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Thread: Trawl fleet begs Alaskans for help

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default Trawl fleet begs Alaskans for help


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    I just got back from the Council meeting in Kodiak where this is THE big issue of the meeting. The trawlers definitely could use some help in minimizing their bycatch. It's very difficult to do that in a "race for fish" fishery. Some form of system that allocates the allowable harvest to cooperatives or individual vessels is probably the way it needs to end up. That would allow them to slow down and move to avoid bycatch without fear of losing opportunity to catcvh the target species. The trawlers, of course, want a saleable, permanent quota...almost* an IFQ. There are others who would rather try to craft something that doesn't grant such a permanent property right, and something that adds some accountability and requirements for active participation by quota holders. There's big resistance to that from the trawlers. They want few to no strings attached and their windfall quota award.

    Regardless of what the Council ultimately does, 100% observer coverage is coming along with it and that is a very, very good thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    Regardless of what the Council ultimately does, 100% observer coverage is coming along with it and that is a very, very good thing.
    Yes, that it a VERY good thing for sure and I'm very glad to hear it.

    All I know is that until they can reduce bycatch by a huge percentage they won't be getting any of my support. I'm sorry Mr. trawlerman that you've gotten into such a wasteful profession, but this crap has got to stop. I guess a person can make the claim that all fish are valuable. But to take tons of lessor (to me) quality fish at the risk of wasting tons of greater quality fish just makes no sense. I realize that throughout the world these fish are used for lots more than fish sticks, but you can't tell me that a person would rather sit down to these types of fish than a quality cut piece of halibut or salmon. If more of these "fish stick eaters" knew of the price that has to be paid for them to eat them, then I would have to believe sooner or later things would have to change. Hopefully sooner as things have already gotten waaaaay out of hand.

    Did we not put a man on the moon YEARS ago? I sure would imagine that by now technology has evolved enough where there has GOT to be a better way. Of course there "probably" is, but it would "probably" be expensive. And we all know it's far easier to be wasteful than to loose out on any of those the almighty dollars.

    I'm still holding out hope that mankind will actually learn something someday....
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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    I just got back from the Council meeting in Kodiak where this is THE big issue of the meeting. The trawlers definitely could use some help in minimizing their bycatch. It's very difficult to do that in a "race for fish" fishery. Some form of system that allocates the allowable harvest to cooperatives or individual vessels is probably the way it needs to end up. That would allow them to slow down and move to avoid bycatch without fear of losing opportunity to catcvh the target species. The trawlers, of course, want a saleable, permanent quota...almost* an IFQ. There are others who would rather try to craft something that doesn't grant such a permanent property right, and something that adds some accountability and requirements for active participation by quota holders. There's big resistance to that from the trawlers. They want few to no strings attached and their windfall quota award.

    Regardless of what the Council ultimately does, 100% observer coverage is coming along with it and that is a very, very good thing.
    Right on. The charter and non charter halibut sport fishermen who have seen their limits reduced and fleet size halved have very strong feelings about this too. Think what our halibut stocks would look like today if halibut bycatch had been also reduced by half when the feds cut the charter fleet down to reduce sport fishermen's catches.

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    Default we pay and get...

    As usual, the sport guys take it in the shorts- big money rules! And there is big money made by the trawl fleet, all the time they are destroying what they touch. With so much money at stake, we have to watch them like a hawk or they will destroy even more than they do already.

    And in return, as I've stated many times, the money all Alaskans get in taxes from all commercial fisheries taxes in a pittance- only around 1.1% of the total state revenues for FY 2015. Commercial fishing may be at major economic force- whatever that means and probably mostly for Seattle- but the commercial fisheries pay relatively little in taxes to help pay the state's bills.


    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Right on. The charter and non charter halibut sport fishermen who have seen their limits reduced and fleet size halved have very strong feelings about this too. Think what our halibut stocks would look like today if halibut bycatch had been also reduced by half when the feds cut the charter fleet down to reduce sport fishermen's catches.
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    When the by catch that is killed and thrown back dead is more than the total sport catch I have no sympathy for them. However it seems like the sport sector is usually the first to loose out

    Sent from my SM-G920I using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Right on. The charter and non charter halibut sport fishermen who have seen their limits reduced and fleet size halved have very strong feelings about this too. Think what our halibut stocks would look like today if halibut bycatch had been also reduced by half when the feds cut the charter fleet down to reduce sport fishermen's catches.
    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    As usual, the sport guys take it in the shorts- big money rules! And there is big money made by the trawl fleet, all the time they are destroying what they touch. With so much money at stake, we have to watch them like a hawk or they will destroy even more than they do already.

