GOA Trawl Bycatch Management

Pacific halibut and Chinook salmon are taken as prohibited species catch (PSC) in the GOA groundfish trawl fisheries. In June 2012, the Council initiated the process of developing a program to provide the groundfish trawl fleet with tools for effective management of PSC, including incentives for minimization of bycatch, and vessel level accountability. (Related:  Reducing Bycatch in Alaska flyer.)

In October 2012, the Council defined a Purpose & Need statement, as well as 14 goals and objectives for the program. The Purpose & Need statement was revised in February 2013 to include all regulatory areas of the GOA where groundfish trawl fishing occurs. The purpose of the proposed action is to improve stock conservation through vessel-level and/or cooperative-level incentives to eliminate wasteful fishing practices, provide mechanisms to control and reduce bycatch, and create accountability measures when utilizing PSC, target, and secondary species. It will also have the added benefit of reducing the incentive to fish during unsafe conditions and improving operational efficiencies.

The Council recognizes that GOA harvesters, processors, and communities all have a stake in the groundfish trawl fisheries. The program is expected to support the continued direct and indirect participation of the coastal communities that are dependent upon those fisheries.

In June 2013, the Council received proposals on design elements of a bycatch management program from eight stakeholder groups. In October 2013, the Council forwarded a framework of one potential program structure for preliminary analysis, and received a discussion paper on that framework in April 2014. In February 2014, the Council convened a workshop on the development of community protection measures in groundfish catch share programs in other U.S. regions. (2/14 workshop summary.)

Documents and Council Motions

2012