NPFMC Testimony: Wilt
North Pacific Fishery Management Council ~ 221st Plenary Session
Seattle Renaissance Hotel February 6, 2015
Good morning members of the Council, My name is Andrew Wilt, I am a crew member within the amendment 80 fleet. I am speaking on behalf of myself and fellow crew members. I'd like to apologise in advance if I mis-use terms but I'm just one of the many people who work on board not on A board.
I'm here today to ask you to please take into consideration the effects that the possible halibut by-catch reduction would have on our fleet and the many other fleets that this would affect.
The majority of our fleet and especially the co-op my vessels are members of utilize excluder nets, cameras, observers, and constant communication with other vessels (Alaska seafood Co-Op) to avoid halibut dense areas and minimize by-catch of this species.
My employer has always been a strong advocate of sustainable fishing and ecologically responsible practices within our industry. What is currently being proposed is essentially taking $20 from Peter to give Paul $1.
The proposal would potentially cause the loss of millions of dollarsto the economy all along the
western coast of north America.
As the economist estimated earlier, a 35% reduction would cost the amendment 80 fleet roughly 20 million dollars alone while only gaining the halibut fleet approximately 53 million dollars.
This is not a solution but only an aid to one fishery while cutting into the revenue of all of the other fisheries.
Reducing the bycatch limits by30, 40, or even 50 percent as some have proposed could cause many boats and jobs to be docked far earlier in the year than they currently are, meaning less income for members of the fishing industry and the many communities that rely on our presence.
I implore you to reconsider lowering the minimum size limits for the halibut fisheries.
I am concerned that potential profits for the halibut fishing community are being lost unnecessarily.
I also strongly agree with many members of the fishing community that deck sorting is the largest tool that we could use to decrease by-catch mortality rates that that could clearly aid the bio mass expansion within the halibut fishery.
Thank you for your Time, consideration, and the work that you all do to protect the fishing industry's way of life.