The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report today (Thursday) that establishes a baseline of the nation’s fisheries bycatch. The figures are for 2005, the latest available when the study was being compiled.
Samantha Brooke was with the NOAA Office of Science and Technology when she worked on the report. She says it has value for the general public as well.
Though bycatch is a hot-button topic in much of Alaska, the rate in the state’s federal fisheries is less than half the national bycatch rate. In Alaska, the unintended catch of non-targeted species was seven percent of the total catch in 2005, while nationwide it was 17 percent.
Brooke says the study carries with it several recommendations, and that NOAA scientists are right now working on subsequent years of data to get a better picture of bycatch over time.
We’ll have more on this story during Monday’s newscasts.