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Oct 24, 2010 9:03PM Post #1
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Fishermen in the Gulf of Alaska have accidentally caught an estimated 58,336 king salmon this year, an unprecedented level of bycatch that could lead to new fishing restrictions.

In recent years the Gulf of Alaska’s bycatch numbers have hovered around 20,000 fish. This year’s numbers surprised both the industry and regulators.

“By far this is the largest (bycatch) we have ever seen,” said Josh Keaton, a fisheries manager with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). “Hopefully it means a lot of kings are out there to be caught and they ran into a big pack of them.”

Most of the bycatch came from the trawl pollock fishery in the last month, especially in the western Gulf.

About 20 boats from King Cove and Sand Point averaged 3.4 king salmon per metric ton of polluck, picking up an estimated 24,878 fish in 12 days of fishing between Oct. 1 and Oct. 17.

Pollock boats in two regions around Kodiak took in 11,896 kings this October.

Julie Bonney, director of the groundfish industry group Groundfish Data Bank, said this is the highest bycatch she has seen as well.

Unlike 2007 — the last time a high level of king bycatch was reported — the bycatch data is considered accurate this year, both Keaton and Bonney said.

Bycatch numbers are estimated using data collected by fisheries observers. Bycatch for non-observed boats is generalized using observed data.

This year’s bycatch numbers could lead to new restrictions or regulations designed to lower bycatch, but not in the immediate future.

Chinook (king salmon) bycatch was already on the agenda for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council agenda this December. The council is not scheduled to take any final action, but will consider a new paper on the subject.

The Gulf of Alaska’s king salmon bycatch this year was also large enough to attract the attention of fishery managers in the Lower 48 because kings accidentally caught in the Gulf of Alaska may be endangered stocks from the Lower 48.

Because this year’s Chinook bycatch exceeded a limit of 40,000 kings, it triggered conversations about the problem with fishery managers in the Lower 48, NMFS manager Melanie Brown said.

King salmon tagged from endangered stocks like the Upper Willamette and lower Columbia rivers have been found in the Gulf of Alaska before.

Salmon bycatch is difficult to control because the fish are always moving around, but the trawl industry does have technologies to reduce it, Bonney said.

One option is salmon excluder devices, openings in trawl nets which let salmon escape. Some devices are used by larger boats.

Another approach is avoiding salmon hot spots, but detecting salmon and avoiding them during a derby-style fishery opening is difficult, Bonney said.


Oct 26, 2010 12:43AM Post #2
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Worse than originally reported: Info Here
Nov 3, 2010 10:45AM Post #3
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IronNoggin wrote:
Worse than originally reported: Info Here

I really do appreciate what some individuals try to accomplish, especially when it comes to protecting OUR wild salmon stocks, but some either really don’t understand, or are getting confused when reading some of those studies, reports, and papers? And, I really don’t know what some may and may not know, and don’t even begin to claim I know anything at all about the Tanner crab fishery, but I can read and have to really start questioning some comments posted on that site and the agenda at this point?

I will start with this statement, “To the left are Tanner crab caught in a Kodiak dragnet. This kind of resource waste gets a blind eye from the names listed below. Read it and weep.”

I better get this out there while I have an audience. As much as I hate to say so, the voting block on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council that regularly opposes any conservation interest are the representatives:

•John Henderschedt (representing processors),
•Bill Tweit, (representing WDFW, but really Washington trawler interests), and
•Roy Hyder (representing ODFW, but really Oregon trawler interests). Come on folks, follow the money!
•Ed Dersham, an Alaskan sportfish seat, regularly votes against conservation if he thinks it might hurt any commercial interests. Sad case. A bitter short timer.

Well, I am not going to bother looking up anyone other than the individual that represent “ME”! And that person would happen to be Mr. Bill Tweit – as he just happens to be, “MY” Washington representative on council. I don’t believe representing any “trawler” interest I don’t think so - AT LEAST FROM WHAT I CAN FIND! So here is what I have found.

Who is Mr. Bill Tweit and what does he stand for? Bill Tweit, Washington Dept Fish & Wildlife. First he represents Phil Anderson director Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)! I don’t personally know Phil Anderson or Bill Tweit, but I certainly can and did look them up.

Bill Tweit has been working with Westport Seabirds and going out of Westport since 1974, a leader with them since 1977, and has extensive experience with seabirds of the eastern North Pacific. He has been a North American Birds Regional Editor for the Oregon/Washington region since the early 1980s. He is a “Bird Watcher”!

He supported the, “US Blocks Fishing Trawlers From Following Retreating Arctic Ice”. Council member Bill Tweit, of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said, “Traditional knowledge and the precautionary principle is applied here which is important in the scientific management of fisheries in the Arctic''

Now this one… I just had to post the whole frigging thing and ask who has the hidden agenda?

Web posted Thursday, October 14, 2010
Council adopts limited protection measures for Kodiak tanner crab
By Andrew Jensen
Alaska Journal of Commerce

After a relatively drama-free week at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, it seemed only fitting the most action-packed agenda item was saved until a sunny fall Sunday traditionally reserved for football.
In front of a standing-room only crowd in the Mid Deck room at the Hotel Captain Cook, the council went into overtime to decide a long-running battle between crabbers and trawlers based out of Kodiak.

At issue were proposed closures to trawl fishing for shallow water flatfish to protect tanner crab populations off the eastern coast of Kodiak, including the Chiniak trench and Marmot Bay.

