Staff of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council have been directed by council action to prepare a discussion paper on the current Gulf of Alaska trawl bycatch management program. The objective is to improve incentives for prohibited species catch reduction and prohibited species catch management.
The council heard extensive testimony related to industry efforts to reduce bycatch and also from the Kodiak Island Borough, the city of Kodiak, the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and the Gulf of Alaska Coastal Communities Coalition.
City and borough officials noted that they had reviewed the eight public proposals for comprehensive management of bycatch in the Gulf groundfish trawl fisheries published on the NPFMC website. The five proposals dealing specifically with the inshore trawl fisheries in the Central Gulf surrounding Kodiak provide a good, broad mix of goals, objectives, elements, options, and concepts with which to begin the design of an effective bycatch management program, borough and city officials said.
Officials with the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and Gulf of Alaska Coastal Communities Coalition meanwhile presented a proposal with a concept in which fishing communities are at the center of the catch share program and 100 percent of the catcher vessel quota is allocated to a community fishing association. “Allocating 100 percent of the quota to a community fishing association composed of fishermen, processors, city governments, and community members is the critical starting point for this proposal,” they said.