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Thread: Council vote to limit Bering Chinook bycatch

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Council vote to limit Bering Chinook bycatch

    Does anyone have a handle yet on just what incentives and penalties are involved with this weekend's vote to limit chinook bycatch in the Bering?

    Thanks,

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    The Council finished it up last night. A hard cap at 60,000 kings if the industry adopts "incentive" plans to minimize bycatch. Also, under this plan, if they catch more than 47,591 in any three out of 7 years, then the cap automatically (and permananetly) reduces to 47,591. I need to take more deep breaths before I really post my reaction to this...but disappointed is a succinct way to describe it, for now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    The Council finished it up last night. A hard cap at 60,000 kings if the industry adopts "incentive" plans to minimize bycatch. Also, under this plan, if they catch more than 47,591 in any three out of 7 years, then the cap automatically (and permananetly) reduces to 47,591. I need to take more deep breaths before I really post my reaction to this...but disappointed is a succinct way to describe it, for now.

    Art,

    I look forward to your reply and your opinion. Your input is appreciated by me and others.

    I'm not sure how I feel about this either and will have to let it set in for awhile.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Ditto what TCman said

    Art, look fwd to your take too. All I know is that neither "side" is very happy about the outcome, so it's hard to gauge what it really means.

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    Default very impressive move!

    Look forward to your final take on it, Art. I, for one, am extremely impressed! The Council decided to put a cap the bycatch!

    Granted, the cap is nearly twice the average bycatch rate on the fishery. "The bycatch usually ranges between 15-60K annually, with the 9 years prior (97-05) average being 38,891." We had two anomylous years, '06 and '07, that would have far exceeded the current cap. With king returns from SouthCentral through the Yukon declining and in many cases struggling, there is a smaller pie to carve pieces from. If the trawl fishery rarely exceeded the cap in times of chinook abundance, how will they approach it in times of scarcity? I'm afraid this cap just guarantees that the trawl fishery will not be restricted at all due to king bycatch. It sure looks good in the newspaper, though, when the industry can rightly claim that "in the interest of fisheries conservation, we have limited ourselves."

    This is akin to the grossly obese person who once ate 22 big macs at a sitting promising to cap his intake at 20 Big Macs at a time in the interest of healthy eating.

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    This is just another example of the NPFMC favorable bias towards commercial fishery's.....If the pollock fishery has been managing to get their pollock with a by-catch of around 35 to 40 thousand Kings, (with the exception of 2007 when they caught 122,000 Kings) why on earth should they get a cap of 60,000 Kings, well above the average in recent years......To encourage them to increase their by-catch ????????????

    This will take the pressure off of the trawlers to try to reduce their by-catch of kings......

    The communities along Alaska's rivers have had a long history of dependence on salmon, this does nothing to protect them from the drastic cuts they've had to endure in recent years.

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    So, here’s my take on it all, with some background…

    The pollock industry, encouraged by the Council, put forward two very interesting incentive plans to avoid bycatch. The Council/NMFS has limitations with what they can do on fishery regulations that truly provide for “adaptive management”, like bycatch avoidance, that may need flexibility beyond what rigid federal regulations can provide.

    The pollock industry deserves some serious kudos for what they put forward…but (and there’s always a “but”, isn’t there?). They have always known that a hard cap was a possibility on their salmon bycatch. While a hard cap (that closes the fishery) on certain bycatch species is something that governs a variety of other fisheries, this was a new one for the pollock fishery in the Bering Sea. I have to give the Council credit for going that far in the massive pollock fishery, but it’s hardly a novel approach. But, (yes, another “but”) a cap at 60K doesn’t really REDUCE bycatch, even with the performance standard at 3 out of 7 years not to exceed 47,591. The long-term average bycatch is only about 44K, and only when you factor in the recent high bycatch years of the 2000’s, thru 2006 or 2007, do you come up with numbers much higher, on average. Earlier averages of the bycatch are much lower. I’m attaching pages 250 and 251 from the dtaft EIS that have the actual bycatch numbers…so you can run any series of averages for yourself…but the graph on page 250 shows the bycatch levels very clearly.

    What complicates this is that the pollock fishery bycatch doesn’t track with western AK Chinook salmon abundance. That is, their high bycatch years aren’t because there are more western AK Chinook salmon out there altogether…even though the studies have consistently shown that, overall, western AK fish comprise 50-60% of the bycatch. So a high bycatch year may be on a weak year class (or classes). I wish we had some kind of an abundance correlation, but it isn’t there.