By a 9-2 vote, the council adopted a combination of measures that closed the western half of Marmot Bay to trawl fishing, required 100 percent observer coverage on trawl vessels fishing the Chiniak trench and the grounds north of Sitkalidak Island, and adopted a trailing amendment to develop regulations for modified trawl gear in the central Gulf of Alaska.

When the council adjourned Oct. 10 at about 6:30 p.m., the action had also closed the western half of Marmot Bay to vessels pot fishing for cod. Council member Duncan Fields of Kodiak called that decision — introduced by Washington state council member Bill Tweit and passed by a 6-5 vote — ''unconscionable'' and a ''punitive'' action targeting small pot fishermen by the trawlers.

''We're going to include them in some sort of quid pro quo where, 'if you close an area to me, I'm going to close an area for you,''' Fields said while speaking against Tweit's motion. ''But the information is not parallel. The fisheries don't have the same impact on tanner crab, and that's why we're here today.''

The contentious issue of closing Marmot Bay to pot fishing for cod, which led Fields to cast one of the two votes against the measure Sunday night, was resolved the next morning, with a motion for reconsideration that reopened the western half of Marmot Bay to pot cod fishing, but required 30 percent observer coverage for those vessels.
The 30 percent observer coverage for the pot vessels is noteworthy in that it applies to vessels less than 60 feet long, which currently are not required to carry observers. Both gear types will absorb significant additional expenses from observer coverage, with the trawl fleet's coverage increasing from 30 percent under the current system to 100 percent.

Under the pay-as-you-go observer program now in place, vessels pay a daily rate to carry observers that typically exceeds $400 per day.

After the meeting, Tweit said he introduced the pot closure in Marmot Bay to treat both gear types equally.
''What I was thinking about is, when you look at a stock recovery plan, you need to keep in mind all sources of mortality,'' Tweit said. ''I thought this thing was getting overly focused on trawl contributions to mortality, and obviously there are some. I really do think we need to keep everybody's role in account.''

According to the analysis provided to the council, 70 percent of tanner crab bycatch — the incidental taking of nontarget species — is attributable to the nonpelagic, or bottom, trawlers while 22 percent is taken by pot fishers in the proposed area closures.

Crabbers have argued for nearly two decades that trawl fishing — dragging large nets on or, with modified gear, just above the sea floor — is impeding the recovery of the tanner crab population.
In public testimony, trawlers fired back that the proposed closures were based on a ''witch hunt'' against their oft-targeted industry and the bycatch of tanner crab by the trawl fleet amounted to less than half a percent of their total catch.

Tweit further pushed the envelope during deliberations by making a motion to not only close Marmot Bay to pot fishing for cod and trawlers, but to close the directed tanner crab fishery as well.

Tweit's motion sent an audible rumbling through the room as neither the analysis nor public testimony had considered the drastic move.

''I've heard closures described as habitat protection measure, then we should actually close that area,'' Tweit said. ''We should close it to all gear that contacts the bottom that is disruptive to crab populations and recovery. If this is habitat protection, let's protect the habitat.''

Tweit's motion led Jim Balsiger, supervisor of the Alaska region for the National Marine Fisheries Service, to introduce his own motion to ''recommend the state consider closing the area'' to crab fishing. Balsiger's motion elicited laughter from Tweit and confusion from council chairman Eric Olson, who asked Balsiger ''are you really making that motion?''
Balsiger's motion was based on the fact that the council does not govern the state waters or the directed tanner crab fishery and set off series of votes that saw the motion fail 6-5 with Balsiger voting against his own amendment.

Immediately after, Tweit's motion to add crab fishing to the closure action in Marmot Bay was dropped without objection.

An intriguing subplot to the final deliberation was the votes of council member Ed Dersham of Anchor Point, who twice broke ranks with the Alaska delegation. Dersham voted in favor of Tweit's motion to close Marmot Bay to pot cod fishing and he also voted in favor of the motion by John Henderschedt, another Washington council member, to have no closures to any area or gear type. Henderschedt's motion failed by a 6-5 vote.

Dersham was also one of the two ''no'' votes against the final package.

''I spent 14 years in the Board of Fish hearing about tanner crab bycatch around Kodiak,'' Dersham said after the meeting. ''In general, through the analysis, the public testimony, all the other information before us this time, I felt the other measures in the motion, the observer coverage, gear modifications, were a good idea. I didn't feel the closures were going to accomplish anything.''

Other council actions included: Restructuring the observer program in the Gulf of Alaska to include all vessels longer than 40 feet and shifting control of observer deployment from vessel owners to NMFS with a fleet-wide 1.25 percent ex-vessel fee to fund the program; reaffirming state management of crab stocks and harvest-setting in the Bering Sea to conform with new requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act; and adopting a new catch share program for commercial and charter halibut fishing.

The council also received a decision from NMFS that largely rejected recommendations the council made in August for more limited closures to mackerel and cod fishing in the western Aleutians to protect food sources for the endangered Steller sea lion. The farthest western area remains under a year-round closure and will likely spark a legal showdown between the states of Alaska and Washington, as well as industry, with the federal government.

