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Thread: State water pollock trawl fishery - bad idea?

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    Default State water pollock trawl fishery - bad idea?

    file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/draft_walleye_plan.pdf

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...up.meetinginfo

    The Board of Fish has established a working group to create a state waters pollock fishery which does not sound like a good idea to me on the surface. However, I do not know much about this proposal and working group other than a new fishery closer to shore has to have unknown consequences on other stocks. If one is trying to reduce bycatch of chinook in the federal pollock fishery why would one add a statewater commercial fishery. Looks to me like some seine boat owners (can convert their boats to this fishery) want to make some more money but at what cost?

    Any thoughts on this? What are the risks to near shore populations of other species including rearing salmon, rockfish, halibut, etc.

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    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/ap.../506724692.pdf
    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/ap.../381958384.pdf

    This is already going on in PWS. Last year it closed after seven days when the rockfish bycatch cap of 42,891 lbs was reached (see the second link). There are a lot of pollack around now and I guess this fishery is cleaner than most trawl fisheries, but it would be nice to see a cleaner way to get them.

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    There is already a state water trawl fishery for pollock that occurs during the federal parallel season, and a separate state water PWS trawl fishery. The current experimental fishery with the use of a commissioner's permit is to study the possibility of utilizing seine and jig gear for pollock. Each set is monitored and there is 100% observer coverage on these seiners. Bycatch is recorded and released if alive, otherwise it is donated to the food bank. The trip limit is very small, at (from memory) about 25,000 lbs with a total allocation of (again from memory) something like 200,000 lbs. Compare to the PWS state water trawl fishery that has a 300,00lb trip limit and an 8 million pound allocation. Part of the reason for this experimental fishery is to determine whether bycatch can be reduced or eliminated, while providing small boat opportunity for local fleets. Currently all the pollock are caught by Kodiak trawlers and returned to Kodiak for processing. Jan Rumble with ADF&G is the department contact on this fishery and it is being monitored very closely.

    The advantage to the state to have a state water fishery, would be the opportunity to take up to 25% of the total pollock TAC and the associated by catch, and support smaller boats and processors. The state would also hold 25% of the total bycatch TAC, but could set more stringent bycatch quotas and actually reduce bycatch overall. I suggest that anyone interested in this fishery please become informed on the current status of the fisheries, and look at the commisioner's permit. Additionally, the catch information and bycatch information is public information because the seiner participating agreed to waive the confidentiality provisions under catch reports.

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    Also, it has been hypothesized that the huge pollock biomass has been consuming salmon smolts, and shellfish in their larval state, thereby contributing to the decline in shellfish stocks, as well as chinook marine survival.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/draft_walleye_plan.pdf

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...up.meetinginfo

    The Board of Fish has established a working group to create a state waters pollock fishery which does not sound like a good idea to me on the surface. However, I do not know much about this proposal and working group other than a new fishery closer to shore has to have unknown consequences on other stocks. If one is trying to reduce bycatch of chinook in the federal pollock fishery why would one add a statewater commercial fishery. Looks to me like some seine boat owners (can convert their boats to this fishery) want to make some more money but at what cost?

    Any thoughts on this? What are the risks to near shore populations of other species including rearing salmon, rockfish, halibut, etc.
    The BOF working group is headed by Jeffrey and Jensen. My recollection is that about the time that the NPFMC started talking about catch shares in the fed and parallel fisheries, the commissioner got nervous and wanted some direction from the BOF. So the chairman created the working group for the purpose of determining whether a GHL state managed trawl / seine fishery would be beneficial. From that came the seine test fishery conducted in the Homer area. Beaver Nelson conducted it and the last attempt got some marketable pollock and no chinook. The parallel fishery is in state waters using federal regulations that the state adopts. Only federally licensed vessels and owners can participate. There is a lot of opposition to a GHL fishery coming, of course from the federal fleet. Have heard that there is strong support from some BOF members to give it a try. And heard that during one of the recent BOF meetings the chairman got everyone to agree to a pollock regulatory meeting to be held in Oct of this year. There will likely be a lot of proposals coming to create a state pollock fishery. Won't happen if the Commissioner fights it. But Cotten is a guy who likes coastal waters fisheries and he might support the concept.The new guy, Johnson is an employee of BBEDC which benefits from coastal community development and who will likely be in support. Just the opposite from former commissioner Cora.

