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The Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC) placed an ad in the paper last week reporting that the Bering Sea trawl fleet intercepted 487,500 salmon in 2004. We reported that the fish were "thrown away" as bycatch. However, we were mistaken about what happened to the salmon. In fact most were donated to a food bank distributor in Seattle.
It's good that the salmon bycatch went to hungry people. However, salmon bycatch is still a big concern. These fish belong in the ocean finding their way to the Yukon, Kuskokwim and Norton Sound rivers. There they provide for village subsistence needs, local commercial fisheries and the health of the salmon population. It is not acceptable for the trawl fleet to catch so many salmon when they are targeting pollock.
Last week the North Pacific Fishery Management Council met in Anchorage. Community representatives, the trawl industry and AMCC all agreed that this problem is very important and we need to work toward solutions. We are encouraged by this joint effort. In turn, we encourage you to talk to your village councils and leaders to ensure all concerns are met.
Alaska Marine Conservation Council