Now… who got Bill Tweit that job, and how do they know each other? Read the following link! Phil Anderson WDFW director:
Phil Anderson has been with Westport Seabirds since 1986. Phil has operated charter boats along the Washington coast for 30 years. His experience includes taking over 3,000 trips and providing service to over 40,000 people. Phil’s number one priority is your safety followed closely by getting you to where the birds are located.

Prior to coming to work for the Department in 1994, he served as a Council member representing the state of Washington, having been appointed to Washington’s obligatory seat in 1987. Phil served the Council as both Vice-Chairman and Chairman from 1988-1991. From 1970 to 1994, he was a charter fishing vessel owner/operator and participated in the recreational fisheries for salmon, halibut, groundfish, and albacore. Among other past activities, he was President of the Washington State Charter Boat Association, member of the Council’s Salmon Advisory Subpanel, advisor to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, and member of the U.S. delegation during negotiation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Ms. Michele Culver serves as Mr. Anderson’s primary designee and Mr. Pat Pattillo serves as an alternate designee.

Anderson, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife official, has been widely considered a key swing vote on the 14-voting member council.

After consulting with many industry officials and the office of Gov. Christine Gregoire, Anderson says he opposes processor shares.

Three major processing companies buy much of the catch. Anderson said these companies already wield ample market power.

Anderson does support share systems for the trawl fishermen in the complex harvests that net some 80 species of rockfish, flatfish and other seafood.

But he balks at extending that system to the smaller fleet of less than 40 vessels that deliver whiting to shoreside plants.

Instead, he proposes whiting fishermen form cooperatives to voluntarily divide up the harvests.

But whiting fishermen who deliver shoreside doubt they could ever agree on a voluntary plan.

''I think this would leave us pretty much with the status quo. And I'm hoping before the final vote here that Phil can see the error of his ways,'' said Marion Larkin, a Washington whiting fishermen.

They are “Bird Watchers” – and I can’t find any ties to any trawler interest!

Now… That 40,000 Chinook bycatch limit referred to, is for the Bering Sea - Not the Gulf of Alaska (GOA)? Currently GOA has no PSC bycatch limit for Chinook!

It is not all that much doom and gloom for our lower west coast Chinook, as lead to believe in that article. While we indeed have some of our Chinook that migrate into that area and into the Bering Sea, most do not. However, those Chinook bycatch in eastern, central, and western GOA down to Kodiak Island, are mostly “our” west coast Chinook (and British Columbia), but still the biggest threat is the Bering Sea Pollock fishery, which catches up to that 95% Chinook bycatch and those are mostly Alaskan Chinook. Pollock fishery bycatch is a very HOT topic; including in Alaska – and everyone is either involved or getting involved with it. It is posted all over the internet. They just did have a 72 hour Pollock opening in area 630, so will be interesting to see those bycatch as that would mostly be our fish.

Gulf of Alaska is broken into different sectors - Eastern GOA: 640, 649, 650 and 659; Central GOA: 620 and 630; Western GOA: 610. King Cove and Sand Point are both in 610, eastern GOA. The Upper Willamette and lower Columbia rivers (and British Columbia) Chinook have been found ALL OVER the Gulf of Alaska, but they are mostly in the eastern and central areas, with a FEW going into the western and Bering Sea areas.

Chinook Salmon Bycatch in the Bering Sea Pollock Fishery

The Bering Sea pollock fishery catches up to 95 percent of the Chinook salmon taken incidentally as bycatch in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. From 1992 through 2001, the average Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery was 32,482 fish. Bycatch increased substantially from 2002 through 2007, to an average of 74,067 Chinook salmon per year. A historic high of approximately 122,000 Chinook salmon were taken in the Bering Sea pollock fishery in 2007. However, Chinook salmon bycatch has declined in recent years to 20,559 in 2008 and 12,414 in 2009. For the 2010 pollock A season, and the pollock B season that opened on June 10, bycatch rates are comparable to the low bycatch rates in 2009. The causes of the decline in Chinook salmon bycatch in 2008, 2009, and 2010 are unknown. The decline is most likely due to a combination of factors, including changes in abundance and distribution of Chinook salmon and pollock, and changes in fleet behavior to avoid salmon bycatch.

Chinook salmon bycatch also varies seasonally and by sector. In most years, the majority of Chinook salmon bycatch occurs during the A season. Since 2002, catcher vessels in the inshore sector typically have caught the highest number of Chinook salmon and had the highest bycatch rates by sector in both the A and B seasons. As discussed in the EIS (see ADDRESSES), the variation in bycatch rates among sectors and seasons is due, in part, to the different fishing practices and patterns each sector uses to fully harvest their pollock allocations.

In years of historically high Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery (2003 through 2007), the rate of Chinook salmon bycatch averaged 52 Chinook salmon per 1,000 tons of pollock harvested. With so few salmon relative to the large amount of pollock harvested, Chinook salmon encounters are difficult to predict or avoid. Industry agreements that require vessel-level cooperation to share information about areas of high Chinook salmon encounter rates probably are the best tool that the industry currently has to quickly identify areas of high bycatch and to avoid fishing there. However, predicting these encounter rates will continue to be difficult, primarily because of the current lack of understanding of the biological and oceanographic conditions that influence the distribution and abundance of salmon in the areas where the Pollock fishery occurs.

