National Fisherman

Gulf of Alaska rationalization is a step closer after the North Pacific Fishery Management Council's Oct. 5 action in Anchorage.

The council asked staff to analyze a general structure for rationalizing Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries in an effort to manage bycatch.

The council also took action to collect certain economic data from harvesters and processors in the Gulf of Alaska trawl sector. That effort could inform the council and the public on how a rationalization program will affect communities, fishermen and others involved in the fishery if such a program is implemented.

Such a rule will collect certain data about employment and fishery costs from harvesters and processors that are involved in trawl groundfish fisheries in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska. It also extends the already existing data collection efforts for the fleet, so that they apply to all, rather than just some, vessels.

The new information to be collected includes fuel cost and use, gear purchases, crew compensation, processing crewman hours and payments, and other information.

Eventually, that information could serve as a baseline for fishery economic conditions prior to a new management structure being implemented.

Council member Bill Tweit, who made the motion for action, said he it would be the first time the council set out to collect baseline data before a new management program was implemented. It marked a new step, and he hoped "that it sets a model for the future," he said.

Read the full story at the Alaska Journal of Commerce>>

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