Chinook salmon limits enforced
Alaskan pollock trawlers. Photo: Valerie Craig/Marine Photobank
A new rule on the limited number of Chinook salmon caught by pollock trawlers has been put into practice by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in the Gulf of Alaska.
The regulation was recommended by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC). Under the rule, Pollock trawlers will have to avoid catching Chinook salmon as bycatch – if the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska Pollock fisheries catch 25,000 Chinook, they will have to shut down.
Jon Warrenchuk, ocean scientist, Oceana, said: “Chinook salmon are one of the most important fish in Alaska, and we should do all we can to ensure these salmon are returning to our rivers to spawn rather than being dragged up in huge pollock nets and wasted.”
With Chinook harvests and Chinook abundance declining rapidly in Alaska and the Pacific coast, the rule also requires pollock trawlers to deliver all Chinook salmon to a processing facility where and observer can count the number and collect scientific data or biological samples.
Susan Murray, Pacific senior director, Oceana, said: “Alaska is America’s last salmon stronghold. NMFS’s action today is another small step toward protecting our iconic king salmon from being wasted by trawlers.”
The rule is being implemented well into the fishing season, so the limit for the rest of this year will be 14,527 Chinook.
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