Chinook Salmon Stocks and Fisheries
in Western Alaska

Chinook salmon taken in the Pollock fishery originate from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Canada, and Asian countries along the Pacific Rim. Estimates vary, but more than half of the Chinook salmon bycatch in the Pollock fishery may be destined for western Alaska. Western Alaska includes the Bristol Bay, Kuskokwim, Yukon, and Norton Sound areas. In general, western Alaska Chinook salmon stocks declined sharply in 2007 and remained depressed in 2008 and 2009. Chapter 5 of the EIS provides additional information about Chinook salmon biology, distribution, and stock assessments by river system or region (see ADDRESSES). NMFS is expanding biological sampling to improve data on the origins of salmon caught as bycatch in the pollock fishery. Chinook salmon support subsistence, commercial, personal use, and sport fisheries in their regions of origin. TheState of Alaska Board of Fisheries adopts regulations through a public process to conserve fisheries resources and allocate them to the various users. The State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) manages the salmon commercial, subsistence, sport, and personal use fisheries. The first management priority is to meet spawning escapement goals to sustain salmon resources for future generations. The next priority is for subsistence use under both State and Federal law. Chinook salmon serves as a primary subsistence food in some areas. Subsistence fisheries management includes coordination with U.S. Federal agencies where Federal rules apply under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 3101–3233.

In recent years of low Chinook salmon returns, the in-river harvest of western Alaska Chinook salmon has been severely restricted and, in some cases, river systems have not met escapement goals. Surplus fish beyond escapement needs and subsistence use are made available for other uses. Commercial fishing for Chinook salmon may provide the only source of income for many people who live in remote villages. Chapter 3 of the RIR provides an overview of the importance of subsistence harvests and commercial harvests (see ADDRESSES).

Current Management of Chinook
Salmon Bycatch in the Bering Sea and
Aleutian Islands

Over the past 15 years, the Council and NMFS have implemented several management measures to limit Chinook salmon bycatch in the BSAI trawl fisheries. In 1995, NMFS implemented an annual PSC limit of 48,000 Chinook salmon and specific seasonal notrawling zones in the Chinook Salmon Savings Area that would close when the limits were reached (60 FR 31215; November 29, 1995). In 2000, NMFS reduced the Chinook Salmon Savings Area closure limit to 29,000 Chinook salmon, redefined the Chinook Salmon Savings Area as two non-contiguous areas of the BSAI (Area 1 in the AI subarea and Area 2 in the BS subarea), and established new closure periods (65 FR 60587; October 12, 2000).

Chinook salmon bycatch management measures were most recently revised under Amendments 84 to the FMP. The Council adopted Amendment 84 in October 2005 to address increases in Chinook and non-Chinook salmon bycatch that were occurring despite PSC limits that triggered closure of the Chinook and Chum Salmon Savings Areas

Amendment 84 established in Federal regulations the salmon bycatch intercooperative agreement (ICA), which allows vessels participating in the Bering Sea pollock fishery to use their internal cooperative structure to reduce Chinook and non-Chinook salmon bycatch using a method called the voluntary rolling hotspot system (VRHS). Through the VRHS, industry members provide each other real-time salmon bycatch information so that they can avoid areas of high Chinook or non-Chinook salmon bycatch rates. The VRHS was implemented voluntarily by the fleet in 2002. Amendment 84 exempts vessels participating in the salmon bycatch reduction ICA from salmon savings area closures, and revised the Chum Salmon Savings Area closure to apply only to vessels directed fishing for pollock, rather than to all vessels using trawl gear. The exemptions to savings area closures for participants in the VRHS ICA were implemented by NMFS in 2006 and 2007 through an exempted fishing permit. Regulations implementing Amendment 84 were approved in 2007 (72 FR 61070; October 29, 2007), and NMFS approved the salmon bycatch reduction VRHS ICA in January 2008. Amendment 84 requires that parties to the ICA be AFA cooperatives and CDQ groups. All AFA cooperatives and CDQ groups participate in the VRHS ICA.

Using a system specified in regulations, the VRHS ICA assigns vessels in a cooperative to certain tiers, based on bycatch rates of vessels in that cooperative relative to a base rate, and implements large area closures for vessels in tiers associated with higher bycatch rates. The VRHS ICA managers monitor salmon bycatch in the Pollock fisheries and announce area closures for areas with relatively high salmon bycatch rates. Monitoring and enforcement are accomplished through private contractual arrangements. The efficacy of voluntary closures and bycatch reduction measures must be reported to the Council annually. While the annual reports suggest that the VRHS ICA has reduced Chinook salmon bycatch rates compared to what they would have been without the ICA, the highest historical Chinook salmon bycatch occurred in 2007, when the ICA was in effect under an exempted fishing permit. This high level of bycatch illustrated that, while the management measures implemented under
Amendment 84 provided the Pollock fleet with tools to reduce salmon bycatch, these measures contain no effective upper limit on the amount of salmon bycatch that could occur in the Bering Sea pollock fishery.

Bering Sea Chinook Salmon Bycatch

This final rule implements the provisions of Amendment 91, as approved by NMFS. The preamble to the proposed rule (75 FR 14016; March 23, 2010) provides a full description of the provisions implemented with this final rule and the justification for them. In summary, this final rule establishes two Chinook salmon PSC limits (60,000 Chinook salmon and 47,591 Chinook salmon) for the Bering Sea Pollock fishery. For each PSC limit, NMFS will issue A season and B season Chinook salmon PSC allocations to the catcher/ processor sector, the mothership sector, the inshore cooperatives, and the CDQ groups. Chinook salmon allocations remaining from the A season can be used in the B season (‘‘rollover’’) Entities can transfer PSC allocations within a season and can also receive transfers of Chinook salmon PSC to cover overages (‘‘post-delivery transfers’’).

