This Week in Bycatch - August 6

Aug 7, 2019

Credit Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

Incidental catch of bairdi, opilio, and king crab remained low across the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands regulatory areas for the week ending July 27.  Less than three thousand crab were caught across all gear types.  King salmon bycatch stood at 62 fish for the week, while all other salmon species accounted for 18,971 fish.  About half of the non-chinook were caught in statistical area 517 north of False Pass just west of the entrance to Bristol Bay.  That area, along with its eastern neighbor, 509, has seen the highest bycatch of non-chinook salmon throughout late June and July. 

Its northern neighbor, area 513, claimed the top spot in halibut bycatch for the week.  The National Marine Fisheries Service recorded 25,441 pounds of halibut mortality in that area out of a total week’s mortality of 64,684 pounds. 5,247 pounds came from non-IFQ longliners, targeting primarily Pacific cod, with 4,079 pounds from pelagic pollock trawlers.  The remaining 55,358 pounds of halibut mortality was attributed to non-pelagic, or bottom, trawlers currently targeting sole and rockfish. 

July’s halibut mortality through the 27th of 207,807 pounds puts it on pace to finish with the lowest monthly total of the year since January.