Alaskans join forces to protect Pacific halibut from trawl bycatch

12 AK fishing groups + the City of St. Paul take on Seattle's big Bering Sea trawlers to protect Pacific halibut.

by | February 12, 2024

Filed Under Bycatch

From Sitka, Petersburg, Homer to St. Paul: lawsuit takes aim at bottom trawl bycatch

Twelve Alaska fishing groups and the City of St. Paul have joined in a lawsuit to take on the Seattle-based bottom trawl fleet that wants to overturn a new rule that lowers their halibut bycatch take in the Bering Sea.

Some background

The 19 Seattle-based bottom trawlers that comprise the so-called Amendment 80 fleet filed a lawsuit in December 2023 against a new regulation that makes them play by the same rules as all other Alaska halibut users. The new regulation was implemented at the start of the annual trawl fishery opener on January 20, 2024.

In short, instead of a fixed cap allowing the bottom trawlers to take and discard roughly 4 million pounds of Bering Sea halibut bycatch each year, the poundage now fluctuates based on the ups and downs of the halibut resource.

That’s the same rule that Alaska subsistence, commercial and sport users must follow — Oh! and the trawl halibut bycatch poundage comes off the top of all those yearly catches!

Credit to Deckboss/Wesley Loy for being the first to break the news about Alaskans fighting back.

Here’s the LINK

Photo by International Pacific Halibut Commission

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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