NMFS will issue transferable allocations of the 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit to those sectors that participate in an incentive plan agreement (IPA) and remain in compliance with the performance standard. Sector and cooperative allocations would be reduced if members of the sector or cooperative decided not to participate in an IPA. Vessels and CDQ groups that do not participate in an IPA would fish under a restricted opt-out allocation of Chinook salmon. If a whole sector does not participate in an IPA, all members of that sector would fish under the optout allocation.

The IPA component is an innovative approach for fishery participants to design industry agreements with incentives for each vessel to avoid Chinook salmon bycatch at all times and thus reduce bycatch below the PSC limits. This final rule establishes performance-based requirements for the IPAs. To ensure participants develop effective IPAs, this final rule requires that participants submit annual reports to the Council that evaluate whether the IPA is effective at providing incentives for vessels to avoid Chinook salmon at all times while fishing for pollock. The sector-level performance standard ensures that the IPA is effective and that sectors cannot fully harvest the Chinook salmon PSC allocations under the 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit in most years. Each year, each sector will be issued an annual threshold amount that represents that sector’s portion of 47,591 Chinook salmon. For a sector to continue to receive Chinook salmon PSC allocations under the 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit, that sector must not exceed its annual threshold amount 3 times within 7 consecutive years. If a sector fails this performance standard, it will permanently be allocated a portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit.

NMFS will issue transferable allocations of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit to all sectors, cooperatives, and CDQ groups if no IPA is approved, or to the sectors that exceed the performance standard.

Transferability of PSC allocations is expected to mitigate the variation in the encounter rates of Chinook salmon bycatch among sectors, CDQ groups, and cooperatives in a given season by allowing eligible participants to obtain a larger portion of the PSC limit in order to harvest their pollock allocation or to transfer surplus allocation to other entities. When a PSC allocation is reached, the affected sector, inshore cooperative, or CDQ group would have to stop fishing for pollock for the remainder of the season even if its pollock allocation had not been fully harvested.

This final rule also removes from regulations the 29,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit in the Bering Sea, the Chinook Salmon Savings Areas in the Bering Sea, exemption from Chinook Salmon Savings Area closures for participants in the VRHS ICA, and Chinook salmon as a component of the VRHS ICA. This final rule does not change any regulations affecting the management of Chinook salmon in the Aleutian Islands or non-Chinook salmon in the BSAI. The Council is currently considering a separate action to modify the non-Chinook salmon management measures to minimize non-Chinook salmon bycatch.

I don’t think most really understands some of those numbers and information being thrown out, getting referred to, and maybe twisted a tad? Is Chinoo bycatch a concern – YEP! And it needs monitored more closely in the GOA, but I guess I would really confuse people if I told them the actual bycatch of Chinook salmon REPORTED bycatch in GOA between October 9th and 16th was recorded as 5,176. Then that Gulf of Alaska Prohibited Species Report (PSC), contains this statement,“No PSC Limits apply to salmon in the GOA”. Then if you look, the ‘Total Sampled Hauls’ in the actual reported period between Jan 3, 2010 through October 16, 2010 were from 32,673 hauls recorded. The total actual Chinook bycatch in ALL those sampled hauls was 22,413 (including the Bering Sea). The total Chinook bycatch in GOA was 13,483 (REPORTED). And of those, Pollock Pelagic trawl gear accounted for 9,350 and Pollock Non-pelagic trawl gear was 4,133. Of the counted bycatch Pollock trawlers have taken: Bottom Pollock = 3,451 and Midwater Pollock = 6,058 Chinook. The Pollock trawl fishery accounted for a total of 9,509 Chinook in the Gulf of Alaska (REPORTED), out of the 13,483 bycatch in the GOA. Wonder who is catching that other 29.5%? We really do need a VALID reporting system established for the GOA for OUR Chinook!

I believe the Cinook bycatch would be what was being discussed and addressed in Agenda Item D-3(b)(1), APRIL 2010. The Staff Discussion Paper is:

Chinook Salmon Bycatch in
Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Fisheries
March 2009
Staff Discussion Paper

You might find it interesting, there has been NO actual bycatch sampling studies done in the Gulf of Alaska from anyone, as of April 2010 - as in, bycatch studies haven’t been done by anyone, yet! At the very best - any Chinook bycatch numbers in the GOA, is only an educated guess! Hopefully, they will start this coming year!


5.5 Impacts of bycatch: river of origin of GOA Chinook

The direct effects of GOA groundfish bycatch of Chinook salmon on the sustainability of salmon populations are difficult to interpret without specific information on the river of origin of each bycaught salmon. No bycatch sampling studies have been conducted in the GOA trawl fisheries to look at the origin of salmon bycatch, although some studies have been undertaken in the Bering Sea pollock trawl fishery. Limited information is available from other studies into the river of origin of salmon species.

The High Seas Salmon Research Program of the University of Washington routinely tags and monitors Pacific salmon species. It should be noted that Coded Wire Tag (CWT) information may not accurately represent the true distribution of hatchery-released salmon. Much of the CWT tagging occurs within the British Columbia hatcheries and thus, most of the tags that are recovered also come from those same hatcheries. CWT tagging does occur in some Alaskan hatcheries, specifically in Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, other Kenai region hatcheries, as well as in hatcheries in Southeast Alaska (Johnson, 2004).

