Stakeholders ponder Gulf of Alaska rationalization

SEATTLE — Fisheries stakeholders gathered Feb. 10 to talk about community protections in the pending Gulf of Alaska rationalization program.
 
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has asked for a discussion paper on how to provide bycatch management tools for the Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries, in particular through a rationalization program that ends the race for fish by allocating harvest privileges among user groups.
 
In October, the council asked staff to analyze a general structure for rationalizing Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries as a means to minimize bycatch.
 
A program could allocate pollock and Pacific cod to cooperatives in the western Gulf, central Gulf and west Yakutat based on members’ catch history. The prohibited species catch, or PSC, of species such as chinook salmon and halibut would be apportioned out to cooperatives on a pro rata basis.
 
Fishery participants could also have the option of operating in a limited access pool. A portion of the target species allocation could be based on performance standards that emphasize low bycatch rates.
 
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