National Fisherman

Fishing industry stakeholders and federal managers in June will begin crafting a bycatch reduction plan for trawl groundfish fisheries in the Gulf. It will include some form of catch share plan, and as the main delivery port for more than $100 million worth of pollock, cod, flats and other fishes, Kodiak is closely guarding any giveaways.

It's similar to a chess game, said Duncan Fields, a lifelong Kodiak fisherman and a member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council charged with designing the new plan.

"You have multiple moving pieces and every time you move a piece, it impacts all other pieces on the board," Fields explained at a recent panel discussion in Kodiak. "You have your queen and your king– those might be your primary policy goals – but if you can get that pawn to the other end of the board, that becomes a queen. Sometimes the little components of a catch share or rationalization program can become equally as important as the big parts."

"The big question is how you win, collectively, as a community, "he added. "That revolves around defining the goals and objectives early on. At the cusp of developing a program for the Gulf of Alaska, we have to appreciate the long term nature of the decisions we may make."

Fields said he believes mirroring catch share modes being used so far in Alaska (halibut, sablefish and Bering Sea crab fisheries "will not bring a good result to the Gulf."

Any new plan must be very inclusive, said Nicole Kimball, the State's federal fisheries advisor.

"We need to recognize the interests and investments and the dependence of all sectors, so there shouldn't just be a vessel based program or one just focused on processor interests or the community. It needs to be all three," Kimball said.

Read the full story at Stories in the News>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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