Council votes for new restrictions on bycatch

JUNEAU (AP) — The Gulf of Alaska trawl fleet faces new restrictions, as fisheries managers seek to limit the number of chinook salmon it unintentionally takes.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council passed a policy over the weekend that lowers its cap on bycatch of the fish. It’s expected to take a year and a half before the federal government formally adopts the policy, APRN reported.

The trawl fleet comprises about 50 vessels, fishing for things like cod and rockfish, and bringing their catch to seafood processing plants in communities like Kodiak.

Bycatch in the fishery has ranged from 3,000 to 10,000 fish. The question facing the council was how many chinook salmon the trawl fleet could unintentionally kill before it would have to stop fishing. The council settled on 7,500 as the new cap.