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Thread: Halibut trawl by-catch Final Action! Please read...

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    Member jockomontana's Avatar
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    Default Halibut trawl by-catch Final Action! Please read...

    First, thank you for the many letters sent by the members of this Forum during the initial regulatory review of this issue. Now we are coming up on Final action in early June. So if you were ever going to write a letter about this, now is the time.

    First let me explain what and why this needs to stop:

    THE WASTEFUL PRACTICE OF KILLING AND DISCARDING MILLIONS OF JUVENILE PACIFIC HALIBUT IN THE BERING SEA BY THE A80 TRAWL FLEET

    13 out of 14 halibut caught in the Bering Sea this year will be discarded dead as Trawler By Catch!

    Why do you care what happens in the Bering Sea?

    International Pacific Halibut Commission Satellite tagging has shown that the Bering Sea is a huge nursery for Pacific halibut. Halibut from this area migrate from the Bering to coastal areas from Forth Bragg to Kodiak. All directed fishers – Longliners and Sport Charters are linked to abundance of the halibut stocks….

    The problem is that the powerful Amendment 80 Bering Sea bottom trawl sector’s by catch of halibut is not linked to abundance.
    As the halibut stocks have declined, the trawl by catch has BECOME THE ENTIRE FISHERY in the Bering Sea. So while small boat long liners and charter operators have seen reductions to 70%, the Amendment 80 Bering Sea trawl sector has made no sacrifices for conservation and still is arguing that until the stock is listed "overfished" there is no need to lower their by catch levels. As a matter of fact they have been collecting signatures at Walmart's across the west, arguing that killing and wasting these halibut is an economic necessity in order to continue to catch low value flatfish for fish sticks. They have collected thousands of signatures from fish stick eaters that did not hear the other side of the argument. The truth is this is not about fish sticks or fillet of fish sandwiches, it is about halibut wastage at unacceptable levels. Don't worry, there are plenty of low value fish that can be converted into fish sticks if that is what floats your boat.

    This sector of the trawl fleet has been unwilling to change their behavior to reduce their halibut by catch and the resource is at a point where all other small boat fishermen, longliners, mostly native Alaskans from the remote Aleutian Island and Pribiloff Islands will not be allowed to fish at all in 2016 if the North Pacific Fishery Management Council does not take dramatic action at their June meeting in Sitka. This will be the first time in history that these very hard working small boat fishermen will not be allowed to catch halibut, that they depend on to survive. Make no mistake, these are men that venture out into the Bering Sea in boats that are 32 – 58 feet long and risk their lives to bring fish home to provide for their families.

    They are requesting the North Pacific Fishery Management Council reduce Halibut by catch of this fleet of giant trawlers by at least 45% in June

    Right now, there are more individual halibut being caught and discarded dead in the Bering Sea than the entire fishery is keeping for sport and food.

    The guidelines are clearly stated in federal law under Magnuson Stevens

    National Standard 8 – Communities
    Conservation and management measures shall, consistent with the conservation requirements of this Act (including the prevention of overfishing and rebuilding of overfished stocks), take into account the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities by utilizing economic and social data that meet the requirement of paragraph (2) [i.e., National Standard 2], in order to (a) provide for the sustained participation of such communities, and (b) to the extent practicable, minimize adverse economic impacts on such communities.

    National Standard 9 – By catch
    Conservation and management measures shall, to the extent practicable, (a) minimize by catch and (b) to the extent by catch cannot be avoided, minimize the mortality of such by catch.

    YOU CAN SUBMIT ELECTRONIC COMMENTS RIGHT NOW AND IT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!

    Submit comments to:

    npfmc.comments@noaa.gov

    Your letter might look something like this ( please say whatever you feel but if you need guidance, look above or at what is on here):



    North Pacific Fishery Management Council

    Attention: Dan Hull, Chairman

    RE: C2 – Bering Sea Halibut PSC Final action


    My name is _________________________, I live _________________________ and I fish ( recreationally) in Alaska for halibut.

