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Thread: Did your letters about halibut by catch make a difference??

  1. #1
    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Default Did your letters about halibut by catch make a difference??

    Tough meeting in Sitka. For the first time in over 20 years, the 21 member North Pacific Fishery Management Council's Advisory Panel ( That I am your one and only Recreational / Charter fishing representative)voted to advise the Council to reduce Bering Sea by catch by 31% including a 45% cut the Amendment 80 trawl fleet, the largest harvester of Halibut by catch in that area. It was the single most contentious issue I have ever seen in my decades of participation in this process.

    I am ready to go catch some fish and put that ugliness behind me.....Until October.....

    Thank you all for your participation in the process, your letters allowed my strongly argue for reductions of by catch of halibut for conservation and our moral and legal trust responsibly obligations to the Aleut fishermen of the Pribilof Islands. It was the right side of this difficult argument.

    Hopefully the Council can follow the direction and advice they were provided from our group.

    Here is an article about it.


    Emotions Run High In Sitka Over Halibut Bycatch Debate
    By Rachel Waldholz, KCAW - Sitka | June 5, 2015

    As the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meets in Sitka this week, the most contentious issue on the agenda is a proposal to reduce halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea. Commercial halibut fishermen up and down the coast are pushing the council to reduce bycatch limits, while trawlers and others in the Bering Sea say they’ve already reduced bycatch voluntarily — and lower limits would be ruinous.

    Emotions are running high on all sides of the issue. The Council got a preview of that during testimony before its advisory panel this week.

    About 150 signed up to testify before the Council on the issue of halibut bycatch. Many of them sharpened their arguments before the council’s industry advisory panel earlier in the week. That panel ended up voting to recommend some cuts in bycatch caps, of up to 45% for some sectors.

    Retired Sitka longliner Carolyn Nichols told the panel she worries that if the groundfish fleet continues to take bycatch at current levels, it will endanger the halibut stock — and the future of halibut fishing.

    “There are a lot of kids here, like my son, who’s taken over the boat, who are like, yeah why should I buy halibut quota? Because they’re just going to take it away from me when it goes down.”

    She pointed out that Canada has managed to cut its bycatch significantly. She was challenged by Advisory Panel member Patrick O’Donnell.

    “Do you understand that the Canadians reduced from TK vessels down to 55 in part to accomplish the reductions? And the effects that would have on displacing processing crew, captains, and boats in the Bering Sea?”

    “Are you aware of the effects it’s going to have if the directed halibut fishery, the sport fishery, the charter fishery and the subsistence fishery goes down the drain in all of Alaska, Canada, Washington and California?”

    John Nelson, captain of the Bering Sea trawler the Rebecca Irene, said his fleet isn’t getting credit for the extensive measures they’ve already put in place to avoid bycatch.

    “There’s not a magic bullet here. The increments are going to be small at this point…we can make improvements. But it’s getting harder and harder. We’re really using all the tools at our disposal.”

    Nelson said a 50-percent cut in the bycatch cap would force his fleet to shut down part of the year, and mean that crewmembers will lose their jobs.

    That’s already happened to halibut fishermen, said Sitkan Frank Balovich. Longliners like him have absorbed big cuts, he said. It’s time for the groundfish fleet to take theirs.

    “I mean, why is their family more important than mine? Why are their kids more important than mine? Why is their boat more important than mine? Why is their crew more important than mine?”

    He was echoed later that afternoon by Heather Mann, of the Midwater Trawlers Cooperative.

    “Why is a crewmember on a directed halibut boat more important than a crewmember’s livelihood on a trawl boat? It’s not. It’s not.”

    Mann said her fleet has reduce bycatch to below 1% of their catch. She had a question for those who say they can do better.

    “How? How in this situation can the trawl catcher vessels in the Pacific Cod fishery do better?”

    Meanwhile, for Simeon Swetsov, Jr, the mayor of St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands, it’s a matter of survival. In the Bering Sea around St. Paul, more halibut was taken as bycatch in the past few years than caught by the commercial halibut fleet. If current trends don’t change, halibut fishermen in his region face being shut out of the fishery entirely. Swetsov choked up, talking about the impact.

    “I’m extremely angry that we’re here today [[starts crying]]…we’ve been dealing with this issue for a long time.”

    It’s a matter of justice, he said.

    “We live right out in the richest ocean in the world practically, and we’re going to see this happen to us, in our own backyard! No! We’ll fight it!”

    That fight will continue over the next few days. The Council is expected to vote on halibut bycatch this weekend.

  2. #2
    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Good work, Andy. Hopefully the Council follows...but it's gonna be tough with 2 AK members out of the vote.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    Thank you Andy.

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    I have to call BS on this statement from the article. Absolutely no way that a trawler has bycatch in the 1% level. I don't care if we're talking about cod trawlers in the North Pacific or shrimp trawlers in the Gulf of Mexico, it's not physically possible to prevent non-target species from getting caught up in the drag. Trawling is an indiscriminate fishery that catches and (usually) kills ANYTHING that gets in front of the net.

    The folks who make their living as trawlers could easily convert to longlining or other commercial endeavours, with a huge increase in fishing efficiency for the fleet (meaning increased harvest of marketable fish with decreased bycatch of king salmon, juvenile halibut, etc). Seems like a winning proposition for everyone in the long run.

    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    Nelson said a 50-percent cut in the bycatch cap would force his fleet to shut down part of the year, and mean that crewmembers will lose their jobs.

    . . .

    He was echoed later that afternoon by Heather Mann, of the Midwater Trawlers Cooperative.

