With the June meeting of the North Pacific Fisheries management Council scheduled for Kodiak, the drag fleet has been busy killing off the halibut. Foisting the argument that "we just can't do better on halibut bycatch" these trawlers continually hammer on the halibut stocks as they have, basically without controls for the past few decades. It is no wonder halibut in is decline.
The Sea Mac's nearly 40% tow of halibut while targeting cod was reported as a result of one observed tow, so he will argue that that was an unlucky exception. He had a total of seven observed tows, this one being particularly bad. Unless the new observer program fixes the gaming, Sea Mac's dirty dragging and others will continue to hammer the halibut.
In the first season, Sea Mac and the usual suspects exceeded the already liberal Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) by 9% or 39 metric tons (85,800 pounds). In the second season, they did even worse, with a 28% overage, or 85 metric tons (187,000 pounds). So the drag fleet is on its way to hitting the cap of 2000 metric tons of halibut this year...4,400,000 pounds of halibut wasted. "But we can't do better." This argument is like 'I can't drive unless I'm drunk.' It is bullshit. Besides the other cleaner gear types could easily harvest and employ more fishermen harvesting cod, where so much of the bycatch occurs. Just saying. But the NPFMC has given that away already with the sector split.
Press the NPFMC here in Kodiak at the June meeting for a tougher policy on halibut (and other) bycatch . At least 15%.
Keep yer flippers wet.