Chinook salmon tags have been recovered in the area around Kodiak through recovery projects in 1994, 1997, and 1999. The contribution of hatchery-produced Chinook salmon to the sampled harvested in the Kodiak commercial fishery ranged from 16% in 1999 to 34% in 1998; hatchery fish from British Colombia made up the majority of these fish. The study concluded that there was only a low incidental harvest of Cook Inlet Chinook salmon in the Kodiak area (Clark and Nelson 2001, Dinnocenzo and Caldentey 2008).

Other CWT studies have tagged Washington and Oregon salmon, and many of these tagged salmon have been recovered in the GOA (Myers et al. 2004). In 2006, 63 tags were recovered in the eastern Bering Sea and GOA (Celewycz et al. 2006). Of these, 8 CWT Chinook salmon were recovered from the Gulf of Alaska trawl fishery in 2006 and 2007, 8 CWT Chinook salmon were recovered from the Bering Sea-Aleutian Islands trawl fishery in 2006 and 2007, 44 CWT Chinook salmon were recovered from the Pacific hake trawl fishery in the North Pacific Ocean off WA/OR/CA in 2006, and 3 CWT steelhead were recovered from Japanese gillnet research in the central North Pacific Ocean.

Overall, tagging results in the GOA showed the presence of Columbia River Basin Chinook and Oregon Chinook salmon tag recoveries (from 1982–2003). Some CWT recovered by research vessels in this time period also showed the recoveries of coho salmon from the Cook Inlet region and southeast Alaska coho salmon tag recoveries along the southeastern and central GOA (Myers et al 2004).

Additional research on stock discrimination for Chinook salmon is being conducted by evaluating DNA variation, specifically single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A baseline has been developed that identifies the DNA composition of many BSAI and GOA salmon stocks. Until GOA trawl bycatch samples can be collected and analyzed, however, there is no information to determine what proportion of GOA Chinook bycatch is attributable to rivers of origin in the GOA or elsewhere. The Alaska Fishery Science Center has developed a research plan for sampling Chinook bycatch, with the primary focus on the Bering Sea pollock fishery. In October 2009, the Council wrote a letter to the AFSC asking that the agency also apply the new sampling protocol (scheduled to begin in 2011) to Chinook caught as bycatch in GOA groundfish fisheries.

Anyone want to discuss the Chum salmon bycatch? First - anyone that knows me, knows there are TWO things I do NOT like or support, rather consider both necessary evils that we need to monitor, improve, and control to protect our “wild” salmon stocks . Those would be the practices of both the “NORWEGIAN ATLANTIC FISH FARMS” and the “ALASKAN POLLOCK TRAWL FISHERY”! Honestly, I believe Alaska is doing a better job with the trawl fishery, than Canada is doing with their fish farms!

And, with that I will give some things to think about from a couple of papers concerning the Chum salmon bycatch, just to think about and then let one decide for themselves if that Chum bycatch is a good or bad thing!

The links to the papers are following each paper. I copied some things from both, and believe one needs to consider these comments while making a decision on those Chum bycatch numbers. Pay particular attention to the who, what, when, and where regarding those Chum and the number of hatchery versus wild.

The first is:

For catch accounting and PSC limits 4 species of salmon (Sockeye, Coho, Pink and Chum) are aggregated into an ‘other salmon’ or non-Chinook salmon species category. Chum salmon comprises over 99.6% of the total catch in this category (Table 1).

The majority of non-Chinook bycatch occurs in the pollock trawl fishery. Historically, the contribution of non-Chinook bycatch from the pollock trawl fishery has ranged from a low of 88% of all bycatch to a high of >99.5% in 1993. Since 2002 bycatch of non-Chinook salmon in the pollock fishery has comprised over 95% of the total. Total catch of non-Chinook salmon in the pollock fishery reached an historic high in 2005 at 705,963 fish (Table 2; Figure 1). Bycatch of non-Chinook salmon in this fishery occurs almost exclusively in the B season. Bycatch since 2005 has declined substantially, with the 2008 total of 15,383.

Bycatch rates for chum salmon (chum salmon/mt of pollock) from 1991-2007 are shown in Figure 2. Currently the Chum Salmon Savings Area as shown in Figure 2 is invoked in the month of August annually and when triggered in September, however the fleet is exempt from these closures under regulations for the salmon bycatch reduction intercooperative agreement implemented in 2007 under Amendment 84

A study conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service evaluated bycatch samples of chum salmon from the 1994-1995 pollock trawl fishery in the Eastern Bering Sea and employed genetic stock identification (GSI) methodology to evaluate the stock composition of these bycaught fish (Wilmot et al., 1998). Results from this study indicated that in 1994 between 39-55% of samples were of Asian origin , 20-35% were western Alaskan stocks, and 21-29% were from the combined Southeastern Alaska, British Columbia and Washington stocks. (Wilmot et al., 1998). The 1995 samples indicated a range of 13-51% Asian, 33-53% western Alaska, and 9-46% Southeastern Alaska, British Columbia or Washington stocks (Wilmot et al., 1998). Estimates for immature versus maturing fish differed with both years indicating that maturing fish indicating a higher contribution from BC than the contribution from the immature fish (Wilmot et al., 1998). Differences in relative stock composition also varied temporally throughout the B season and by region (Wilmot et al. 1998). Additional work is currently underway at the Auke Bay Laboratory to evaluate more recent chum bycatch samples from the pollock fishery for stock composition estimates. Results will likely be available in late 2008.

