Bycatch is anything you catch that you are NOT fishing for. Think of the dolphin free/tuna issue years ago. Dolphins were the ‘bycatch’ that were caught when fishermen were trying to catch tuna. I forget who launched the campaign but when that whole thing went public the industry figured out darn fast how to NOT catch dolphins when catching tuna and it eventually went away.)
Pollack, a white fish used in things like fish sticks/patties and a HUGE fishery for both employment and dollars, is caught by big trawler boats in the winter out in the Bering Sea.
In the course of catching these pollack Chinook/King salmon are caught. There really has been no firm ‘cap’ or maximum they could catch before suffering either fines or a shut down. The numbers of by-catch have dramatically increased the since 2002.
This is at the center of the lack of income for Ann’s area of the Alaska.
By-Catch is basically anything that is caught in a fishing net that you were NOT fishing for.
When it comes to the YK Delta it is Chinook (King) salmon that are caught by the pollack trawling fleet.
These salmon return to rivers throughoutl the western part of Alaska and it looks to effect a number of salmon runs, with the YK Delta being the most dramatic.
Ann and I are currently working feverishly to understand as much as possible of this complex fishing matter. Our aim is help our villagers understand this and to become involved in a matter that effects their everyday lives.
There is a meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) in Anchorage March 30- April 7 where this issue will be discussed. There are a number of different ‘cap’ amounts being proposed with an environmental impact study submitted for each cap.
Given how complex not only the fishery but the science, or lack of it, that is used to manage fisheries we are working to figure out what looks to be the best solution for our villages.
If you WANT TO jump into this discussion PLEASE DO and we will try and answer questions as they are raised. The more attention that is brought to this matter the more power we have to make an impact.
Thanks for caring,
Victoria and Ann