As fishery managers continue to see a decline in Pacific halibut stocks, the issue of halibut bycatch remains a top concern for scientists and halibut fishermen. This past year, an estimated 10 million pounds of halibut was unintentionally caught by trawlers or hook and line vessels targeting other species like pacific cod or arrowtooth flounder in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. To put it in perspective, that amount was about four times the commercial halibut catch in Southeast last year. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council caps the amount of allowable bycatch but only a limited percentage of vessels are actually monitored by onboard observers. During its annual meeting in Anchorage this week, the International Pacific Halibut Commission heard several recommendations on reducing bycatch from its Conference Board. That’s an advisory group made up of commercial, tribal and charter fishing representatives from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada. It was chaired this year by Bob Alverson who is Executive Director of the Fishing Vessel Owners Association in Seattle. Matt Lichtenstein asked Alverson about the boards bycatch motions: