National Fisherman


Incidental harvest of thousands of Chinook salmon in Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries is an issue that just won't go away, simmering before federal fisheries managers as debate continues over whether a catch share program would solve the problem.

Final action on Gulf of Alaska king salmon bycatch in non-pollock trawl fisheries is scheduled for the June 3-11 meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council at Juneau, as well as the initial review of discussion papers on Gulf trawl bycatch management and Gulf trawl data collection. The federal council also is working on a Gulf trawl catch share program.

Some area fishermen want full observer coverage of all trawl vessels in the Gulf of Alaska, as well as full retention of all fish caught incidentally. As a result, millions of pounds of fish caught incidentally to the directed harvest would be processed for food, rather than thrown back dead into the ocean, they contend.

The 25,000 cap on Chinook salmon bycatch in the Gulf pollock fishery approved by the council went into effect in August 2012, but the Alaska Marine Conservation Council noted that other trawl fisheries in the Gulf also caught king salmon as bycatch while targeting flatfish, cod and rockfish. In 2010, these other Gulf trawl fisheries caught nearly 10,000 Chinook salmon as bycatch, AMCC said.

At COMFISH Alaska 2013 on April 11 at Kodiak, panelists discussed the prospect of a catch share program underway for Gulf groundfish trawlers and pot cod boats.

Read the full story at Alaska Dispatch>>

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

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