Time to reduce halibut bycatch

Alaska is a state which relies heavily on its commercial and sport fishing industries. Each year, men and women from across the state — and across the world — come here to fish our waters and catch some of the greatest wild seafood. In the Gulf of Alaska, halibut continues to be a hot commodity for commercial and sport fishers alike. Sadly, without proper reductions in groundfish bycatch limits, halibut populations continue to drastically diminish.

Next month the North Pacific Fishery Management Council will be meeting in Kodiak to vote on a 15 percent reduction in halibut bycatch in the Gulf. For coastal communities in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska, this is an important issue as halibut fishing plays a major role in local economies. In the past 25 years, commercial fishing limits on halibut have dropped by 63 percent while bycatch limits have barely changed. These cuts in harvest limits are hurting the businesses, economies, and communities who rely on halibut as a resource to survive.

Send an email to npfmc.comments@noaa.gov and tell the Council to reduce halibut bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska by 15 percent. Because all sectors must do their part to conserve and rebuild our halibut stock.

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