    And in return, as I've stated many times, the money all Alaskans get in taxes from all commercial fisheries taxes in a pittance- only around 1.1% of the total state revenues for FY 2015. Commercial fishing may be at major economic force- whatever that means and probably mostly for Seattle- but the commercial fisheries pay relatively little in taxes to help pay the state's bills.
    Quote Originally Posted by 0321Tony View Post
    When the by catch that is killed and thrown back dead is more than the total sport catch I have no sympathy for them. However it seems like the sport sector is usually the first to loose out

    Sent from my SM-G920I using Tapatalk

    This is not a sport/commercial thing. Wasteful fisheries hurt everyone, and we'd all be better off if we could find a way to clean them up. It's a lot easier said than done, and no matter what you think of non-resident businesses and fishermen or their role in funding a bloated and equally wasteful government, these fisheries are important.

    I stay out of the trawl discussion because while I don't know much about it, I know first hand how much misinformation is out there about this sort of thing. MrFish, thanks for the update and input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Yes, that it a VERY good thing for sure and I'm very glad to hear it.

    All I know is that until they can reduce bycatch by a huge percentage they won't be getting any of my support. I'm sorry Mr. trawlerman that you've gotten into such a wasteful profession, but this crap has got to stop. I guess a person can make the claim that all fish are valuable. But to take tons of lessor (to me) quality fish at the risk of wasting tons of greater quality fish just makes no sense. I realize that throughout the world these fish are used for lots more than fish sticks, but you can't tell me that a person would rather sit down to these types of fish than a quality cut piece of halibut or salmon. If more of these "fish stick eaters" knew of the price that has to be paid for them to eat them, then I would have to believe sooner or later things would have to change. Hopefully sooner as things have already gotten waaaaay out of hand.

    Did we not put a man on the moon YEARS ago? I sure would imagine that by now technology has evolved enough where there has GOT to be a better way. Of course there "probably" is, but it would "probably" be expensive. And we all know it's far easier to be wasteful than to loose out on any of those the almighty dollars.

    I'm still holding out hope that mankind will actually learn something someday....
    Amen brother!
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    The comment section at the end of this article were very insightful. Here is a comment posted by 'Joe Machinko'. I don't know him, but here's what he posted:

    "This piece just shows how tone deaf the draggers and processors are on the bycatch issue. 20 years ago an official from the Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans gave a presentation to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on how they reduced their halibut bycatch mortality from 2 million lbs the previous year down to 300,000 lbs while catching ALL their allowable trawl quotas.

    But for the past 20 years trawling and processing interest have had a voting majority on the NPFMC. Their solution? Do nothing, in fact do worse than nothing. They reduced the percentage of time trawlers must carry observers.

    Now the state has stepped in to change the system from one that rewards the worst bycatch offenders to one that rewards clean trawlers and listen to the howls. The trawl fleet can catch their quotas without this waste. But theyd rather kill the hostages, halibut, salmon and crab, so well give in and give them IFQs worth billions."

    I can't verify if this information is correct. But, if so it's beyond incredible that this type of fishing is allowed in U.S. waters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    The comment section at the end of this article were very insightful. Here is a comment posted by 'Joe Machinko'. I don't know him, but here's what he posted:

    "This piece just shows how tone deaf the draggers and processors are on the bycatch issue. 20 years ago an official from the Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans gave a presentation to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on how they reduced their halibut bycatch mortality from 2 million lbs the previous year down to 300,000 lbs while catching ALL their allowable trawl quotas.

    But for the past 20 years trawling and processing interest have had a voting majority on the NPFMC. Their solution? Do nothing, in fact do worse than nothing. They reduced the percentage of time trawlers must carry observers.

    Now the state has stepped in to change the system from one that rewards the worst bycatch offenders to one that rewards clean trawlers and listen to the howls. The trawl fleet can catch their quotas without this waste. But theyd rather kill the hostages, halibut, salmon and crab, so well give in and give them IFQs worth billions."

    I can't verify if this information is correct. But, if so it's beyond incredible that this type of fishing is allowed in U.S. waters.
    Give that man a GOLD star! . . . . . .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    The comment section at the end of this article were very insightful. Here is a comment posted by 'Joe Machinko'. I don't know him, but here's what he posted:

    "This piece just shows how tone deaf the draggers and processors are on the bycatch issue. 20 years ago an official from the Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans gave a presentation to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on how they reduced their halibut bycatch mortality from 2 million lbs the previous year down to 300,000 lbs while catching ALL their allowable trawl quotas.

    But for the past 20 years trawling and processing interest have had a voting majority on the NPFMC. Their solution? Do nothing, in fact do worse than nothing. They reduced the percentage of time trawlers must carry observers.

    Now the state has stepped in to change the system from one that rewards the worst bycatch offenders to one that rewards clean trawlers and listen to the howls. The trawl fleet can catch their quotas without this waste. But theyd rather kill the hostages, halibut, salmon and crab, so well give in and give them IFQs worth billions."

