Governor Announces Task Force To Tackle Bycatch Issues

As concern mounts about low salmon numbers be a possible factor from trawler bycatch at sea, KTOO reports that Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration is creating a task force to explore trawler bycatch issues:

Meanwhile staple species like chinook salmon, red king crab and halibut have been on the decline, forcing subsistence, sport and commercial fishermen to pack up nets or reduce harvest.

“We’ve had a reduction in or closure of the crab fisheries in the Bering Sea. The [North Pacific Fishery Management] Council is discussing how to deal with halibut bycatch, and I think there’s a lot of perception that there are bycatch issues associated withwhat’s happened with salmon in Western Alaska systems,” said Alaska Fish & Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang.

And, he says, his boss has taken notice.

“I think the governor was hearing loud and clear that there was just a lot of noise around the issue of bycatch,” Vincent-Lang said Friday, “And I think he wanted to get Alaskans together, discuss what the issue is, what we know about it, what we don’t know about and identify different strategies that we all could take to try to reduce bycatch or manage bycatch better.”

Here’s a link to the governor’s order: