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Resource Ecology & Ecosystem Modeling Program

Seabird Bycatch Estimates for the Alaska Groundfish and Halibut Fisheries

Research Reports
Fall 2014
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refer to caption
Figure 1. Total estimated bycatch of all seabirds and all albatross in Alaskan Groundfish fisheries, all gears combined -- 1993 to 2013.

In 2013 the restructured observer program expanded coverage by including vessels less than 60 feet overall and vessels in the halibut fleet. Despite this expansion, the total seabird mortality associated with the fleet was the lowest we have recorded, at 4,730 birds overall (Fig. 1, Table 1).  As was expected, however, the bycatch of albatross did increase, to 438, the second highest recorded number since 2007 and well above the average of 347.6 throughout this time period. Overall bycatch remains low when compared to the years prior to 2002 (Fig 1), when the cod freezer longline fleet and other longline vessels began extensive use of paired streamer lines. These numbers include all gear types, but do not include mortality from the trawl fleet where mortality occurs due to warp, net wing, or third wire interactions. Current estimates, beginning in 2007, are produced from the Alaska Regional Office Catch Accounting System.

A report of seabird bycatch, 2007-13 with more detailed information, including information by fishery, can be found on the AFSC website’s seabird page.

 

Table 1.  Total estimated seabird bycatch in Alaskan federal groundfish fisheries, all gear types and Fishery Management Plan areas combined, 2007 through 2013.
Species/ Species Group Year
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
     Unidentified Albatross 23 0 0 0 0 0 0
     Short-tailed Albatross 0 0 0 15 5 0 0
     Laysan Albatross 17 226 148 233 205 135 189
     Black-footed Albatross 208 314 56 48 221 141 249
     Northern Fulmar 4,806 3,334 8,200 2,452 6,214 3,022 3,268
     Shearwater 3,587 1,224 622 653 195 514 191
     Storm Petrel 1 44 0 0 0 0 0
     Gull 1,360 1,551 1,335 1,145 2,158 890 556
     Kittiwake 10 0 16 0 6 5 3
     Murre 6 6 13 102 14 6 3
     Puffin 0 0 0 5 0 0 0
     Auklet 0 3 0 0 0 7 4
     Other Alcid 0 0 105 0 0 0 0
     Other Bird 0 0 136 0 0 0 0
     Unidentified 522 541 696 240 306 285 267
     Total 10,540 7,243 11,325 4,894 9,324 5,005 4,730

 

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