Ship's Blog - Fishermen's Finest

Visit: www.BycatchFacts.Org for more information 

Halibut bycatch in the waters off Alaska is a contentious issue that has recently come under increased scrutiny. As new solutions are considered – some with far-reaching consequences – it’s important that the complexities of the issue are understood.

First, what is bycatch? Bycatch is fish that are caught but not kept on board a fishing vessel. Although fishermen try to avoid it, every fishery has bycatch. In some cases it’s fish that are too small or aren’t marketable. In others, it’s fish that are illegal to keep. In the Bering Sea halibut intermingle with other desired fish such as Pacific cod and flatfish, making it impossible to completely avoid halibut when catching these species. All halibut unintentionally caught by the groundfish fishery must be thrown back by law.

Two North Pacific Council Members Must Recuse Themselves on Halibut Bycatch Vote

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  By Peggy Parker and John Sackton  May 13, 2015

Two of the eleven voting members on the council were notified yesterday that they will need to recuse themselves, due to financial conflict of interest, on the halibut bycatch vote slated for the first week in June.

Siimon Kineen, Vice President & Quota & Acquisitions Manager for the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC) and David Long, Captain and Fish Master for Glacier Fish Company, will be able to participate in all aspects of the Council’s deliberations relating to halibut bycatch, but must recuse themselves from voting. Both have the option to state for the record how they would have voted.

There is a lot at stake when dealing with the Halibut issue in the Bering Sea.  For every pound of halibut  there is a 1:12 ratio between Halibut directed Fishery and the Amendment 80 fleet.  

Further, and most importantly, the Amendment 80 numbers are verified by Federal Fisheries Observers; there are no observers on halibut directed fishery vessels.

Finally, don't let the halibut biomass anomoly punish a fleet "that has done everything right, in terms of bycatch reduction, reducing habitat impact, and cooperative fishing."

A fleet that supports the Coastal communities of:

Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a weekly basis in these ports and helping reduce the trade deficit.  

Read more about this important issue that threatens the Amendment 80 Sector, Alaska Coastal Communities, and US Export Economy

Fishermen's Finest ~ a team of excellence ~ our name says it all. 

 

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

As the Sitka North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting nears (June 1-9), we couldn't help but notice the similarities between the current 'protectionist' movement to devastate the fishing export economy of Alaska (Amendment 80 fleet) for the well-meaning save the local small boat economy (Halibut) fishery, AND the Smoot Hawley Tariff of 1930.

 

Here's theback-story, in case you have forgotten. In 1930, well meaning Senator Reed Smoot (Utah) and Congressman Willis Hawley (Oregon) fought to protect the local (for today's exercise, Halibut) industry from the 'boogeyman' (Amendment 80); what resulted was a temporary increase in revenue for the locals, followed by a collapse of all industry (the Great Depression).

Read more about this in the Economist's "A cautionary tale of how a protectionist measure was passed." 

As the 223rd Plenary North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting nears (June/Sitka), we are finding supporters across the board.  Thank you to Jeff Bentz, president of North Star Terminal & Stevedore Co., LLC for their support of the Amendment 80 sector

Read about Agenda item C-2 Halibut Bycatch 

Fishermen's Finest ~ a team of excellence ~ our name says it all. 

Excerpts from today's SeafoodNew.com article by Peggy Parker & John Sackton 

Chris Woodley, Executive Director of the Groundfish Forum, a trade association of five flatfish trawl companies under Amendment 80, says everyone understands the importance of reducing bycatch, and says the Amendment 80 fleet has already been successful in reducing bycatch.  These reductions are reflected in IPHC and council data.   

“The concern we have,” Woodley says, “is that using the blunt tool of reallocation may not only not solve the problem, it could make it worse. A 50% reduction would shift the focus and make it ten times larger.  

“I think the biggest problem is the time crunch. There’s a large push to get this resolved in June. i think there’s probably some good ideas that have not come to the surface yes, as the Council is focused on the reallocation issue. 

Woodley says there’s a saying in the Coast Guard, his former employer: “If you want it bad, you get it bad,” saying there are potential tools like abundance based caps that have not been fully explored. 

“The other big thing for us is the Amendment 80 fleet employs some 2,000 people who work on our boats, they and their families are dependent on fishing jobs. 

“A 50% cut  would mean we would tie up our boats in June,” Woodley said. 

“Our efficiency on halibut  is .6%,” says Woodley. “Our target species is 99.4% of the catch.”

“The last thing I want people to know is how our cargo is handled. All our cargo goes to Dutch Harbor and is hauled away in containers or tramp vessels. It takes stevedores, tugs, marine pilots, millions of dollars and hundreds of people to get that cargo to its destination. We spent $45 million in fuel in Alaska last year.”

 

Fishermen's Finest is pleased to once again be part of the Seattle Maritime Festival's Career Fair today at the Georgetown Campus of the South Seattle Community College.

Read more about the Festival:  Maritime 101

See our previous posts on this valuable service the Propeller Club and Maritime Industry provide to educate the Seattle community of the career opportunities in the Fishing Industry and other maritime sectors.

Fishermen's Finest ~ a team of excellence ~ our name says it all. 

We are thankful for the support of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union as the 223rd Plenary Meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council nears - June / Sitka.  The halibut issue (Agenda item C-2) is up for Final Action - read more - IPHC Halibut History 

Fishermen's Finest, and ILWU - a team of excellence - our name says it all.