Today, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy issued an Administrative Order that forms the Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force, (ABRT), to help better understand unintended bycatch of high value fishery resources in State and federal waters.
“It’s imperative that the state’s fisheries are managed in a way that ensures their success for future generations,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “By bringing together stakeholders, to include sport and commercial fishermen, federal and State fisheries managers, lawmakers, and the general public, this task force will provide valuable recommendations to help better understand and address the issues of bycatch.”
Bycatch is defined as fish that are harvested in a fishery but are not sold or kept.
While additional factors are almost certainly in play, recent declines in the numbers of halibut, crab, and certain salmon stocks have focused attention on the issue of bycatch. Bycatch can be a component of overfishing and can hinder efforts to rebuild fish stocks.
Among the work requested by Governor Dunleavy, the task force will:
- Study what impacts bycatch has on fisheries.
- Evaluate and recommend policies informed by a better understanding of the issue of bycatch of high-value Alaska fishery resources.
- Ensure state agencies are leveraging available resources to better understand the issue of bycatch.
- Utilize the best available science to inform policymakers and the public about these issues.
The Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force will have 13 voting members who are appointed by Governor Dunleavy and two non-voting members of the Legislature. Governor Dunleavy will select a Chair and Vice-Chair from the voting members of the task force.
“Alaskans of all backgrounds want to better understand the issue of bycatch. I look forward to the work and recommendations of the task force on ways we can better understand the issues and impacts of bycatch to further protect our state’s incredible fishery resources,” said Governor Dunleavy.
The Administrative Order takes effect immediately and will sunset on Nov. 30, 2022.
Read the Bycatch Administrative Order here.
For those who are interested in serving, you can apply online at www.boards.alaska.gov/apply