Tag Archives: bycatch

Dunleavy administration announces formation of bycatch task force

“We’ve had a reduction in or closure of the crab fisheries in the Bering Sea. The [North Pacific Fishery Management] Council is discussing how to deal with halibut bycatch, and I think there’s a lot of perception that there are bycatch issues associated with what’s happened with salmon in Western Alaska systems,” said Alaska Fish & Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang. And, he says, his boss has taken notice. “I think the governor was hearing loud and clear that there was just a lot of noise around the issue of bycatch,” >click to read< 12:52

Alaska snow crab harvest slashed by nearly 90% after population crash in a warming Bering Sea

The snow crab is a mainstay of the Alaska crab boat fleet, much of it based in Washington, and the 2021-22 catch limit of 5.6 million pounds, announced Friday, is down 88% from the previous season. The 2021 fall harvest of Bristol Bay red king crab, another important source of revenue for that fleet, was canceled for this year because of too few females. The combined impacts of the closure and snow crab cutbacks are a big financial hit to crabbers who in past years have grossed more than $200 million from the two harvests. At a meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council this week, crabbers called for additional restrictions in other harvests. >click to read< 09:30

Canada adds warm-water fish to list of species monitored in DFO summer trawl survey off East Coast

Several warm-water fish species were added to the annual summer research vessel survey off the coast of Eastern Canada in 2020.,, Monitoring for the blackbelly rosefish, john dory, trigger fish, tilefish fish, dusky shark and others was included in the DFO summer trawl survey along the Scotian Shelf and Bay of Fundy for the first time last year. It was done at the request of the commercial fishing industry, which is capturing them accidentally, called bycatch, but cannot land them because they are not included in any Canadian commercial fish licence conditions. That doesn’t make sense to Alain d’Entremont, president and CEO of Scotia Harvest,,, “I think that if they are groundfish species and we are catching them as part of our regular fishing, then there should be mechanisms for us to be able to land them,,, >click to read< 16:55

Anti-Commercial Fishing Lawsuit demands NC coastal fishing reforms

The N.C. Coastal Fisheries Reform Group, a nonprofit organization, has said the degradation of marine fisheries is the most significant environmental issue facing the state, and it is going to court to seek change. Joe Albea, a spokesman for the organization, said that “vast schools of croaker and gray trout all over North Carolina in the sounds and along the beach” were present in the 1970s and ’80s. “Through the years we have lost those great schools of fish,” he said. Brent Fulcher, whose fishing vessel, the Micah Bell, is named as a defendant“,, Glenn Skinner, executive director of the trade group the N.C. Fisheries Association, believes the lawsuit is without merit. >click to read< 14:44

Bycatch – From problem to opportunity. Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

For as long as I have been involved in the commercial fishing industry, and that’s going back for what is approaching forty years, there has been a widespread feeling that “things would be better if this industry were administratively housed in the Department of Agriculture (DOA).” Whether at the state level, in state waters within three miles of the coastline, or the federal level beyond three miles, there’s always been a sort of wistful “wouldn’t it be great if we were over there” view of the DOA, and the reasons for this aren’t awfully difficult to fathom. The Department of Agriculture, no matter whether state or federal, is mostly focused on promotion, and fisheries agencies, no matter the level, are regulatory in nature, in organization and in attitude. This is glaringly obvious with the National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal fisheries agency, which in recent years has become almost totally focused to the virtual exclusion of anything else on limiting – rather than enhancing – the commercial production of fish and shellfish. >click to read< 15:06

Turtlegate: Net Escape Doors Versus the Doors of Government

This week, a 50 pound Loggerhead was rescued on Cape Cod.,, Kemp’s Ridley turtles are endangered and although it cannot be confirmed if there is a direct connection between these cold-stunning incidents and interaction with fishing boats, trawler net entanglement remains the number one culprit for sea turtle trauma and mortality. huh! Let’s turn our attention to this critical man-made danger that affects all ocean mammals and sea life in general,,, we see where this is going, >click to read< 09:33