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    It was Rob Nelson on the Sea Prince, and Jake Wise on the Silver Streak that did the seine fishery this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    It was Rob Nelson on the Sea Prince, and Jake Wise on the Silver Streak that did the seine fishery this year.
    Perhaps so. Is Rob, Beaver's son. i spoke to Beaver and he personally told me of his experiences both times he went out. First time he said they caught very marketable pollock, both for bait and fillets, but also caught several Kings. Second time lots of pollock but most were pretty small, but no Kings. Who owns the Silver Streak?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seinerman View Post
    Also, it has been hypothesized that the huge pollock biomass has been consuming salmon smolts, and shellfish in their larval state, thereby contributing to the decline in shellfish stocks, as well as chinook marine survival.
    That's a very interesting hypothesis.
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    Didn't read all the stuff on the ADFG link, but here's my take on it. Seinerman and Questairtoo have it right. Council is getting closer to "rationalsation" and the small boat fleet (seiners and jiggers) don't want the door closed on them in case there's potential for a viable fishery. This is a good move in my opinion as I'm not a fan of trawling (tho the post title says trawl fishery) . The trawlers may see this as a future allocation grab, but screw them. If there is potential for a clean, local, small boat fishery then that's where I think it should go. The current problem is viable markets which the Kachemak Bay seiners are working on-kudos to them. Pollack are a low value species and mostly only economically viable when harvested in large quantities, which trawl gear is effective at.
    As a small boat comm fisher I'm watching this closely.

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    Yes, Rob is Beavers son. The Silver Streak is run by Jake Wise, and family owned. Beaver is a good friend of mine!

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    As of yet they have not made fuel money!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    As of yet they have not made fuel money!
    Yeah, I heard that as well. But Beaver seemed to be hopeful. They are using a herring seine, but the Dept has not been very helpful about providing observer coverage. i think that the Dept might be putting as many hurdles up as possible to discourage the BOF from moving forward on a GHL trawl fishery. That is until Cotten gets wind of it. He might provide a bit smoother sailing for it. Trawlers are going to be fishing in state waters one way or another. It is a matter whether they will be limited to federally licensed vessels or more localized and smaller vessels in an open entry system. A catch share ( rationalized ) fishery could have the effect of forever preventing a GHL fishery from occurring. A state GHL fishery could work if there were sufficient safeguards to prevent by catch. Observers, electronic monitoring could be employed. Reasonable trip limits and registration would be good tools as well. The Oct BOF meeting, if it happens, will be very interesting and the real big guns will come out for it.

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    I proposed limiting the size of the cod end as well as 100k lbs trip limits, plus a 24 hour stand down after a trip so the state can monitor harvest and bycatch. By limiting the size of the cod end, a 42 foot boat would have the same net advantage as a 58 foot boat, much like seine and gillnets are now specified. After discussions with the ground fish bios in Cordova, Homer and Kodiak, it is pretty clear that the state water pollock fishery that currently takes place has a very low bycatch rate. One of the problems I see with a seine fishery will be if it occurs at night under lights, it will bring the pollock up, but also everything else. Daylight trawling is a very targeted harvest method. Also, a trawl can be scaled to the boat, but a seine big enough to seine pollock would limit this seine fishery to 58' limit seiners.

    The jig fishery is low impact, low bycatch, and also low volume, but also a great starter fishery and a good way to augment a gillnet or seine season. Also, rod and reels can be used as jig machines, making this a great way to (disclaimer here - I'm not a tax guy) to write off your an expensive sport boat.

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    I have participated in the State trawl fishery in the past. The main bycatch in the PWS fishery was squid. In the Kodiak pollock fishery there was a lot more bycatch including kings and sharks.

    The problem with seining pollock is the depth. They seemed to hang out in the 100 to 125 fthm range, and seining them at that depth will never happen. There will be a few at other depths, but the big schools were deep. Maybe there is a time of year they surface? But this is the time of year we fished them. Bainbridge has a lot of pollock.
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    Thanks for the information I am learning quite a bit.

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    The bycatch in PWS was squid? Interesting, would love to target them with Rob and reel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR2 View Post
    The bycatch in PWS was squid? Interesting, would love to target them with Rob and reel.
    They were the nice fat 15 to 18 inch long by 2 to 3 inch wide squid. Perfect for calamari or for marinading. Really meaty squid. We ate all we wanted and the rest would end up in the hold with the pollock. At the cannery, they didn't go to waste either. The Filipino workers picked them out and what they didn't want, they shared with friends. I watched many baskets filled with squid get steamed with a steam hose just for snacks around the cannery. That was at the old North Pacific Seafoods Cannery in Cordova. (Now Trident) They don't process pollock there any more.
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    Go to the east side of Lone Island, late in the evening, turn on some really bright lights and drift for a little while, you'll have squid all around your boat. Don't know if it is legal to fish that way, I've just seen them in my crab lights while working.

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    I've caught squid before at Esther Is. in my gillnet too.
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