NOAA sources (http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/2011/pscinfo.htm) show that the GOA non-pelagic draggers are continuing to damage halibut stocks at unacceptable levels. The Chellissa, bottom dragging for pollock, is thus far the worst offender, killing 31 % of her total pollock poundage in halibut. Fishing this dirty is criminal behavior. The fact so few of these drags are observed more than likely means this wastage of the halibut resource is only the tip of the iceberg.
Arrowtooth is a worthless fish, "This is the nastiest fish I have ever tasted!" (http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/alaska-flatfish-pudding-now-wal-mart-near-you), for which the highest price fish in the GOA is being wasted. Apparently draggers can make a dime off of it by delivering the bycatch of other species like cod, to support fishing arrowtooth.
The NPFMC will not consider halibut bycatch at their June meeting in Nome, but have moved to consider alternatives to push back halibut bycatch by 5, 10, or 15%. http://alaskafisheries.noaa.
gov/npfmc/current_issues/ halibut_issues/ halibutPSCmotion411.pdf Obviously these proposed reductions to halibut bycatch are far too small to have any real effect on the decline of halibut and the criminal waste of this high value resource.
- Chellissa dragging pollock took 31% halibut in 6 observed tows
- Pacific Star dragging arrowtooth took 17% halibut in 9 observed tows
- Cape Kiwanda dragging cod took 16% halibut in 3 observed tows
- American No 1 dragging arrowtooth took 15% halibut in 5 observed tows
- Caravelle dragging arrowtooth took 13% halibut in 7 observed tows
- Ocean Alaska dragging arrowtooth took 11% halibut in 7 observed tows
- Michelle Rene dragging cod took 10% halibut in 16 observed tows
- Miss Sarah dragging cod took 9% halibut in 3 observed tows
- Sea Mac dragging cod took 9% halibut in 13 observed tows
- Vaerdal dragging rex sole took 8% halibut in 18 observed tows
- Ocean Alaska dragging arrowtooth took 8% halibut in 11 observed tows
- Peggy Jo dragging cod took 8% halibut in 15 observed tows
Keep yer flippers wet.