Bycatch Task Force Update

January 21, 2022

By Laine Welch

 

The 13-member bycatch task force created by Gov. Dunleavy in November will hold its first two-hour online meeting on Friday, January 28 starting at 9am. An agenda and link for the public to either view or participate will be made available soon.

 

The task force includes a mix of state officials, fishery managers, commercial and sport fishermen and others. Their mission through November 30 is to “Study what impacts bycatch has on Alaska fisheries” and “make valuable recommendations to help better understand and address the issues of bycatch.”

 

“The first meeting will be to determine future meeting dates and introduce ourselves to each other. I’m not sure we’ll discuss any substantive issues,” said a task force member. Meanwhile …

 

Discards ok’d – The “pre-approved” 2022 bycatch numbers for the Bering Sea trawl fleet set by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council are as follows: 

 

  • - Chinook Salmon bycatch: 45,700 fish (there is no hard cap for chums or other salmon)
  • - Halibut bycatch: 5.48 million pounds (For the Gulf of Alaska: 3.76 million pounds)
  • - Herring bycatch: 6 million pounds
  • - Snow Crab (opilio): 5.99 million individuals (equal to 7.8 million pounds; the catch for crabbers is 5.6 million pounds)
  • - Tanner Crab (bairdi): 3.07 million individuals (6,140,000 pounds; crabbers can take 1 million pounds)
  • - Red King Crab: 80,160 individuals (520,000 pounds; the fishery is closed to crabbers for the first time in 25 years)
  • - There is no bycatch cap for sablefish (black cod) in the Bering Sea or Gulf; the Gulf also does not have any bycatch caps for any species of crab.

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