    I can't verify if this information is correct. But, if so it's beyond incredible that this type of fishing is allowed in U.S. waters.
    Sadly, this is pretty much true. I know and respect Joe, and he testified to this at the Council and AP. There is an alternative in the mix (Alt 3) that would do basically what the Canadians had done.
    "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
    Sadly, this is pretty much true. I know and respect Joe, and he testified to this at the Council and AP. There is an alternative in the mix (Alt 3) that would do basically what the Canadians had done.
    Unfortunately, sport fishing be it private or charter, is the low hanging fruit. The feds have had a huge regulatory and financial impact on that sector, which catches a tiny fraction of the total biomass taken, to make headlines and cushion the multi billion industry from any profit losses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Unfortunately, sport fishing be it private or charter, is the low hanging fruit. The feds have had a huge regulatory and financial impact on that sector, which catches a tiny fraction of the total biomass taken, to make headlines and cushion the multi billion industry from any profit losses.
    Again, everyone pays the price for wasteful fisheries. I'm not sure pointing out how rough the sportfishing sector has it helps solve these problems. Speaking personally, I can't say I'm lacking for fishing options right now. I'd still like to see less salmon and halibut killed and dumped overboard by trawlers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Unfortunately, sport fishing be it private or charter, is the low hanging fruit. The feds have had a huge regulatory and financial impact on that sector, which catches a tiny fraction of the total biomass taken, to make headlines and cushion the multi billion industry from any profit losses.
    This is true.

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    Anyone checked to see the "contributions" the commercial fishing industries make to the campaigns of our senators and congressmen?

    It would also be interesting to see how many registered lobbyists the industry has in Juneau and how our state legislatures are wined and dined and taken on fishing trips by the commercial guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Unfortunately, sport fishing be it private or charter, is the low hanging fruit. The feds have had a huge regulatory and financial impact on that sector, which catches a tiny fraction of the total biomass taken, to make headlines and cushion the multi billion industry from any profit losses.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    Just google search "Contributions to political campaigns from commercial fishing Alaska" It is there in black and white.

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    Does anybody know what would happen if they went to an IFQ system for halibut and king salmon bycatch?

    Would they then be allowed to 'dump' the low-grade fish on the market, or would they still be required to return it to the ocean?

    It doesn't seem right for them to get to sell more bycatch fish as a result and then benefit financially from fishing dirty for so long when the other sectors have taken such big hits (charter and longline industries).

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    Anyone checked to see the "contributions" the commercial fishing industries make to the campaigns of our senators and congressmen?

    It would also be interesting to see how many registered lobbyists the industry has in Juneau and how our state legislatures are wined and dined and taken on fishing trips by the commercial guys.
    Right, I forgot - sportfishing groups don't spend money on lobbying. They simply retain some of Alaska's highest paid and most influential lobbyists on their board of directors and get them and their Juneau-based teams to do the lobbying for free. That enables the organizations to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars "educating" our public officials at dinner parties, remote fishing lodges, catered BOF break rooms and super bowl bashes all while claiming charity tax-exempt status and a mere $263.00 in annual lobbying expenses.

    I'm sure the same thing happens in some commercial fisheries. The whole lobbying discussion is really a pot/kettle issue. Your Google search might show you who is honestly reporting, but it won't show you the whole picture.

    FYI, the Alaska APOC site is also good for this sort of thing once you get the search functions figured out. Crazy how much money gets thrown around down there. I'd love to see some reporters do a little digging on these issues - there hasn't been a whole lot since the Stevens-era hubbub.

    AKJob - great question about the quota. I don't understand it at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKJOB View Post
    Does anybody know what would happen if they went to an IFQ system for halibut and king salmon bycatch?

    Would they then be allowed to 'dump' the low-grade fish on the market, or would they still be required to return it to the ocean?

    It doesn't seem right for them to get to sell more bycatch fish as a result and then benefit financially from fishing dirty for so long when the other sectors have taken such big hits (charter and longline industries).
    Salmon and halibut taken as bycatch are "prohibited species", meaning they cannot be retained or sold. Nothing the Council is looking at would change that...even if they adopt a system that allocates bycatch to permits, vessels or cooperatives.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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    I really think terms like wasteful detract from the discussion. I do not know of one fishery that is perfectly clean in terms of catching other species and causing mortality. The gill net fisheries catch all types of other species (halibut included, dolly varden, steelhead trout, flounder, sharks). The sport fisheries do the same with catch and release fishing on non-targeted species. There are varying levels of mortality and catch but no one is clean. It all comes down to trade-offs for the greater public good. So while everyone is holly than thou on the trawling industry maybe we should just step back and try to reduce incidental mortality in all fisheries - starting by cleaning up your own fishery first. Just for the record the trawl fleet does need to keep improving and other fisheries need to be examined. That old saying applies here - if you live in a glass house do not throw stones.

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