    I as a recreational fisherman and I am very concerned about the high level of by catch of Halibut in the Bering Sea as described in your Final action item C2 - Bering Sea Halibut PSC.

    We know that the Bering Sea has a huge population of juvenile halibut and that those halibut migrate from the Bering Sea to other areas throughout the range of the pacific halibut. Right now the trawl by catch is preventing millions of halibut from leaving the Bering Sea and repopulating other areas.
    This practice must be curtailed immediately or rural communities will suffer and the future of halibut fishing all over the Pacific will continue to be threatened. These are unacceptable risks to most of the users of this iconic resource to the benefit of a small number of trawl vessel owners and crews. It is one thing to ask all users to conserve a resource, but it is quite another all together to ask most users to sacrifice and conserve the resource to benefit of a specific group of large factory trawlers. That is what is happening and it is not fair or equitable. By Catch not only needs to be reduced and then linked to abundance, so all users can share in the sacrifice and in the benefits of a healthy resource.

    Please show Alaskans you care about the communities and the resource and take significant action to reduce Bering Sea By Catch of halibut to a level that provides opportunity for the rest of us and protects millions juvenile halibut for being caught and discarded.

    Sincerely,
    (your name)

    *** Thanks for reading this post and taking the time to comment on this issue. Fisheries Resource Management often shows us how the Tragedy of the Commons is inevitable unless we revise our practices with some effort of Conservation. Let the NPFMC know how you feel!

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking the time to post this RN.
    It is a very important issue that requires the attention of anyone who sport fishes for halibut. It takes a few minutes to send a comment in and they count for a lot.
    Please take the time, its easy.

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Sent!!!

    I did change"Please show Alaskans you care" to "Please show Alaskans and visiting anglers you care" though.

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    Done! Everyone should get on this!

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    Done sent in a letter.
    "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles." Doug Larson

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jockomontana View Post
    YOU CAN SUBMIT ELECTRONIC COMMENTS RIGHT NOW AND IT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!

    Submit comments to:

    npfmc.comments@noaa.gov
    Comments need to be submitted before 5 P.M. on 26 May.

    Don't wait until the last minute!


    Rep points to the OP for carrying the torch.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
    #Resist

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Thanks for stepping up. Everyone should care about this issue. We all want to see the halibut resource get stronger for the future.

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    Member cod's Avatar
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    Thanks for the heads up, Jocko. Did it too.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    Sent. One thing i just recently found out from a customer that is connected with the No More Fishing Service (NMFS) is that when the trawl is hauled and dumped on deck the guys on deck are not allowed to pick any halibut or other fish out of the pile until the whole pile has been run down into the factory for the federal observers to do their bean counting of the catch. WHAT A DUMB MOVE !!! Let the guys on deck pitch overboard the live halibut so they at least have a chance to live not wait till they get smashed by tons of the other fish. I'd bet that would save 1000's of halibut from being wasted. No way will they save them all but even a small number will help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRIFTER_016 View Post
    Sent!!!

    I did change"Please show Alaskans you care" to "Please show Alaskans and visiting anglers you care" though.
    Me too!

