ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A series of deep cuts to the halibut bycatch allocation for the Bering Sea groundfish bottom-trawl fleet will be considered by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council this week, and the decision to recuse two members of the board could have an effect on the outcome.

The 11-member council will convene in Sitka Wednesday, reports the Alaska Journal of Commerce ( ). It will weigh cuts of up to 50 percent of the current bycatch allocation of 7.8 million pounds for the Amendment 80 fleet, a group of 18 trawlers that harvest flatfish.

The board's final vote might not include the voices of two of its six Alaska representatives, however. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recommended that David Long and Simon Kinneen be recused because of their jobs in the fishing industry.

Those members want the recusals reversed and say there is no direct impact on their work.

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