Pacific Halibut Bycatch Management in Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Trawl Fisheries
Jane DiCosimo, Sam Cunningham, and Darrell Brannan
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Federal managers have revised management of Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) in Gulf of Alaska commercial groundfish fisheries to address concerns that PSC limits have not been reduced in line with a decline in halibut biomass. Changes to halibut PSC management for the groundfish trawl sector are being implemented in two steps.
First, the halibut PSC limit was reduced by 15% (1,706 t) over three years beginning in 2014. A retrospective analysis of that action estimated that annual first wholesale total gross revenue for the commercial halibut fisheries is expected to increase about $2 million as a result of halibut PSC being reapportioned as target catch in the halibut hook-and-line gear fishery. Commercial groundfish trawl fisheries are estimated to experience losses of approximately $9 million annually by 2016, in the absence of any changes in fishing behavior or management system. Sixty-two percent of the negative impacts are expected to occur in the Central Gulf of Alaska and 38% in the Western Gulf of Alaska.
Second, share-based cooperative models or other approaches to be defined are being considered to provide incentives for PSC reduction in groundfish trawl fisheries in three Gulf of Alaska groundfish regula¬tory areas. Fishing cooperatives are expected to allow the trawl sector to achieve increased target groundfish fishery harvests under reduced halibut PSC limits. Policy discussions of the potential effects of share-based cooperatives on the commercial trawl sector and dependent coastal communities are ongoing.
- Item number: AK-SG-15-01h
- Year: 2015
- Pages: 19
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.4027/fbgics.2015.08