    Big_E

  11. #11
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by potbuilder View Post
    Sent. One thing i just recently found out from a customer that is connected with the No More Fishing Service (NMFS) is that when the trawl is hauled and dumped on deck the guys on deck are not allowed to pick any halibut or other fish out of the pile until the whole pile has been run down into the factory for the federal observers to do their bean counting of the catch. WHAT A DUMB MOVE !!! Let the guys on deck pitch overboard the live halibut so they at least have a chance to live not wait till they get smashed by tons of the other fish. I'd bet that would save 1000's of halibut from being wasted. No way will they save them all but even a small number will help.
    Some perspective:
    Because most Bering Sea trawl fisheries operate under bycatch mortality quotas as well as quotas for targeted species, fishermen have a natural incentive to reduce—and sometimes hide—the halibut and other prohibited species they catch. Most Bering Sea factory trawl vessels outside the pollock fisheries carry just one fisheries observer, if they carry one at all. Because the vessels are typically more than 100 feet long, one person cannot see everything at one glance. Observers sample the catch and make species composition extrapolations based on those samples. Therefore observers on the vessels in question can only provide estimates, not actual counts, of bycatch and bycatch mortality. Observers typically take their samples at an inside station, usually near the point where the fish enter the factory. Because of this, the observers are often unable to see what is happening on deck or even in other parts of the factory. If the observer never gets to see the fish, it can not be used in the observer’s extrapolation. http://doc.nprb.org/web/03_prjs/r0325%20revised.pdf
    Lacking deck cameras a single observer at the factory station would likely not even know if deck crews were shoveling bycatch overboard.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Sent as well. I left the letter as is, but started off by saying:


    Around the world, the by catch of prize fish from commercial fishing as a whole has gotten way out of hand for the "greater take" of lesser fish to be sold for profit. In this day in age, with science, education, and technology at it's highest level worldwide, why does it still have to come down to the almighty dollar even when a known resource is suffering?

    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    More perspective:
    The Canadians went from 2 million pounds of halibut bycatch mortality to slightly under 300,000 pounds of halibut bycatch mortality in just one year. And they didn't have to sacrifice a single pound of directed trawl catch in doing so. http://www.adn.com/article/20140729/...y-cant-alaskas
    I've seen clandestinely shot observer video of tons of illegal bycatch (halibut, salmon, rockfish, crab...)being shoveled overboard, as well as photo's and vids of deckhands feeding salmon bycatch to sea lions from gaff hooks (illegal activity posted to Facebook by not-so-bright deckhands)...this from Alaskan boats in Alaskan waters no less. I'm sure it happens far more often than is ever witnessed or reported. There is no reason the U.S. can't clean up its act; Canada has shown it can be done.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
    #Resist

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    I spent time writing a nice letter and sent it addressed as posted and it came back undeliverable ?

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    I took time to write a nice letter amnd it was returned as undeliverable?

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland on the River View Post
    I spent time writing a nice letter and sent it addressed as posted and it came back undeliverable ?
    Check the address for cut/paste error. The one provided in the OP is good.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
    #Resist

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    Member Alan Sloka's Avatar
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    email sent. Thanks to the OP for putting this out for us. Got an immediate acknowledgement.
    Last edited by Alan Sloka; 04-26-2015 at 14:41. Reason: additional info

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    I have sent a letter as well, hope my tourist spending lense helps :-).

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    email sent!

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    DONT WORRY ABOUT THE MESSAGE!! THEY GOT YOUR EMAILS. THE MESSAGE BASICALLY SAYS IF YOU ARE LATE IN SUBMISSION IT WONT BE ACCEPTED.


    North Pacific Fishery Management Council

    PUBLIC COMMENT INFORMATION
    Deadline for written comments for upcoming meeting:
    5:00 pm (Alaska Time) Tuesday, May 26, 2015

    Submission of Written Comments: Written comments and materials to be included in Council meeting notebooks must be received by the deadline noted above. Written comments should include a statement of the source and date of information provided as well as a brief description of the background and interests of the person(s) submitting the statement. Comments can be sent by mail, fax or email to the following address:

    npfmc.comments@noaa.gov


    The Comments must identify the submitter by legal name, affiliation, and date, and must also identify the specific agenda item by number (C1 for example), and must be submitted by the comment deadline. Comments received under these conditions, will be sorted, copied, and included in the Council notebooks. PDF attachments will be accepted, as long as the above criteria are met. Comment received after the deadline will not be copied and distributed, but will be treated the same as written late comments. Emails submitted for the comments must be to the above address, and not to specific Council staff or Council members. Additionally, email comments will only be accepted on items that are on the scheduled agenda. A return receipt will be issued automatically upon opening the electronic comment.

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