Those "ping pong paddle" size halibut are soon to be commercially viable. They have survived to a size where they are subject to little natural predation. The draggers are their biggest predator.
As Wiglaf points out, the idiot from the rebadged AK draggers Assoc is confessing that their bycatch, measured in tons, is actually many times worse.
What is the value of all those halibut, salmon, crab and don't forget all the wasted small cod and pollock to all fishermen, processing workers and everyone who depends on local landing tax revenue?
Back in '97 the Canucks showed the NPFMC how to drastically reduce bycatch AND catch all your trawl allowable catches. The NPFMC wasn't and isn't interested.