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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Trawlers aren’t the only bycatch problem

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
    | Opinion
  • Updated: June 12, 2018
  • Published June 12, 2018

Op-ed contributor John Warrenchuk suggested that all of the wasted "valuable" fish is the fault of trawling. However, there are no observers required on longliners, crabbers or seiners that catch their fair share of bycatch that cannot be sold due to other fisheries.

Seiners often get rid of king salmon so they don't have to report them due to backlash from sport fishermen and charter companies. Longliners throw smaller halibut back for more profitable larger fish and use any extra cod or rockfish they catch as bait or just throw them overboard. Crabbers target and catch cod and use it as bait, but nobody cries about that despite vanishing cod stocks.
None of those fisheries have observers to report their bycatch at all. If you want accurate reporting, every fishery needs to report bycatch and should be allowed to sell what they catch, not waste it.

Fishermen would just like to get paid for the work they do. When rules about what they can and cannot sell bind their hands, they might find a way around it in order to support their families. Most of them follow the rules, but those rules lead to enormous amounts of edible seafood being destroyed and returned to the sea.
— Paige Simeonoff

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