The summer season is upon us and for many Alaskans this means fishing for one of the state’s most prized species — halibut.

During the first week in June, federal fishery managers have an important opportunity to take a stand for those of us in Alaska that value and depend on the halibut resource. At their meeting in Sitka, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council will vote on measures to reduce the amount of halibut that can be wasted as bycatch in other fisheries.  

Alaska’s high-value halibut resource has long been divided among commercial, sport and subsistence fishermen throughout Alaska and down the Pacific coast in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. Nonetheless, a significant amount of halibut is also taken and discarded overboard as bycatch by fleets fishing for groundfish species like flounders, sole and cod.

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Jessica Hathaway is the former editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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