56 hours in Dutch Harbor

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting this week way out in Dutch Harbor.

As usual, the agenda is packed, with a total of 56 hours of meeting time scheduled.

Deckboss is hard-pressed to find much excitement in this meeting, as the council isn't expected to take final action on any major issues.

One item likely to stir some interesting conversation, however, concerns the council's intent to reduce the allowable bycatch of halibut in the Gulf of Alaska.

The council in April put some options on the table for cutting the halibut bycatch limit by 5 to 15 percent for Gulf trawl and fixed-gear fleets.

Council members are expected to chew on the numbers further in Dutch Harbor, then select a "final preferred alternative" at their December meeting in Anchorage.

When all is said and done, regulators could implement tighter halibut bycatch limits early next year.

Bycatch, of course, is a hot topic these days due to recent declines in Gulf halibut biomass and rising tensions between two competing fleets — charter boats and commercial longliners — dependent on the fish.

Here's the council's draft analysis on the halibut bycatch issue. The first page has a nice summary. Thorough types are welcome to continue through the remaining 464 pages.