HALIBUT BYCATCH---Here is how you can help right now!
Everyone---It doesn't matter if you're a sport fisherman, personal use, charter, private or commercial, the NPFMC needs to hear from you that taking 7 MILLION POUNDS of halibut as bycatch is not acceptable in light of the declining halibut fisheries. Charters, and longliners have all taken drastic cuts to our bag limits and quotas, but the trawl fleet continues to kill a massive amount of halibut that would otherwise migrate into the gulf of Alaska as they grow.
The NPFMC needs to hear from you how important it is that the trawl fleet bycatch be reduced. Here is how you can provide input by e-mail to email@example.com
Here are some Key Talking Points to get you started (and your blood boiling):
· As a ________ (commercial halibut fisherman, charter operator, sport halibut fisherman, subsistence fisherman, consumer of halibut, etc.) I strongly support immediate action to reduce halibut bycatch (halibut PSC) in the Bering Sea by at least 50%.
· Bering Sea halibut fisheries are facing a crisis. The harvest levels recommended by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) for 2015 would reduce catch limits for areas 4CDE by 71% from 2014 levels, and harvests in the directed halibut fisheries in this region have been reduced by 69% from 2007-2013.
· At the same time, the halibut bycatch limits have remained virtually unchanged at over 7 mlbs.
· In 2015, if the IPHC’s recommended harvest limits for Area 4CDE are adopted, this means that 92% of the total halibut harvest will be allocated as bycatch, with only a smidgen leftover for the directed fisheries.
· The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires under National Standard 9 that bycatch be reduced.
· National Standard 8 requires councils provide for the sustained participation of fishery dependent communities, but unless the council acts now Bering Sea communities will be cut off from this historic fishery while trawlers are allowed to continue killing halibut in the very same area.
· Communities who depend on the halibut resource and the resource do not have the luxury of waiting for reductions in bycatch to be made: bycatch reductions must be made now.
· Halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea must be reduced comparable to the reductions to the directed fisheries. Halibut bycatch should be reduced by no less than 50%.