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This Week in Bycatch - September 3

Nancy Heise

Halibut bycatch mortality in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands regulatory areas for the week ending August 24th was highest in Area 620, which stretches from the southern end of Kodiak Island west to the Shumagin Islands.  The National Marine Fisheries Service recorded just under forty thousand pounds of mortality there, all from non-pelagic, or bottom trawlers , out of a weekly total in all Alaskan waters of one hundred thirty seven thousand pounds.  This was the highest weekly total since the week ending June 8, which recorded two hundred thirty three thousand pounds. The longline and pelagic trawl fisheries across the state combined for six thousand seven hundred pounds of halibut bycatch mortality, with the remaining one hundred thirty thousand coming from non-pelagic trawl gear.  Vessels targeting arrowtooth flounder and rockfish accounted for most of that total.   

Seven thousand three hundred fifty four tanner, opilio, and king crab were caught as bycatch in all fisheries during the same week, as well as five hundred forty chinook salmon and just under eighteen thousand non-chinook salmon.

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