The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is holding its June meeting in Kodiak, where it will be once again be reviewing the Gulf of Alaska Trawl Bycatch Management Program. The long-term health of Gulf communities depends on a management plan that protects the role of independent, community-based fishermen, and the health of all Gulf fisheries. AMCC believes the Gulf Trawl Bycatch Management Program should allow for viable entry opportunities, community protections, and meaningful reductions to bycatch. Additional information about the program is available through the Council’s agenda.
If you wish to comment on the management plan, the deadline for written comments is 5:00 pm (AST) on Tuesday, May 31. Comments should be emailed to email@example.com.
Read on for full details…
Recognizing the importance of minimizing Chinook and halibut bycatch, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has recently taken action to set or lower limits on bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska. At the same time, the Council has also taken the position that the current management structure does not provide the trawl fleet with the tools necessary to meet existing bycatch reductions, or further reduce bycatch beyond current levels.
As a result, the Council has been looking at implementing a new management program for the Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries. In addition to the status quo, the Council is currently considering three options (alternatives):
- Alternative 2 is a traditional catch share program that would allocate pollock and cod as target species, and halibut and Chinook as bycatch to harvester-processor cooperatives, based on the qualifying catch history of the trawl members’ LLP licenses. Allocated fishing privileges would be transferable, somewhat similar to the halibut IFQ fishery.
- Alternative 3 would annually allocate halibut and Chinook bycatch to harvester-processor cooperatives, based on equal shares, some measure of dependency and engagement in the fishery, or some combination of the two. This bycatch quota could be traded within a cooperative, but is not transferable without also selling the vessel or license.
- Alternative 4 would allocate a specified percentage of quota to a Community Fishing Association (CFA). Quota allocated to the community is then used to address community goals of keeping a local fleet, providing a viable point of entry for new entrants, equitable crew compensation, and vessel/owner residency.
The Council Needs to Hear From You
During the June meeting in Kodiak, the Council will be looking for community input on the Gulf Trawl Bycatch Management Program. Hearing from community members about what they would like to see in the new program will go a long way in ensuring that community protections, bycatch reductions, and future access measures are included in the final action.
Written Comment: If you wish to comment, the deadline for written comments is 5:00 pm (AST) on Tuesday, May 31. Comments should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Testimony: There will be two opportunities to testify at the June Council meeting:
- The Advisory Panel will begin hearing the GOA Trawl Bycatch Management Program agenda item on the afternoon of Thursday, June 9th. The Advisory Panel will be meeting in the Elks Lodge.
- The Council will begin hearing the same issue on the morning of Saturday, June 11. The Council will be meeting in the Pavilion Room of the Convention Center.
If you’d like more information on submitting written comments or offering public testimony, contact Shannon Carroll, at email@example.com.