Federal judge to rule on reduction in trawler halibut bycatch 

A U.S. District court judge is expected to issue a decision this spring on a lawsuit filed by the Groundfish Forum challenging a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) decision setting abundance-based limits on halibut bycatch in the Amendment 80 Bering Sea trawl fishery. The Groundfish Forum, based in Seattle, filed its complaint with the U.S. District Court in Anchorage on Dec. 19, challenging the new halibut bycatch rules that were first adopted by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and subsequently approved by NMFS. On Feb. 29, the Halibut Defense Alliance intervened on the side of NMFS over concerns about the number of halibut taken as bycatch by Amendment 80 vessels in the Bering Sea, saying the limits on halibut bycatch would ensure more equitable access to halibut fisheries.  The alliance is a broad coalition of commercial harvesters, charter operators, processors and community organizations representing halibut-dependent communities in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. more, >>click to read<< 19:52

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