Additional studies of research trawl caught fish in the Bering Sea have looked at the origin and distribution of chum salmon (Urawa et al. 2004;). Genetic stock identification (GSI) with allozyme variation was used to determine the stock origin of chum salmon caught by a trawl research vessel operating in the central Bering Sea from late August to mid September 2002 (Urawa et al. 2004). Results indicated that the estimated stock composition for maturing chum salmon was 70% Japanese, 10% Russian and 20% North American stocks, while immature fish were estimated as 54% Japanese, 33% Russian, and 13% North American (Urawa et al. 2004). Stock composition of North American fish was identified for Northwest Alaska, Yukon, Alaskan Peninsula/Kodiak, Susitna River, Prince William Sound, Southeast Alaska/Northern British Columbia and Southern British Columbia/Washington State. Of these the majority of mature chum salmon for North America stocks came from Southern BC/Washington State and Alaska Peninsula/Kodiak (Urawa et al. 2004). For immature chum salmon, the largest contribution for North American stocks came from Southeast Alaska/Northern BC, followed by Alaska Peninsula/Kodiak and Southern BC/Washington State.
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Here is the other:
Magnitude and Trends in Abundance of Hatchery and Wild Pink
Salmon, Chum Salmon, and Sockeye Salmon
in the North Pacific Ocean

No measurable populations of wild chum salmon occurred south of Russia or Oregon. (inserted – please note, Japan has NO measurable ‘wild” chum salmon = “Put and Take'' fishery).

FIGURE 3.—Relative contribution of each region (Figure 1) to Pacific Rim production of adult (A) wild and (B) hatchery salmon during 1990–2005. For example, 51% of total wild sockeye salmon in the North Pacific returned to western Alaska (AK; panel A), and 83% of total hatchery-origin chum salmon returned to Japan (panel B.) The West Coast region includes Washington plus the Columbia River basin; other Russia includes all areas of Russia except Kamchatka (see Figure 1; BC ¼ British Columbia).

During 1990 to 2005, approximately 27% of total hatchery chum salmon, 67% of total hatchery pink salmon, and 92% of total hatchery sockeye salmon were released from North American hatcheries as opposed to Asia (Figure 7B).

Abundance of adult hatchery-origin chum salmon (all regions) exceeded that of wild chum salmon in the mid-1980s and thereafter (Figure 2B). During 1990–2005, production of hatchery-origin adults averaged 78 3 106 chum salmon/year, 543106 pink salmon/year, and 3.23106 sockeye salmon/year (excluding spawning-channel sockeye salmon).

Regions that contributed most to the overall production of hatchery-origin salmon during 1990–2005 were Japan (83% of total hatchery chum salmon production), central Alaska (65% of hatchery pink salmon and 85% of hatchery sockeye salmon),

Contribution of Hatchery Salmon to Total Abundance
Hatchery-origin adult salmon represented approximately 62% of total chum salmon, 13% of pink salmon, and 4% of sockeye salmon in the North Pacific during 1990–2005. In Asia during this recent period, hatchery adults constituted on average 76%, 7%, and less than 1%, respectively, of the chum salmon, pink salmon, and sockeye salmon total abundances (Figure 8A). In North America during 1990–2005, hatchery individuals represented 31, 20, and 4% of the chum salmon, pink salmon, and sockeye salmon total adult abundances on average (Figure 8B).

Regions where hatchery salmon contributed substantially to total adult abundance included Japan, Southeast Alaska, and central Alaska (i.e., Prince William Sound and Kodiak; Figure 9). In Japan, nearly 100% of chum salmon, 100% of sockeye salmon, and approximately 18% of pink salmon originated from hatcheries during 1990–2005. Less than 10% of total salmon production in Russia originated from hatcheries, but hatchery production has been increasing in recent years (e.g., Pacific Research Fisheries Centre 2007b). Hatchery salmon represented more than 70% of total pink salmon and total chum salmon in Prince William Sound and more than 55% of chum salmon in southeast Alaska. Hatcheries in southern British Columbia and the U.S. West Coast contributed approximately 25% to total chum salmon abundance in those regions. Hatchery sockeye salmon contributed relatively little to total abundance in North America except in Kodiak (19%) and Prince William Sound (29%). No hatchery pink salmon or sockeye salmon and few chum salmon were produced in western Alaska.

FIGURE 9.—Proportion of total adult chum salmon, pink salmon, and sockeye salmon represented by hatchery production in each region (Figure 1), 1990–2005. For example, 78% of pink salmon and 73% of chum salmon returning to Prince William Sound were of hatchery origin (West Coast 14 Washington and the Columbia River basin). See Figure 4 for region code definitions.

The largest contributors to this increase were wild pink salmon, wild sockeye salmon, and hatchery chum salmon stocks. During 1990–2005, hatchery fish (mostly from Japan and Alaska) made up a substantial portion of the overall abundance of North Pacific adult salmon (22%). In addition, the abundance of hatchery-origin adult chum salmon exceeded that of wild adult chum salmon in the North Pacific since the mid-1980s. We re-emphasize that these numbers take fishing into account because adult recruits are estimated by adding stock-specific catches to stock-specific spawner abundances.

