NOAA Fisheries Publishes U.S. National Bycatch Report

February 14, 2019

NOAA Fisheries has published the U.S. National Bycatch Report First Edition Update 3, which provides information on overall bycatch trends for major U.S. fisheries for 2014 and 2015.

NOAA, Northeast Fisheries Observer Program

NOAA Fisheries is committed to minimizing bycatch in U.S. fisheries, to increase the sustainability of our fisheries and help protected species recover. The NOAA Fisheries National Bycatch Report First Edition Update 3 includes bycatch estimates for major U.S. fisheries for the years 2014 and 2015. This report is the only national-level report published by NOAA Fisheries that summarizes fish, marine mammal, sea turtle, and seabird bycatch estimates on a regular basis. The report provides information on overall bycatch trends and may also inform fishery monitoring priorities.

Bycatch estimates in the report generally are indicative of bycatch amounts in particular fisheries, or relative levels of bycatch across fisheries. Data summary and analysis methods used in the report to produce comparable bycatch estimates across fisheries and regions do not reflect individual aspects of specific fisheries. The estimates may not represent the best available bycatch data for management purposes. Therefore, report data should not be used for day-to-day management of fisheries, but rather considered as a source of information on bycatch at a national level.

Highlights

Greater Atlantic: 

  • This report includes fish bycatch estimates for 34 fisheries for 2014, and 35 fisheries for 2015. 
  • The previous report had fish bycatch estimates for only 24 fisheries.

Southeast: 

  • The report includes fish bycatch estimates for the Southeastern Atlantic shrimp trawl fishery, as well as bycatch numbers for the Southeastern Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shark bottom longline research fishery.
  • It also includes updated sea turtle bycatch estimates for Southeast shrimp trawl fisheries.

Alaska

  • The report adds bycatch estimates for 10 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab fisheries under joint federal and state management.
  • Partially in response to suggestions from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the Alaska section has changed how some groundfish and halibut fisheries are defined to more accurately reflect how they are managed and prosecuted.

Looking Ahead

We are working on multiple fronts to improve our approach to bycatch, including recently asking stakeholders for ideas on how to improve the National Bycatch Report. This current report does not reflect changes based on this feedback process. We are reviewing the stakeholder comments and expect to make improvements to future versions of the report as necessary. 

 

Last updated by Office of Science and Technology on February 22, 2019