    Mann said her fleet has reduce bycatch to below 1% of their catch.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Zeek View Post
    I have to call BS on this statement from the article. Absolutely no way that a trawler has bycatch in the 1% level. I don't care if we're talking about cod trawlers in the North Pacific or shrimp trawlers in the Gulf of Mexico, it's not physically possible to prevent non-target species from getting caught up in the drag. Trawling is an indiscriminate fishery that catches and (usually) kills ANYTHING that gets in front of the net.

    The folks who make their living as trawlers could easily convert to longlining or other commercial endeavours, with a huge increase in fishing efficiency for the fleet (meaning increased harvest of marketable fish with decreased bycatch of king salmon, juvenile halibut, etc). Seems like a winning proposition for everyone in the long run.
    I tend to agree. The bycatch reduction devices or byrds used in the Gulf of Mexico aren't anywhere near that effective. Species damage is real similar as well

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    Tough meeting in Sitka.

    The Council is expected to vote on halibut bycatch this weekend.
    What the good news?
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Amendment 80 cooperatives' cap will be cut by 25 percent, the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Trawl Limited Access Sector by 20 percent, non-trawl groundfish sectors including hook and line Pacific cod vessels by 20 percent, and Community Development Quota by 15 percent.

    This is not nearly enough to help out the directed Fishery in the Bering Sea. Too little too late, I am sure there will be more actions to follow soon.

    http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-...in-Bering-Sea/

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Default Yeah, I see what you mean...

    "Directed halibut fishermen in the North Pacific have watched their quotas drop while the trawl industry prosecuting Bering Sea groundfish has had a relatively static bycatch for twenty years.

    Simply put, the halibut pie is smaller than before, and the directed fishery only gets a small piece. In 2014, 70 percent of halibut removals were bycatch, not directed removals by the mostly small-boat, independent halibut fishermen. At the current projected harvest level, International Pacific Halibut Commission biologists estimate that 93 percent of all 2015 halibut removals in the Bering Sea would be from bycatch, not the directed fishery."

    JEEBUS!
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    Time to off set all of this by catch by taking another day from the charter guys and making it a one fish limit 2 per year for all recreational fisherman. That should do it.....

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    And once again the supposed sport-fish representative on the Council, Ed Dersham, votes with the Seattle guys (and against the Alaskans)...just like he did on Chinook bycatch. What a scab.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    And once again the supposed sport-fish representative on the Council, Ed Dersham, votes with the Seattle guys (and against the Alaskans)...just like he did on Chinook bycatch. What a scab.
    Is exact rational was

    "Reductions of By Catch will offer no benefit to the recreational fishermen I represent, and this is the best use of Alaska's resources"

    Personally, I am absolutely sure the discussion will be very different in the future.

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    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    Is exact rational was

    "Reductions of By Catch will offer no benefit to the recreational fishermen I represent, and this is the best use of Alaska's resources"

    Personally, I am absolutely sure the discussion will be very different in the future.
    No benefit to the recreational fisherman is this guy serious. How can saving millions of pounds of wasted fish not benefit recreational fisherman? Lowering by catch would help everyone even the longliners because those killed and dumped fish would all east be able to find their way to a table somewhere rather than being wasted. By catch in and of itself is disgusting, more halibut are thrown back dead every year than sport fisherman take and yet it's the recreational (guides included) that take it in the shorts when these wasteful fisheries indiscriminately kill everything. Right now what they are doing trying to save the halibut equates to about the same as p1$$ing on a forest fire

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your hard work on this Andy.
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    Sounds like recreational fishermen need a new "representative. How do individuals like this get to hold this position. Appointment?? Election?? More importantly, how can individuals like this gentlemen be relieved of his responsibility?

  15. #15

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    .......and thank you Captain Andy for all of your time, effort and energy that you put into your position for the benefit of all of us.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jrddiver View Post
    Sounds like recreational fishermen need a new "representative. How do individuals like this get to hold this position. Appointment?? Election?? More importantly, how can individuals like this gentlemen be relieved of his responsibility?
    We will be getting a new representative to replace Dersham. Count the positions on the council and the participants. Then divide them between commercial interests and Sports. Now pick a side where you are likely to get your next source of income. That explains a lot I think.

    Fortunately for us, Governor Walker has already nominated a top notch guy in Andy Mezirow to replace Dersham.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Kardinal_84 View Post
    We will be getting a new representative to replace Dersham. Count the positions on the council and the participants. Then divide them between commercial interests and Sports. Now pick a side where you are likely to get your next source of income. That explains a lot I think.

    Fortunately for us, Governor Walker has already nominated a top notch guy in Andy Mezirow to replace Dersham.


    AlaskaKayakFisher.com
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    Thanks for the vote of confidence. One thing is for sure, I am still fishing everyday and living in Seward. I know fishermen and fish and I will do everything I can to take good care of both during my time serving on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
    With that said, after my appointment is announced next week, I will not be posting to Internet forums anymore. I will be under plenty of scrutiny and its best not to be making comments.
    This is a great forum with nobody trying too hard to sell you anything and I'll continue to read the threads and comments as a way to keep in touch with what fishermen are thinking and seeing out there.
    I look forward to being your representative on this Council.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    Thanks for the vote of confidence. One thing is for sure, I am still fishing everyday and living in Seward. I know fishermen and fish and I will do everything I can to take good care of both during my time serving on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
    With that said, after my appointment is announced next week, I will not be posting to Internet forums anymore. I will be under plenty of scrutiny and its best not to be making comments.
    This is a great forum with nobody trying too hard to sell you anything and I'll continue to read the threads and comments as a way to keep in touch with what fishermen are thinking and seeing out there.
    I look forward to being your representative on this Council.

    Great news, thanks for all your hard work Andy.
    Keep up the fight!
    Bk

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