Chance to comment of Trawler by catch of halibut right now!
Quit complaining and do something about it!
Take Action to Reduce Waste of Our Halibut Resource!
Comments to Fishery Managers on Halibut Bycatch Needed By Tuesday, September 20th
Halibut populations in the Gulf of Alaska have varied dramatically in recent years, with concerning trends impacting halibut fishermen and communities that depend upon this vital resource. The portion of the halibut population that is available for commercial harvest has declined by 50% over the past decade. Commercial and sport fishermen have been severely impacted by these cuts. The same halibut on which our fisheries and communities depend are caught as bycatch in the trawl and hook and line fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska. Designated prohibited species catch (PSC) these halibut cannot be retained and must be returned to the water, many of them dead, to prevent any vessel from profiting from wasteful fishing practices.
While commercial and recreational fishermen have experienced dramatic cuts in their harvests, the limit on halibut PSC bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska has not been changed since 1986. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is finally considering reductions in the bycatch (or PSC – prohibited species catch) in the Gulf of Alaska. Currently there is a halibut PSC bycatch limit of 2,300 metric tons (mt) in the GOA—or just over 5 million pounds!
Fishery managers can—and should— ensure more equitable conservation measures across sectors by requiring the fisheries responsible for halibut bycatch to face reductions just as the directed halibut fisheries have.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will take up the issue of halibut bycatch this fall. At their upcoming meeting in Dutch Harbor September 26-Oct 4, fishery managers will conduct an initial review of halibut bycatch reduction options. In December at their meeting in Anchorage, the Council is scheduled to take final action on halibut PSC bycatch. The Council is currently considering a range of reductions from 5-15% for the trawl and fixed gear fleets in the Gulf of Alaska.
Fishery managers need to hear from all halibut stakeholders in order to stimulate action to reduce this waste of our precious halibut resource.
Make Your Voice Heard: Send a Letter to Fishery Managers
Letters must be received by Tuesday, September 20 to be included in Council member packets. Letters should be addressed to:
North Pacific Fishery Management Council
605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306
Anchorage, AK 99501-2252
Letters do not have to be long or complex. Making the point known that you strongly support action to reduce halibut bycatch now is the most important. Discussing how halibut is vital to you and your community and how continued waste of the halibut resource could affect your business, livelihood and/or community is also helpful.
Other points to consider making:
• As a stakeholder of the halibut resource (describe your stake), you strongly support reductions in halibut bycatch (halibut PSC) in the Gulf of Alaska.
• The Council should reduce bycatch by the maximum amount being considered—15%. This reduction is still insufficient and further reductions to halibut bycatch levels should be made in the future.
• It is time for the Council to take action and reduce the halibut bycatch limit for the Gulf of Alaska. Action should not be delayed for any reason.
• Fishermen who participate in directed halibut fisheries have been facing reductions in their harvest for years—yet the fisheries that cause mortality to halibut as a waste have continued to operate under the same limits since 1989.
• The exploitable biomass—the portion of the halibut population that is available for harvest—has declined by 50% over the past decade.
• The catch limit for the commercial halibut fishery in 2C, 3A and 3B has been reduced by over 50% from 2002-2011, and the daily catch limits for the charter sector in 2C has been reduced from 2 fish of any size to 1 fish less than 37”. New proposals for the charter sector in 3A could also reduce bag limits and impose size limitations.
• This inequity needs to be addressed immediately and halibut bycatch must be reduced NOW.
Take Further Action: Contact Fishery Managers, the Governor’s Office, or Send a Letter to the Editor!
If you wish to make your voice directly heard, visit the NPFMC website for a list of NPFMC members and contact information. Also call Governor Sean Parnell and let the State of Alaska know how you feel about wasting our precious and valuable fish as bycatch. The State has a seat on the NPFMC and should be a leader in reducing bycatch. To reach the Governor’s office dial (907) 465-3500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.It’s also important to get the issue of the waste of halibut as bycatch out there in the media. Send in a letter to the editor or longer opinion piece to local, regional papers or fishing trade publications. A list of sources can be found here.
Sending letter today, thanks for posting.
This is so important. Do it!