Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bycatch Limits Coming for Bering Sea Pollock Fishery

Over the last three to four years, populations of Chinook salmon in many Western Alaska rivers have seen poor returns. Of particular concern is the Chinook run on the Yukon where successive years of dismal chinook runs have led the federal government to declare a fisheries disaster to facilitate aid for Native Alaskan Villages which rely heavily on Chinook for subsistence. While a number of factors are thought to contribute to poor Chinook runs, bycatch of salmon in the Bering Sea Pollock fishery has been rising and has become a contentious issue.

Bycatch peaked in 2007 when more than 120,000 Chinook were caught in the Pollock fishery, prompting calls for regulations to limit the catch of the valuable salmon. Bycatch has subsequently declined, however with populations of Chinook in the region seeing low returns maintaining low bycatch is important. Beginning in 2011 NOAA will implement a bycatch limit, employ observers on every boat in the Pollock fishery and provide incentives for fisherman not to catch Chinook. More information in an article in Business Week.

Info on NOAAs website:

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