Tuesday April 16, 2024

The Cordova Times

Federal fisheries regulators tasked with mediating conflicts over salmon bycatch in the groundfish fisheries between trawlers and commercial and subsistence salmon harvesters have updated their list of alternatives to be analyzed, but are a long way from resolving the problem. 

In fact, it will likely be April of 2025, when the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) holds its spring meeting again in Anchorage, when final action will be voted on. 

In advance of a lengthy, careful update of its initial set of alternatives, which always include status quo, the council heard testimony for three days and also received written reports from a cross section of the Alaska pollock trawl industry, commercial and subsistence salmon harvesters, economists, environmentalists and tribal entities on how to reach that “practicable solution” that federal regulations dictate be reached. 

They heard from industry harvesters about efforts to avoid hot spots where salmon were spotted in the midst of the lucrative Alaska pollock fishery and researchers working to upgrade fishing gear to keep pollock going into their nets and salmon out. They heard from residents of Yukon River villages, whose families have relied on salmon for their economy, sustenance and culture for thousands of years, who haven’t been able to fish for depleted returning runs of salmon. They heard from economists and conservationists about changes in the global economy and warming climate conditions. 

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