Alaska fishermen join catch-sharing discussion

Come February, a federal fisheries council will continue to discuss catch-sharing programs in Alaska trawl fisheries — this time with a bigger voice from Southwest fishermen.

This winter the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC) has heard from concerned parties in the state’s Southcentral ground fisheries, regarding a change over to catch sharing.

The Council took action in October, said NPFMC member Dan Hull, identifying the purpose and need for a Central Gulf catch share plan. Community members from Kodiak in particular were organized and vocal in their goals and ideas for such a plan, he said.

“The focus on the action was limited to the Central Gulf trawl fishery because it’s the sector with the greatest issues to address in terms of bycatch,” Hull said.

Fishermen hope that new fishery management will help them to work effectively with bycatch limits, hard caps that can sometimes bring fishing to a halt under the current system.

While a few Western Gulf fishermen spoke at the December meeting, Hull noted that they, in general, have been less organized and less interested when it came to rationalization than those on the south central coast.

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