from the new IPHC annual report
Here are a couple of pages I found disappointing from the new IPHC report. Remember that "wastage" and "bycatch" are separate things. Sorry about the lousy image. 3A has the "most poorly understood estimates of bycatch of all regulatory areas" and wastage of U32 fish was never estimated prior to 2013.
some pretty staggering numbers there!
Did I read that right? Millions of pounds of wasted halibut????
Area 3 (3a and 3b)- bycatch was 2.3 million in 2013, down from 3.5 million in 2012
Originally Posted by kgpcr
Wastage was 1.4 million, down from 1.7, but it looks like that's all areas combined.
Yet the restriction on sportfishing and comm fish continues
Look at Area 4 (bottom of the second page). Halibut by-catch was 5.2 million pounds, down from 6.2 million. That's alot of halibut....
It would be interesting to see a length/frequency graph of the halibut by-catch. Is it 5 million pounds of juvenile halibut (less than a pound) or is it 5 million pounds of adults that are also marketable and desirable in recreational/commercial fisheries?
Once again, therein lies the conundrum of managing in a mixed stock fishery. If you exploit the very harvestable whiting or hake, you also kill an enormous amount of extremely valuable fish such as halibut and salmon. So even in the face of significant restrictions on commercial or recreational harvest, large amounts of by-catch are tolerated as collateral damage to support the whiting or hake fishery.
This trade-off is not new, is not unique to Alaska, and has been a source of controversy for decades. As long as fishing gear remains non-selective to the target species, this trade-off will always be difficult and controversial.
And will always be grist for the mill on this BB.....
The council is taking action on by catch in
offshore, I think you read that wrong. It is entire Area 3 (not just 3A) that has the "most poorly understood estimates of bycatch of all regulatory areas". Area 3 extends to the southern Gulf and Aleutians. Also, wastage of U32 fish were in fact estimated prior to 2013, they were just estimated indirectly, and accounted for when setting exploitation rates rather than as direct removals. No doubt some of the new models, changes, and programs in 2013 will be an improvement.
Keep in mind this "new" IPHC report is for 2013. Last year's 2014 report will be out at the end of 2015, and should show continued reductions in by-catch and wastage, along with better understanding of by-catch and wastage. We are seeing progress - a good thing.
I would also like to point out that by-catch and wastage are calculated into the exploitable/harvestable portion of the biomass to ensure sustainability of the stock. My point being that even if by-catch and waste were eliminated in the trawl fishery, those fish would just be allocated/shifted and caught by another sector anyway. So it boils down to allocation, and the ethics surrounding waste due to regulation. The stock doesn't care what sector kills them, or for what reason.
The most interesting thing I read was the explanation and evaluation of the decline..."The long time-series model suggested that the stock increases of the 1980's and 1990's, and the present stock declines, would have occurred even without removals of halibut by human hands."
Cohoangler, FYI there is a mountain of information in this report regarding halibut size/age/sex, much of it fascinating. It begins on page 48, and gets quite specific from page 56 on. Too much to post here. You might be able to find the IPHC Annual Report at their web site. I believe the halibut fishery, and most mixed-stock fisheries, can be managed sustainably, even with sacrifices to bycatch and wastage - they will be part of any fishery. It's more of a balancing act.