Bycatch Reduction, Marine Debris Addressed by MCA at American Fisheries Society Meeting in Ottawa

Progress toward addressing the issues of bycatch and marine debris reduction will be featured at the MCA’s booth at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

The 138th Annual Meeting of the AFS takes place at the Ottawa Congress Centre and Westin Hotel August 17‐21, 2008. The theme of the meeting is “Fisheries in Flux: How Do We Ensure Our Sustainable Future.”

“Two key issues affecting fisheries sustainability are the reduction of bycatch, the incidental harvest of non‐target species, and the problem of plastic pollution in our marine environment,” said Dave Benton, executive director of MCA and MCA Foundation. “Our booth will document work toward the design of halibut and salmon excluder devices for trawl nets as well as our nationally‐recognized efforts at marine debris cleanup.”

One excluder device incorporates slots in the side of codfish trawls that allow halibut to escape. The other has escapement portals on the top of pollock nets that allow salmon to escape during slowdowns and haul backs. Underwater video of the excluder designs in action will be presented.

The MCA Foundation’s marine debris cleanup work, with support from NOAA, removed over 175 metric tons of mostly plastic debris from the Alaska shoreline last year and is on a pace to equal that in 2008. The cleanup work was the recipient of NOAA’s Sustainable Fisheries Leadership Award for coastal habitat restoration earlier this year.

MCAF’s presentations will be at Booth 322 throughout the annual meeting. Staffing the booth will be MCA board member Lori Swanson of the Groundfish Forum, assisted by Diane Scoboria.

The Marine Conservation Alliance is a Juneau, Alaska-based trade association whose members include fishermen, vessel owners, processors and fishing communities involved in the Groundfish and crab fisheries in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. The MCA Foundation is the non profit arm of the MCA that focuses on cooperative research and marine debris education and cleanup.
For more information on MCA, visit, or call Dave Benton at 907-523-0731. For more
information on the AFS’s annual meeting visit