Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bycatch Limits Announced for Salmon Troll Fishery (Revised)

The following story has been edited to better reflect the regulations and include information that was omitted from a previous version of the story.

By Margaret Bauman

Groundfish bycatch limits for the commercial salmon troll fishery in state waters of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska were announced Jan. 3 by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Commercial salmon trollers operating hand or power troll gear during an open commercial salmon fishing period in the area may legally retain, posses and sell incidentally taken groundfish in unlimited amounts, except where it is necessary to manage groundfish bycatch harvest within total catch limits, state biologists said.

The bycatch allowances for each species or species group reflects the percentage that may be retained and sold and is based on the round weight of salmon on board.

For lingcod, the bycatch allowance is 70 percent in the Icy Bay Subdistrict, Central Southeast Outside Section, Northern Southeast Inside Subdistrict and Southern Southeast Internal Waters Sector.

Other bycatch allotments for lingcod are 40 percent in the East Yakutat Section, 30 percent for Southern Southeast Outer Coast Sector, and 5 percent for the Northern Southeast Outside Section.
The retention of lingcod bycatch in the commercial salmon troll fisher is open May 16 through Nov. 30, or until area specific lingcod bycatch allocations are harvested.

For the Demersal Shelf Rockfish, the bycatch allowance is 10 percent, and for spiny dogfish, 35 percent. For sablefish, the bycatch allowance is 0%.

There is no limit on incidental harvest of other rockfish and other groundfish taken in state waters.

Lingcod and black, blue and dark rockfish are state managed species and the bycatch allowances for these species in federal water, the exclusive economic zone, are the same as those set for state waters.
Vessels trolling for salmon in the EEZ in the Gulf of Alaska that retain groundfish bycatch must have a federal fisheries permit endorsed for troll gear.

An federal fisheries permit is not required for vessels retaining groundfish bycatch in state waters or for lingcod or black, blue or dark rockfish taken in the EEZ, as these species are exempt from federal permit requirements, state biologists said.

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