New Jersey fishermen to donate bycatch to NJ food bank

A new partnership between New Jersey fishermen and a local food bank will mean that some of New Jersey’s hungry residents will have plenty to eat.
For decades, a large portion of the fish caught by commercial fishermen in the United States has gone to waste.,,, But a new program launched in New Jersey Friday means that some of this wasted fish will be donated to Fulfill, the food bank of Monmouth and Ocean counties. “That fish gets turned over to the people in Monmouth and Ocean counties who need it the most. And there are a lot of them,” says former Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the CEO of Fulfill. >Video, click to read< 10:14

DC Circuit Sinks Challenge to Fishing Bycatch Rule

The D.C. Circuit on Friday upheld the government’s method of counting fish and other sea life that are unintentionally swept up in commercial fishing nets. The NMFS changed its method for counting bycatch in 2015,,, The 2015 change puts trained reporters, typically biologists, on a sample of fishing boats to count bycatch. Their numbers are then extrapolated across entire fleets, giving the government an estimate to work with. Conservation group Oceana challenged the new rule,,, >click to read<19:25

Controversial bycatch monitoring program coming to Maritime lobster industry

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans is rolling out a controversial bycatch monitoring program in three lobster fishing areas in Nova Scotia, but it won’t say when the program will be introduced across the Maritimes. The department is imposing at-sea monitors for the first time this fall in three lobster fishing districts in Nova Scotia from Halifax to Digby. The department said it needs to collect data on other species — such as cod, cusk and Jonah crab — that are inadvertently being caught in lobster traps, which is known as bycatch. The question is when the monitoring will roll out elsewhere. >click to read<11:14

With New Kuskokwim King Salmon Data Released, Bering Sea Bycatch Restrictions Come Under Review

New state data reveals that the number of king salmon returning to the Kuskokwim River has been inflated for decades. Now, the state is recommending that the body governing the Bering Sea pollock fishery adopt this new information. If it does, restrictions on the fleet’s bycatch of king salmon could tighten, and a long-voiced demand from Kuskokwim residents could be met. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting in Kodiak, Alaska this week. It’s scheduled to make a decision by Monday on how many king salmon can be caught incidentally by commercial fishing boats targeting pollock in the Bering Sea. >click to read<08:33

Social media post criticizes Trident Seafoods, Gulf of Alaska trawl fleet for halibut bycatch

A fisherman based out of Homer posted images on social media of halibut bycatch headed for the grinder at Kodiak’s Trident Seafoods processing plant. The post got a lot of attention online and sparked criticism of Trident, the Gulf of Alaska trawl fleet and a body that regulates the commercial fishing industry. Trident is the largest primary processor of seafood in the United States and is heavily invested in Alaska. “We’re a company built by fishermen for fishermen and we don’t just buy pollock or cod or crab or salmon or halibut, we buy everything that we can sustainably harvest and feed the world with. Halibut is a very important part of our business,” said Lumsden. Longtime fisherman Erik Velsko says if Trident really cares about halibut and sustainability some things need to change. >click to read<18:59

Halibut trash

Only in Alaska, which likes to claim title to the world’s “best-managed fisheries,” would halibut now retailing at prices in excess of $20 per pound be ground into fish meal to feed animals, shrimp and maybe even farmed salmon – the bane of Alaska commercial fishermen. Photos of halibut and other, trawl-caught bottomfish headed for the grinder emerged from Kodiak this weekend as Alaska fishermen started into a fishing season where the targeted harvest of halibut by both commercial fishermen and anglers has been seriously restricted because of conservation concerns. >click to read<18:20

Lawsuit seeks to protect whales, turtles from California gillnets

Oceana filed a lawsuit seeking to force U.S. fisheries managers to implement plans for restricting the number of whales and turtles permitted to be inadvertently snared in drift gillnets used for catching swordfish off California’s coast. The proposed rule, endorsed in 2015 by the Pacific Fishery Management Council, would place numerical limits on “bycatch” of whales and other marine creatures, and suspend swordfish gillnet operations if any of the caps are exceeded.  The regulation was expected to gain final approval from the National Marine Fisheries Service. But it was withdrawn last month after the Commerce Department agency determined the cost to the commercial fishing industry outweighed conservation benefits, agency spokesman Michael Milstein said on Thursday. click here to read the story 17:11 Geoff Shester, a senior scientist at Oceana, who was “furious” when he found out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had decided to against adopting the rule. (lmao!) click here to read 17:13

