Researchers working with the groundfish fishing industry in the Pacific Northwest have tested a new “flexible sorting grid excluder” – a type of bycatch reduction device that shows promise to significantly reduce the incidental bycatch of Pacific halibut from commercial bottom trawl fishermen.
In a series of tests that included 30 tows off the Washington coast, commercial fishermen were able to reduce the number of halibut taken as bycatch by 57 percent, while retaining 84 percent of the targeted groundfishes.
Incidental bycatch is a significant issue in many coastal regions including the Pacific Northwest. It occurs when fishing operations result in the discard of non-targeted fish and invertebrates, or through accidental interactions with mammals, seabirds and sea turtles. It is of particular concern, resource managers say, when these “bycaught” species are overfished, threatened or endangered.For the complete article see the 03-20-2013 issue.
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