    Yes, the pollock fishery is important to Alaska and to the US. Yes, the coastal communities of western AK get significant benefits from the CDQ program. Yes, the bycatch isn’t the sole cause of the poor returns, but it is significant and is the only other known man-made source of mortality that we can control. The folks in western AK have had to bear the full burden of these natural and man-made sources of mortality…via significant restrictions and/or closures on their commercial and even the subsistence fisheries…and have still, despite these restrictions, failed to meet escapements in some areas (Norton Sound) or treaty obligations (Yukon River border passage).

    I don’t want to shut down the pollock fishery just for the heck of it. Maybe the “greens” do, but not me. I hope that these industry incentive plans will work as well as the industry has said they would (I will concede that they DO seem to hold some promise)…but that involves a lot of trust. Again, I hope they do work, but other previous “trust me”, industry-driven plans have so far failed to prevent the bycatch that we saw throughout this decade, culminating in the nearly 122,000 bycatch in 2007.

    But (still another but), even bycatch level on an occasional basis of up to 60K isn’t acceptable, or fair. First of all, because at these low levels of returns, it’s questionable for conservation reasons. Secondly, and even from a purely allocative aspect, these kings are the bread-and-butter for western Alaskans...for subsistence and commercial fishing in many areas.

    The action the Council took earlier this week doesn’t do (on face value) much more than keep the really, really high bycatch years from occurring. Yes, it was a positive step and hopefully the industry’s incentive plans will follow through on their promises…but it doesn’t seem like it will be much of a reduction compared to the long-term historical bycatch levels. It’s only a reduction if you compare it to the obscene bycatch leading up to and including 2007. We asked…urged…the Council to adopt bycatch REDUCTION measures. Many also (myself included) stated that if significant reductions weren’t feasible immediately, to at least incorporate measures that would reduce further it in the future. I don’t feel that it was accomplished.

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    Default attachment...

    oops...sorry, I forgot to attach the bycatch numbers excerpted from the draft EIS that I reference in the above post.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Look forward to your final take on it, Art. I, for one, am extremely impressed! The Council decided to put a cap the bycatch!

    Granted, the cap is nearly twice the average bycatch rate on the fishery. "The bycatch usually ranges between 15-60K annually, with the 9 years prior (97-05) average being 38,891." We had two anomylous years, '06 and '07, that would have far exceeded the current cap. With king returns from SouthCentral through the Yukon declining and in many cases struggling, there is a smaller pie to carve pieces from. If the trawl fishery rarely exceeded the cap in times of chinook abundance, how will they approach it in times of scarcity? I'm afraid this cap just guarantees that the trawl fishery will not be restricted at all due to king bycatch. It sure looks good in the newspaper, though, when the industry can rightly claim that "in the interest of fisheries conservation, we have limited ourselves."

    This is akin to the grossly obese person who once ate 22 big macs at a sitting promising to cap his intake at 20 Big Macs at a time in the interest of healthy eating.
    Willphish...the point you raise is precisely one of the main reasons for the industry's incentive plans...they were designed to try and provide ongoing incentives for individual vessels to continue to try and keep their bycatch low in years when then actual hard cap isn't likely to be a constraining factor.

    The Council has the incentive plans posted on their website, for anyone interested...here is the direct link (both of the plan concepts are packaged into one document):
    http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/curre...lmonICA409.pdf

    There's also a report from an economist with UC-Davis that analyzed the proposed incentive plans:
    http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/curre...essment409.pdf

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    Thanks, Art. There's a lot of "buts" there. I hope it actually does something to reduce bycatch, despite all the "buts"

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    Well, it sounds like the alcoholic has decided that they won't drink anymore than 22 drinks a day when all they drink anyway is 18. Problem solved....we regulated ourselves and now everything is good. However, while it may seem like a small victory, at least it was aknowledged that it is even a problem at all. That in itself it is huge and if anything else, at least it will in the back of everyone's minds that bycatch needs to be reduced. At this point, just a change in attitude is a huge victory for king salmon.

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    I don't see how alcohol jokes help the discussion?

