No Further Action on Chinook PSC Limit

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has opted to postpone indefinitely any further action on modifications of the Chinook salmon prohibited species catch limit for Gulf of Alaska trawl catcher vessels in non-pollock fisheries.

Council action at the April meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, could have boosted limits or added flexibility via annual rollovers of unused prohibited species catch for trawl vessels fishing for Pacific cod, rockfish and flatfish in the central and western Gulf of Alaska.

The council reviewed alternatives during its February and April meetings, ultimately deciding it was not appropriate to make changes at this time because of concerns about the status of Chinook stocks known to occur as bycatch in those Gulf non-pollock trawl fisheries. Council members also noted the possibility that federal action related to king salmon removals could create an unintended interference with the decadal renegotiation in progress on the Pacific Salmon Treaty between the US and Canada. The council noted that the timing and direction of trends in affected king stocks cannot be anticipated. While postponing further action indefinitely, the council signaled intent to monitor the status of king stocks and the performance of the PSC-limited Gulf trawl catcher vessel sector.

The council will receive a report after the 2018 fisheries on king stock status throughout the Pacific coast and on Gulf trawl harvests.