Alaska's Halibut in Decline
Alaska’s halibut population has seen recent declines, especially in the southeast. For over a decade, catch limits have substantially decreased. 2015 brought a small increase in harvest numbers, largely thanks to careful research and recommendations for by-catch reduction methods made by members of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. The Alaska halibut population needs attentive eyes and cooperation of all of those involved in Alaska’s fisheries to ensure health and thriving populations. Alaska has been one of the most bountiful places in the world to fish for halibut, and we need to work to keep it that way.
Protecting Alaska Fish in Urban Areas
Restricting the commercial use of set nets in Alaska’s urban areas isn’t about attacking or competing with commercial fishermen. It’s about managing our fisheries in a sustainable way and protecting fish for future generations.
Commercial set nets indiscriminately catch any fish that passes upstream, including species that are threatened or in decline. When non-targeted species are caught, these fish are considered by-catch and legally cannot be sold or used, thus going to waste. In fact, set nets have the highest rate of by-catch of any fishing method allowed in Alaska, and they also have unacceptably high rates of mortality for fish that somehow escape the netting.
Over the last 25 years, several states have taken measures against commercial set nets after their fish stocks declined to dangerous levels. Texas, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, New York, and California have prohibited commercial set nets, while Oregon and Washington have severely restricted their use. Alaska prides itself on being a world model for sustainable fisheries management, yet this indiscriminate and wasteful harvest method continues to be used.