Begins outline of report to the governor
The Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force (ABRT) is ramping up its meeting schedule and outlining the beginnings of a report that’s due to Governor Dunleavy this fall.
The governor created the 15-member group last November. It also includes two non-voting members – Representative Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham and Senator Peter Micciche of Soldotna.
The stated goal of the ABRT is “to help better understand unintended bycatch of high value fishery resources in State and federal waters.”
Alaskans have been angry and frustrated by the federally required tossing of “prohibited” fish for decades, but it took last summer’s complete shutdown of the Yukon subsistence chum salmon fishery to finally prompt some action.
All fishing on the Yukon is again banned this year. Meanwhile, no restrictions have been placed on chum and Chinook salmon taken as bycatch by the trawl or other fishing fleets.
The task force is broken out into four committees and sub-committees focusing on 1) science, technology, and innovation; 2) Western Alaska salmon; 3) Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska crab, and 4) Gulf of Alaska halibut and salmon.
Several meetings are scheduled for next week. Find Zoom links below or at the bycatch task force page under Committees.
A public page at the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game’s home site includes the agendas, minutes and audio from all meetings.
The reference library also provides presentations by state and federal managers and industry reps.
The months of August and September will also be quite busy as committees begin to work on developing recommendations to forward to the full Task Force, said member Linda Kozak of Kodiak who chairs the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska crab committee.
There will be an in-person meeting of the Task Force on October 12th in Anchorage. More information on time and location will be available soon.
Kozak said “It is anticipated that final committee reports and recommendations will be presented, along with an opportunity for public comment regarding Task Force recommendations.”