Ship's Blog - Fishermen's Finest

Editors View: Wrestling with Bycatch Means New Thinking Needed

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Editors View] by John Sackton 

Bycatch is becoming a huge issue in Alaska fisheries, even as the industry makes incredible advances in reducing bycatch of all kinds.

Maybe it is time to rethink bycatch.

Our present system - established in laws and regulations, is that bycatch is wrong.  Non-target species, and the wrong sizes of fish, should not be caught, and in an ideal world their numbers would be reduced to zero.

So part of the National Standards, under Magnuson Stevens, is to reduce bycatch whenever possible.

In Alaska, many of the rules about bycatch are written into laws.  For example, with halibut, it is illegal for anyone with gear other than longline to possess halibut.

There is a great deal of attention paid to prohibited species bycatch, whether it is chinook salmon in pollock trawls, halibut in flatfish trawls, rockfish of the wrong species, or even non-target species such as the short tailed albatross, where a single bird killed by longline can shut down a fishery.

I would argue that the industry as a whole has about reached the limits of bycatch reduction through gear improvements, changes in fishing strategy and season, cooperative allocations, and individual vessel responsibility.  

We believe safety isn't an accident - you have to work proactively to maintain a safe workplace and to train a safe workforce.  That is why we encourage our crew to better themselves by attending safety courses offered through organazations such as

Not only do we encourage our crew, we step up to the plate and pay for our crew to attend.  Further, a more trained crewmember will move up in the pay scale aboard the vessels.  It's a win-win-win.

Listed below are just a few of the safety training opportunities that are out there:

FFinest crew, see Renee Brem in Human Resources to take advantage of furthering your career and maintaining your safety preparedness.

Fishermen's Finest ~ a team of excellence ~ our name says it all. 

Hydra Pro Dutch Harbor weighs in on the Amendment 80 Halibut Bycatch issue before the North Pacific Fishery Managment Council (June/Sitke)

26:1 ratio Amendment 80:Directed Halibut fishery - please read more and educate yourself before jumping to emotional conclusions regarding Halibut Bycatch:

Fishermen's Finest ~ a team of excellence ~ our name says it all.

‘The overall biomass of Halibut in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska is fairly constant… it [halibut bycatch] is not a conservation issue, it’s a domestic allocation issue’
Chris Oliver, NPFMC 

Click below to watch the entire video,

Sponsored by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Association <-- Click here.

This is a very important issue to us in the Amendment 80 fleet; please take the time to read before jumping to emotional conclusions regarding bycatch.

For an in depth look at the issue (Agenda item C-2 @ 223rd Plenary NPFMC June/Sitka), read our Ship's bLog:

   NPFMC C-2 Halibut <-- Click here.

Fishermen's Finest ~ a team of excellence ~ our name says it all. 

Visit: www.BycatchFacts.Org for more information 

Halibut bycatch in the waters off Alaska is a contentious issue that has recently come under increased scrutiny. As new solutions are considered – some with far-reaching consequences – it’s important that the complexities of the issue are understood.

First, what is bycatch? Bycatch is fish that are caught but not kept on board a fishing vessel. Although fishermen try to avoid it, every fishery has bycatch. In some cases it’s fish that are too small or aren’t marketable. In others, it’s fish that are illegal to keep. In the Bering Sea halibut intermingle with other desired fish such as Pacific cod and flatfish, making it impossible to completely avoid halibut when catching these species. All halibut unintentionally caught by the groundfish fishery must be thrown back by law.

Two North Pacific Council Members Must Recuse Themselves on Halibut Bycatch Vote

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  By Peggy Parker and John Sackton  May 13, 2015

Two of the eleven voting members on the council were notified yesterday that they will need to recuse themselves, due to financial conflict of interest, on the halibut bycatch vote slated for the first week in June.

Siimon Kineen, Vice President & Quota & Acquisitions Manager for the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC) and David Long, Captain and Fish Master for Glacier Fish Company, will be able to participate in all aspects of the Council’s deliberations relating to halibut bycatch, but must recuse themselves from voting. Both have the option to state for the record how they would have voted.