July continued to report the lowest catches of prohibited species in 2019 throughout groundfish fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands regulatory areas, according to reports from onboard observers compiled by the National Marine Fisheries Service. In the week ending July 20, total halibut bycatch in non-IFQ groundfish sectors was reported at 85,855 pounds. Of that total, 39,339 pounds were recorded as dead. 35,737 pounds of that mortality were recorded in the non-pelagic trawl sector, while vessels fishing with pelagic trawl gear and longline gear accounted for the rest.
To July 20, this month has recorded 127,582 pounds of total halibut mortality, by far the lowest of the year. The previous low was in January, which recorded 443,547 pounds, while the highest month for 2019 so far was March, with 1,094,263 pounds of discarded dead halibut. Last month, June, recorded mortality of 680,787 pounds.
Incidental catch of Chinook salmon was reported as twenty-six fish, with non-Chinook species coming in just under eight thousand fish. 3639 crab were caught across all fisheries.