Opinion: State, council fail to help Kodiak trawl fisheries

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has a record for successful fishery management, built on principles known as the Alaska Model. Recently, the council abandoned the Alaska Model and its solid reputation for progressive fishery management. In doing so, the council failed the Gulf of Alaska trawl groundfish fisheries and our community of Kodiak. Led by the state of Alaska, the council voted at its December meeting in Anchorage to “postpone indefinitely” any further work to address the goal of bycatch reduction through a cooperative management program for Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries. Instead, the Council ended a four-year public process to develop a program to achieve this goal. By their action, the state and the council put politics first, and the health of our fisheries and coastal communities came in dead last. Read the op-ed here 17:46

Gulf of Carpentaria trawl operators on track to cut bycatch by one third with new prawn net devices

7669612-3x2-700x467Trawler operators in the Gulf of Carpentaria believe they’re on track to achieving an ambitious target of cutting bycatch by 30 per cent in three years. The northern prawn fishery’s been offering cash incentives to promote and develop new ideas for limiting the amount of non-target species caught in prawn nets. Trawler skipper Jamie Ball admitted he was worried at first about potential prawn losses when trialling a new bycatch reduction device on board his fishing vessel, Xanadu. But after measuring and comparing catches in separate nets over a two-week period, the skipper and his crew were convinced the industry was on a winner. “I was a bit hesitant ’cause I thought ‘oh well is it losing prawn as well?” Read the story here 13:34

Their proposal would hurt North Carolinians – Jerry Schill, President, North Carolina Fisheries Association

ncfa 3 finishedIn response to a letter to the editor, “Thoughts on marine fisheries,” Wednesday, March 16, I offer the following comments. It should be noted that the Kinston authors sent the letter to several media outlets. On the subject of shrimp trawling, the writers fail to acknowledge the many studies done by researchers over the years that have documented bycatch associated with this fishery and that despite decades of trawling, overall benthic productivity is dramatically increased. They also ignore the efforts by commercial fishermen to work proactively to reduce bycatch. Those studies began in the late 1980s and resulted with bycatch reduction devices in shrimp trawls. Currently, even though North Carolina is ahead of federal requirements to reduce bycatch, there is cooperative research ongoing to reduce it even further. Read the rest here 10:11

Australia: Calls for a long-term strategy to protect threatened marine species from commercial fishing

There are calls for the Federal Government to develop a long-term strategy to protect threatened marine species from commercial fishing. Every year thousands of protected species are killed as bycatch.  The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) publishes a quarterly report detailing how many protected species have been killed in Commonwealth waters. The Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Tooni Mahto said the numbers were unacceptable. (but they never are, eh Tooni?)  Meanwhile, In the Small Pelagic Fishery,,, Read the rest here 20:07

Your Definition of Bycatch is Most Likely Incorrect

So why is this important? One reason it’s important is because when the world’s largest ocean conservation organization does not understand what bycatch even is, then we have a very big problem. When ocean conservation organizations do not understand what bycatch is, it can lead to scientifically flawed statistics published in reports such as “Wasted Catch” which only amplify the confusion by spreading misinformation about responsible U.S. fisheries to the mass general public. Read the rest here 16:59

Alaska flatfish catchers take hit after NPFMC bycatch vote

“We are not happy. This is a huge, huge cut,” Chris Woodley, executive director of the Groundfish Forum in Seattle, Wash. “We have already taken a 20 percent cut in the last seven years and now this is a 25 percent reduction.” The Groundfish Forum estimates USD 30 million (EUR 26.6 million) to USD 50 million (EUR 44.3 million) in losses to catchers-processors of Pacific cod, sole, Atka mackerel and other flatfish because of the reduction. Read the rest here 21:24

Guest Opinion: State needs to push for halibut protection – by John L. Beath

pacific_halibutThe Pacific halibut may be an icon of our region, but over the past 10 years in the Bering Sea, it’s become increasingly obvious that we aren’t doing as good a job of protecting them as we should. A total of 62.6 million pounds of halibut were caught as bycatch, harvested unintentionally and thrown overboard dead. To compare, the hook-and-line fishermen targeting halibut only caught 69.7 million pounds in the same area over the same period of time.  Read the rest here 10:52

