Friday, October 4, 2013

GOA Chinook Under Heavy Bycatch Pressure By Trawlers

Just when it looked like draggers like the Golden Fleece were cleaning up their act, an examination of the Vessel Specific Bycatch figures by NMFS shows outrageous Chinook bycatch:
Keep yer flippers wet.

Bycatch High Marking for Halibut: Dirty Dozen

Here are the top halibut destroyers for the Gulf as of September 21st.  There must be a new regime in the dragger processors, as only the Vaerdal continues with its 'death by a thousand cuts' hammering halibut for the low value-high volume rex sole.  The Golden Fleece used to be as bad or worse but has apparently changed its behavior.

First the Dirty Dozen:
Note:  Even with a change of operators, the Peggy Jo continues her history as a particularly dirty dragger.
Now for the low value-high volume dirty chronic, the Vaerdal:
Consider the number of tows and the volume taken, these apparently low percentages represent huge numbers of halibut as bycatch.
The real story here is the shockingly low percentage of observed tows draggers are subject to in the course of their pursuing their target species.  Probably not all of them are doing so badly, but those dirtiest are being screened by the purposeful ill-design of the observer program by NMFS.  Until that changes, consider the Gulf of Alaska fish stocks to be under threat.

Keep yer flippers wet.