Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Chapter or Section
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8175
Type of Book: Technical
Section or Chapter Title: Testing of Pacific Halibut Bycatch Reduction Devices in Two US West Coast Bottom Trawl Fisheries
Book Title: Fisheries Bycatch: Global Issues and Creative Solutions, Proceedings of the 29th Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium
Series Title: Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium
Author: Mark J.M. Lomeli, W. Waldo Wakefield
Publication Year: 2015
Publisher: Alaska Sea Grant, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Keywords: bycatch,bycatch reduction device,Pacific halibut,bottom trawl,

 The U.S. West Coast limited entry (LE) groundfish trawl fishery is managed under a catch share program and operates under annual catch limits and individual fishing quotas 

along with individual bycatch quotas (IBQs) for Pacific halibut, a prohibited species. For many fishermen participating in the bottom trawl components of this fishery, bycatch of Pacific halibut is a concern because limited IBQ is available. Individual fishermen could reach their Pacific 

halibut IBQ before reaching their catch share quota of other stocks, thereby ending their fishing season or forcing them to purchase limited and potentially expensive quota. In separate studies, we examined two industry-designed Pacific halibut flexible sorting grid bycatch reduction devices (BRDs): one developed for the Dover sole/thornyhead/sablefish (DTS) complex fishery, and a second developed for the nearshore flatfish fishery. Fish retention (by weight) was quantified using a recapture net. For the BRD tested in the DTS fishery, retention of marketable-sized Dover sole, thornyheads, and sablefish was 99.0%, 96.9%, and 90.0% respectively. Pacific halibut bycatch was reduced by 83.7%. In the nearshore flatfish fishery, the BRD examined retained 85.1% of marketable-sized flatfishes encountered. Retention was highest for petrale sole (93.3%), and Dover sole (89.4%). Bycatch of Pacific halibut was reduced by 93.7%, while catches of rockfishes and roundfishes were reduced by 72.1% and 96.5%, respectively. Results demonstrated the capability of flexible sorting grids to modify trawl selectivity in the U.S. West Coast LE groundfish bottom trawl fishery while maintaining catches for several target species.