This Week in Bycatch - August 14

Aug 15, 2019

Credit Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

Halibut bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands in the week ending August 3 was lower than comparable weeks in the last five years.  Total mortality, as recorded by onboard observers and compiled by the National Marine Fisheries Service, was fifty-seven thousand pounds.  During the same week in 2018, halibut death in other fisheries totaled seventy-five thousand pounds.  In the past five years, the highest total during this period was one hundred twenty eight thousand pounds in 2016. 

Non-pelagic trawlers targeting yellowfin and flathead sole in Area 513 just west of the Pribilof Islands again landed the largest amount of halibut killed as bycatch, about twenty-three thousand pounds.  The total non-pelagic trawl share of halibut mortality in all areas was forty-five thousand pounds.  Non-IFQ longliners targeting Pacific cod added seventy-six hundred pounds, while pollock trawlers recorded forty-four hundred pounds. 

King salmon bycatch jumped from well under a hundred fish, where it had been for several weeks, to two hundred and four fish.  Half of those were caught by non-pelagic trawlers targeting rockfish in Area 640, a large region of the central Gulf of Alaska between Prince William Sound and Yakutat.  Incidental catch of other salmon species was down from last week at just under fourteen thousand fish.  Crab bycatch was down as well, at just eight hundred crab across all gear types and areas.