This Week in Bycatch - October 22

Oct 23, 2019

Credit Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

Bycatch of king salmon remained above average for the week ending October 12.  Onboard observers recorded four thousand six hundred seventy-seven kings, over half of which were caught by pelagic trawlers targeting pollock in Area 610, covering the southern side of the Eastern Aleutians.  Bycatch of the other four species of salmon is typically much higher than chinook.  However, during this week, observers recorded only one thousand six hundred and ninety three non-chinook salmon.

Bycatch of king, bairdi, and opilio crab was lower than the last several weeks.  Just under fifty thousand crab were caught across all areas.  The largest share, about twenty thousand bairdi, came from non-pelagic trawlers fishing for bottom pollock in Area 630, which covers the Central Gulf of Alaska south of Homer.  An additional fifteen thousand opilio were caught in Area 514, the coastal half of the northern Bering Sea. 

Onboard observers recorded halibut mortality due to bycatch as two hundred and ten thousand pounds.  As has been the case for the last several weeks, the highest percentage was, like crab, in Area 630, accounting for ninety-five thousand pounds.  Areas 513 around the Pribilofs and 514 along the northwestern coast contributed about forty thousand pounds each, all from non-pelagic, or bottom, trawlers. 

In total for the week, the non-IFQ longline fleet, primarily targeting cod, recorded five thousand four hundred pounds of halibut mortality.  Jiggers contributed one hundred ninety eight pounds.  Vessels fishing with pot gear caught eight hundred eighty one pounds.  Pelagic trawlers added five hundred seventy three pounds, and non-pelagic trawlers recorded two hundred four thousand nine hundred eighty five pounds of halibut mortality.  During the week ending October 14, the IFQ longline fleet targeting halibut landed four hundred nine thousand one hundred nine pounds.

From data compiled by the National Marine Fisheries Service at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/alaska/commercial-fishing/fisheries-catch-and-landings-reports