the week beginning June 15, bringing the total for the month of June to 1411. During the same week, non-pelagic, or bottom trawlers caught 176 kings, according to data from onboard observers overseen by the National Marine Fisheries Service, (NMFS). June’s king salmon bycatch in the bottom trawl fishery to date is 762. There was no reported salmon bycatch in the pot, jig, and non-halibut longline fisheries.
So far in 2019, 23,147 kings have been reported as bycatch in all groundfish fisheries. Thirty percent were caught by the non-pelagic trawl fleet, while pelagic trawlers primarily targeting pollock caught most of the remaining seventy percent. The Pacific cod pot fishery accounted for the last percent. The yearly total for non-chinook salmon bycatch is just under five thousand fish in all fisheries.
Total reported halibut bycatch for the week of June 15 was down from the previous week. NMFS reported a halibut bycatch in the non-pelagic trawl fleet of a little over 77,000 pounds and a mortality weight of119,000 pounds. Mortality is higher than total bycatch in this case because, while all mortality is publically reported immediately, other trip data from regulatory sectors where less than three deliveries have occurred in a particular time period is masked. The remainder of the week’s halibut bycatch, about five thousand pounds with a mortality rate of just under fifty percent, came from the non-IFQ longline fishery targeting Pacific cod.