Where is this galf of Alaska located or between which oceans
Some next level questions....how accurate do you think reported bycatch is...and do you really think theyd close or even adjust the fisheries if bycatch limits were eclipsed? Wheres that big rolling on the floor with laughter emoji.
In 1997, Canada decided it was going to do something about its halibut trawl bycatch. Canada's solution was to require a Fisheries Observer aboard 100% of their trawlers, require that ALL bycatch be brought back to port(to be tallied), and to create an individual "Penalty Box" type system for their trawl fleet. The Penalty Box system created an individual allowable halibut bycatch limit for each boat on each trip. If a boat exceeded their individual limit on a trip, they would be put in the Penalty Box and not allowed to fish for a predetermined amount of time.
This Canadian system reduced the Canadian trawl fleet's halibut bycatch 90% in just two years. By changing their fishing techniques and fishing slightly less "efficiently", the Canadian trawl captains were able to STILL catch 100% of their target species.
Since Canada and the USA share a common biomass of halibut, Canadian regulators and biologists have been begging the US to adopt their system ever since. But to no avail....
Now, 23 years later, the Alaskan trawl fleet is STILL allowed to catch, kill, and dump more halibut each year than the entire rod and reel sector is allowed to retain. The ONLY possible explanation for this is that it is less expensive for the trawl industry to hire lobbyists(to keep halibut bycatch limits artificially high) than it is for the trawl captains to fish more cleanly(which would result in lower profit margins as a result of higher fuel burns and more time at sea).
Unfortunately, WE have all tolerated this waste for far too long. But now....., we're all feeling the sting of reduced limits and habitat destruction.
At SOME point, the directed fisheries as a whole(subsistence, rod & reel, and longline), are going to have stand up together to go all-in to fight for common-sense regulation of bycatch. Our elected officials(especially the governor of Alaska) need to have it made perfectly clear to them that the financial gains of accepting campaign donations from the trawl industry is NOT worth the voter outrage which it will create. Somewhere, there is a tipping point in the minds of politicians, and when we reach that tipping point, common sense shall suddenly prevail.
Please contact your elected officials and Industry Representatives!