ACTION ALERT: Comment to the Council on Halibut Management Framework and Abundance Based Management for Halibut Bycatch

The Council is scheduled to tackle these two halibut issues at their December meeting in Anchorage.  Comments were due by 5 pm December 1st

Let the Council know that more needs to be done to protect the halibut resource, fisheries, and communities.  Remind the Council that in June Council members stated their action on Bering Sea bycatch was  “just the first step.” 

Illustrate your concern with these facts:

a.    The current estimated halibut biomass represents the lowest biomass level since 1996 when Congress passed the Sustainable Fisheries Act.

b.     The current female spawning biomass is about half as large as it was during the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

c.     Over the past decade, bycatch mortality in the BSAI has increased to 60% of total removals while directed fishery landings have decreased to about 30% of removals.  Bycatch in 4CDE accounts for 87% of total mortality.

d.    At present, the IPHC can only reduce harvest in the directed fisheries to offset bycatch impacts—as a result bycatch receives priority over the directed fisheries. 

e.  The Bering Sea is the nursery ground for halibut that eventually migrate to all other areas.  Bering Sea bycatch hurts the halibut resource and all who depend on that resource.      

ASK the Council to make the halibut resource and directed halibut fisheries the PRIORITY and REDUCE BYCATCH.   Email comments to:

C9 Abundance-Based BSAI PSC Limits.pdf 

D2 Halibut Retention in Sablefish Pots - Discussion Paper

D4 Halibut/Sablefish IFQ Program Review - Review Outline