This Week in Bycatch - October 29

Oct 30, 2019

Credit Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

Incidental catch of halibut, salmon, and crab was down across all fisheries and almost all gear types during the week ending October 19.  Halibut mortality rose slightly in the pot fishery targeting sablefish, from nine hundred and four pounds the previous week to two thousand two hundred twenty seven pounds.  In all other fisheries, it dropped, adding up to one hundred fifty one thousand pounds.  Just under one hundred forty seven thousand pounds of that came from the non-pelagic, or bottom, trawl sector.  Area 630 in the Central Gulf of Alaska south of Homer accounted for half of that total and is currently well in the lead for highest bycatch across all reporting areas with one point six million pounds to date in 2019.  The commercial IFQ longline fleet, whose season is winding down to its end date of November 14, landed two hundred fifty two thousand pounds of halibut during the comparable week ending October 22.

Salmon bycatch hit its lowest point in months, with just four hundred fifty three chinook and four hundred eighty four non-chinook salmon recorded by onboard observers across all fisheries.

Bycatch of king, bairdi, and tanner crab fell as well, from around fifty thousand the previous week to just over thirty seven thousand during this period.  Around one quarter of those crab were caught by non-pelagic trawlers fishing for bottom pollock in Area 630.