David Bayes: Major bycatch reduction essential to halibut fishery

In recent seasons, halibut users across the state have been tightening their belts. Biologists tell us that, though the total number of halibut in Alaska’s waters is at a very sustainable rate, those halibut are now growing more slowly than usual. Since halibut are regulated based upon the “total number of pounds in the sea,”  rather than “total number of fish in the sea,” the longline and charter fleets are facing allocation cutbacks. Read the rest here 16:27

Canada-U.S. delegates meet in B.C. to discuss halibut ‘wastage’ in Bering Sea

You might say it’s a story about the fish that didn’t get away. Fishermen in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska are tossing back millions of kilograms of dead halibut they’ve caught unintentionally while scooping up other stocks. The longtime practice, known as bycatch, has become the focus of intense scrutiny in Alaska and will be the subject of debate at a meeting at month’s end of the International Pacific Halibut Commission in Vancouver. Read the rest here 11:13

Pitted against the hook-and-line halibut fleet are 16 Bering Sea trawlers – Conflict threatens to close Bering Sea halibut fishery

Those likely to suffer include fishing crews from Alaska to Oregon and vessel owners who invested in the halibut haul after it was privatized in 1995 in a failed bid to stabilize the fish stock. Perhaps more severely threatened are Aleut villages of western Alaska that rely on halibut for both cash and sustenance. The trouble stems from more than a decade of declines in halibut stocks targeted by fishing vessels that use long lines of baited hooks to reel in the popular fish. Read the rest here 17:33

My Turn: It’s time for trawlers to pay their fair share – Pete Wedin, F/V Julia Lynn, Homer, AK

Blue NPFMC SidebarIn short, in 2012, after 20 years of unchanged halibut bycatch limits for the Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council took action to reduce the halibut bycatch limit by 15 percent, to be phased in over three years.,,, At the end of the day, despite the council’s best efforts, thousands of kings and millions of pounds of halibut continue to be taken from the . This is wasted resource. Read the rest here 09:03

Pound Net Watermen Prepare for Menhaden Bycatch Limits

Today, a Maryland waterman with a pound net can catch as many menhaden as he or she would like,  on Friday, that gets cut back to 6,000 pounds a day to protect the species from overfishing, Video, and Read more here 12:26

Joe Macinko spanks Eric Olson: Fishery council chair’s response to bycatch criticism snagged bottom

The outgoing chairman of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, Eric Olson, has responded to my commentary “Canada’s trawlers drastically cut bycatch, why can’t Alaska’s?” In his response, he says I have ignored all the good work done by the council in the way of bycatch reduction. Rather than refute my claims, several of the statements, misdirections and omissions he makes serve to illustrate my points. Read it here 14:46

Canada’s trawlers drastically cut bycatch, why can’t Alaska’s?

Sometimes there’s big money to be made prolonging a problem. One short sentence sums up nearly 20 years of work by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council on trawl bycatch. During the February 1997 meeting of the NPFMC a representative from the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans gave a presentation on how that country reduced trawl bycatch while catching ALL of its trawl quota. Read more here 18:00

Letter From the Editor: ‘Our Fish’

I picked an inopportune moment to ask the top guy for the U.S fisheries industry for a little education on his business. He was among 350-400 participants from 80 nations around the world who were attending Secretary of State John Kerry’s “Our Ocean” Conference in Washington, D.C., last week. Read more here  10:50

Oceana’s Bycatch Report and Media Coverage Ignores Key Successes in U.S. Fisheries

logoEnvironmental special interest group Oceana made headlines last March with its bycatch report, “Wasted Catch: Unsolved Problems in U.S. Fisheries.” Since the report’s release, mainstream media publications and other environmental organizations, like the Pew Charitable Trusts, have further presented one-sided coverage of issues regarding bycatch in the United States — often providing little or no information about the significant and successful efforts taken by many commercial fisheries to curb unintended catch. These omissions of facts are misleading, ultimately providing the public a skewed perspective on U.S. fisheries management. Read more here  14:53

Bycatch symposium underway

The most common bycatch topics in Alaska — salmon caught by the Bering Sea boats targeting pollock, and halibut caught by Alaska trawlers — were on the table at a fisheries symposium today. Scientists, industry representatives and others interested in fisheries science, management and policy are discussing everything bycatch at the Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium, which runs through Thursday at the Hilton Hotel in Downtown Anchorage. Read more here  17:52