Thursday, September 22, 2011

NPFMC Should Protect Halibut Stock by Rolling Back Trawler PSC

---  by Andrew Jensen, Alaska Journal of Commerce

"Both commercial and charter sectors have pointed to bycatch of halibut in the Gulf by trawlers as a contributing factor to declines in exploitable biomass.

"Unlike the regulatory process over years to craft and then draft the halibut CSP, the action can take effect as soon as 2012 as part of the regular quota process for groundfish if the council chooses to reduce halibut bycatch in the Gulf.

"The trawl sector, between the deepwater and shallow water fisheries, may take up to 2,000 metric tons, or 4.4 million pounds, of halibut as it prosecutes the Pacific cod, pollock, rockfish, arrowtooth flounder, rex sole and other groundfish fisheries.

"The hook-and-line sector is allowed to take up to 300 metric tons, or 661,000 pounds, of halibut each year. When the caps are reached for a sector or for a season, the fishery is closed. Under current management, the hook-and-line fishery has been closed because of reaching its halibut cap just once since 2004; various trawl fisheries have been closed under status quo for every year between 2000 and 2011.

"The council is contemplating options for 5 percent, 10 percent or 15 percent reductions in the amount of halibut allocated to trawlers and longliners in the Gulf.

"Retrospective analysis of the trawl and longline fisheries under the proposed reductions in halibut allocation show potential foregone first wholesale revenue averaging anywhere from $2.32 million to $9.9 million per year.

"Analysis from biologists with the International Pacific Halibut Commission, which sets the harvest quotas for the U.S. and Canadian coasts, suggest that reduced halibut mortality from Gulf bycatch would add yield to the commercial sector on more than a pound-for-pound basis, and that female spawning biomass would benefit at more than twice the rate of any reduction in trawl bycatch.

"The IPHC analysis also stated that halibut migration was not built into the model, and therefore “downstream” effects on Southeast and Canada were likely underestimated in terms of both economic and biological benefits to the halibut sector."

Keep yer flippers wet.


Anonymous said...

I have a question: Is a 1 pound reduction in trawl bycatch really worth 2 pounds of female spawning bio-mass or is the bycatch underreported by at LEAST a factor of 2? Gotta love science.

Wiglaf said...

That questioned is answered in links posted at: and

A thorough review of the blog archives will answer most of your questions. KYFW.

Anonymous said...

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