Unlike most sockeye salmon and pink salmon populations in the North Pacific, wild chum salmon did not increase in abundance after the mid-1970s regime shift. The lack of a response primarily reflects the declining abundance of wild chum salmon in mainland Russia, which supports the largest wild chum salmon runs in the North Pacific Ocean. Chum salmon in mainland Russia increased beginning in 1993, but abundances were still far below the levels recorded prior to 1970. Although overharvest and habitat degradation have been recognized as factors affecting the decline of Russian wild chum salmon stocks in the 1950s and 1960s, it is possible that competition with the approximately 2 X 10(9 power) chum salmon released annually from Japanese hatcheries and up to 360 X 10(6 power) chum salmon from Russian hatcheries has inhibited the recovery of Russian wild chum salmon stocks (Radchenko 1998; Kaeriyama et al. 2007). Japanese hatchery chum salmon are broadly distributed throughout much of the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea (Myers et al. 2007; Beacham et al. 2009; Urawa et al. 2009) and could potentially affect the growth of wild chum salmon populations originating from Russia, western Alaska, central Alaska, southeast Alaska, and British Columbia (Myers et al. 2004). In Alaska, wild chum salmon runs north of southeast Alaska declined during 1990–2005, especially those in Prince William Sound, where abundance of hatchery-origin chum salmon has grown rapidly since the late 1980s and now represents approximately 73% of total chum salmon abundance. This pattern raises the question of whether large-scale releases of chum salmon in Prince William Sound in addition to those in Japan and Russia have influenced growth and survival of wild chum salmon, as has been debated for pink salmon (Hilborn and Eggers 2000, 2001; Wertheimer et al. 2001, 2004a, 2004b).

Although the observed large increases in abundance of wild pink salmon and sockeye salmon during the last few decades may appear to contradict the intense conservation concerns about salmon in the North Pacific, these different viewpoints are both valid but at different spatial scales. Legitimate conservation concerns arise in spite of these general overall increases because for certain species, there are many individual populations and regions in which wild salmon abundance has decreased severely, such as chum salmon in Japan, South Korea, the Amur River (Russia and China), western Alaska, and the Columbia River; summer-run chum salmon in Hood Canal (Washington); and sockeye salmon in the Kvichak River (Bristol Bay), Rivers Inlet (British Columbia), the Fraser River (British Columbia), and the Snake River basin (Idaho); among many others. Salmon species and stocks have broad distributions in the ocean, and abundant stocks overlap and intermingle with those having low productivity (Myers et al. 2007, 2009). Potential density-ependent interactions arising from increased abundance of the more-productive stocks may potentially depress less-productive ones through reduced growth, reduced survival, or both (e.g., Peterman 1984a; Ruggerone et al. 2003), and increased fishing pressure on productive stocks may adversely affect less-productive stocks with overlapping distributions.

Important management implications of our wild and hatchery salmon abundance estimates emerge from the combination of four factors: (1) the growing public interest in maintaining abundant, productive, and biologically diverse wild salmon populations and sustainable salmon fisheries, (2) the large and increasing percentage contribution of hatchery fish to the total abundance of adult salmon in the North Pacific Ocean, (3) plans to maintain or increase hatchery production in the future regardless of ocean conditions, and (4) evidence of density-dependent interactions within and among species and within and among salmon from the same or even different geographic regions or nations.
An important policy implication of this conjunction of factors is that salmon originating from different nations may compete for a limited ‘‘common pool’’ of food resources in international waters of the North Pacific. This is a potential ‘‘tragedy of the commons’’ situation, leading some to call for limitations or economic disincentives for hatchery releases (e.g., Peterman 1984b; deReynier 1998; Heard 1998; Holt et al. 2008). Coordinating leadership by the NPAFC or an analogous international treaty organization to address this issue would be beneficial (Holt et al. 2008). This concern about competing for limited resources may become considerably more acute if the North Pacific area occupied by salmon decreases due to climatic warming (Welch et al. 1998).

Hatchery production represents a large portion of total runs in some relatively pristine regions where wild salmon reproduction is not compromised by habitat degradation in freshwater (e.g., Prince William Sound, Kodiak, and southeast Alaska). If density-dependent feedback on growth, survival, or both is substantial and widespread among stocks that intermingle at sea, then questions arise about whether large hatchery production is appropriate or advantageous in such systems. In contrast with the dynamics of wild salmon populations, hatchery releases usually remain high irrespective of whether ocean productivity is high or low. An example of the difficulty in answering this challenge is the debate between Hilborn and Eggers (2000, 2001) and Wertheimer et al. (2001, 2004a) over the net benefit of hatchery pink salmon in Prince William Sound. Hatchery salmon may reduce variability in harvests but this benefit to fishermen may come with a cost to wild salmon productivity. Additionally, there can be substantial straying of hatchery fish into natural spawning areas, which can degrade the fitness and biological diversity of the wild populations (e.g., Levin et al. 2001; Ford 2002; Naish et al. 2007; Buhle et al. 2009).
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Well, there is some information to think about! So, is that Chum bycatch a good thing or bad thing…Kind of an interesting question, isn’t it?
Edited: Nov 3, 2010 4:01AM
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