Rockfish Bycatch Avoidance
Rockfish bycatch allowances are an economically important component of the halibut and sablefish longline fisheries. The goal of this project is to help control bycatch rates to ensure allowances are not exceeded and rockfish populations are not overfished.
Since 2009, Fishery Conservation Network fishermen ave supplied bycatch data from over 500 sets (and over 2,000 set segments). Between 2009 and 2010, FCN fishermen reduced bycatch rates in the halibut fishery by 20% and in the sablefish fishery by 6%. Bycatch rates rose slightly in 2011 relative to 2010, but remain below the 2009 level and below bycatch allowances permitted in the longling fisheries.
In the winter of 2012, the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association complied and summarized three ears of rockfish bycatch rate data from the halibut and sablefish fisheries. Each participating GCN fishermen received maps from his or her own set, ensuring data confidentiality.
The bycatch rate data is summarized in the maps below (with a ttwo mile buffer around sets to protect confidentiality). The summary map on the left established the area covered by FCN fishermen. The map on the right identifies the ares with high bycatch rates in two out of three years - no areas had high bycatch rates in all three years.
Currently, the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association is working to update area bathymetric maps and overlay the collected bycatch data in a digital format that can be used with on-board navigation computers.