This Week in Bycatch with Jeff Lockwood

Apr 18, 2020

Credit Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

The National Marine Fisheries Service releases updated numbers on crab, salmon, and halibut bycatch in fisheries across Alaska each Thursday.  KBBI’s sifts through the data to bring you this report.

Halibut bycatch mortality in 2020 crossed the 2 million pound marker during the week ending April 11, sitting at 2,094,102 pounds.  

Area 513, just east of the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, recorded the highest yearly total at 628,000 pounds. The second-highest total came from area 630, the central Gulf of Alaska between Kodiak and Prince William Sound, with 439,000 pounds.  

The overwhelming majority of halibut mortality comes from the non-pelagic, or bottom, trawl sector.  The commercial IFQ halibut fishery has landed about nine hundred thirty thousand pounds since it opened March 14.

Bairdi crab in Area 630 had high levels of bycatch for the second week in a row.  Just under 135,000 bairdi were reported as bycatch in that area, down from 210,000 the prior week.  

Another 40,000 crab came from Area 620, between Sand Point and the south end of Kodiak.  With small contributions from other areas, the week ending April 11 had the second highest reported bairdi bycatch, following only the previous week.  

Chinook bycatch totalled 541 fish recorded as across all fisheries.