Pacific Council News Spring 2019: Highly migratory species

Council explores ways to measure bycatch, interactions in drift gillnet fishery

In March, the Highly Migratory Species Management Team reported on the development of new methods to report bycatch rates in the large-mesh drift gillnet fishery relative to performance metrics.

Performance metrics provide a way for the Council to monitor the drift gillnet fishery’s bycatch of finfish and interactions with certain marine mammals and sea turtles compared to historical levels or performance objectives. If these numbers are consistently at a level higher than one of the performance objectives, the Council may consider whether new measures are necessary to limit bycatch or reduce interactions with protected species. In June the team will report on bycatch estimates for the 2016/17 fishery for 22 species as well as measures of the overall bycatch rate for the fishery.

The team is also assessing the uncertainty surrounding bycatch estimates under different levels of observer coverage, and is working on ways to reduce bycatch if the fishery fails to meet its standards.

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