    Bycatch is supposed to be reduced, and this could be a step in the right direction. I'd say give it a chance.
    Mr fish that was an insightful post, and so were the links. I read the first one from the atsea group. Seems like the financial plan and the salmon saving plan COULD work. Might. Maybe, and IMO most likely.
    Also the way everything will actually work will now go through the public process. LOTS of time to have input, and seek refinement. Plus seems to me nothing is forever in regs.....one group or another will always seek to improve it's position.
    One day we'll meet all 10 standards. I included them for our friend who compares folks to a very serious condition. I think we're moving forward on the standards....I really do. It's way off in the future, but maybe we'll see it.
    I include the rest for the rest of us. It's good stuff. Enjoy!!

    National Standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Act
    Conservation and management measures shall:
    (1) Prevent overfishing while achieving optimum yield.
    (2) Be based upon the best scientific information available.
    (3) Manage individual stocks as a unit throughout their range, to the extent practicable; interrelated stocks shall be managed as a unit or in close coordination.
    (4) Not discriminate between residents of different states; any allocation of privileges must be fair and equitable.
    (5) Where practicable, promote efficiency, except that no such measure shall have economic allocation as its sole purpose.
    (6) Take into account and allow for variations among and contingencies in fisheries, fishery resources, and catches.
    (7) Minimize costs and avoid duplications, where practicable.
    (8) Take into account the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities to provide for the sustained participation of, and minimize adverse impacts to, such communities (consistent with conservation requirements).
    (9) Minimize bycatch or mortality from bycatch.
    (10) Promote safety of human life at sea.
    The original Magnuson-Stevens Act created eight regional Fisheries Management Councils, with membership from commercial and recreational fisheries, academics, the conservation community, states, tribes, and other stakeholders. The councils work with NMFS to compile scientific findings about fisheries in their region, along with historic and statistical data and current concerns from their regions, and incorporate them into Fishery Management Plans (FMPs), which set standards and guidelines for each fishery. These FMPs become the framework for managing regional fisheries and fish stocks. Each FMP includes biological details of the fishery, as well as social and economic information, important human considerations that must be taken into consideration for sustainable management. There are currently 45 FMPs for 531 stocks in U.S. waters. These include plans for familiar seafood or recreationally caught species as well as for plants, corals, and protected marine mammals. Through time, an FMP may be updated to account for new data on the fishery, or to respond to changing environmental, demographic, market, or social conditions that impact fisheries. Amendments to FMPs require not only the work of the councils and NOAA, but the participation of all who depend on the resource concerned. This requires that all processes related to fisheries management be open and transparent, allowing for public participation and comment.

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    Alcohol joke ?????? I thought is was a good analogy..............

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    Really? That's sad. I can think of many ways to discuss the issue's w/o comparing anyone to an alcoholic. I find demonizing others just because they have a diffferent viewpoint means you'll miss out on lots in life.

    did you happen to read the proposals and the econimc plans and salmon saving and try to think about how/if it will work? IMO the council does much more good than harm regardless of which part of the industry or goverment or public they come from. The NPFMC is progressive, and listens to the AP and SCC.
    If you can think of a better plan, go to it. The cap numbers are one thing(not high enough/to high) , but the ideas are interesting. They could work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akbrownsfan View Post
    Really? That's sad. I can think of many ways to discuss the issue's w/o comparing anyone to an alcoholic. I find demonizing others just because they have a diffferent viewpoint means you'll miss out on lots in life.

    did you happen to read the proposals and the econimc plans and salmon saving and try to think about how/if it will work? IMO the council does much more good than harm regardless of which part of the industry or goverment or public they come from. The NPFMC is progressive, and listens to the AP and SCC.
    If you can think of a better plan, go to it. The cap numbers are one thing(not high enough/to high) , but the ideas are interesting. They could work.
    Don't be sad, I'm happy, I just believe strongly in my own viewpoints, and don't think that analogy demonized any one, in my opinion the crux of it was the numbers not the alcohol.....I find that Americans have become way to sensitive......

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    Default Oh, here we go right off the deep end again........

    There is at least one glaring problem with this forum and that is little tiny nothing things get pulled out context and blown out of proportion. In previous posting there is no joke about alcohol anywhere - it is an analogy. In fact, is not about alcohol at all and if you think it is then you missed the inferrence you were supposed to make entirely. The inference you were supposed to make is that they only NEEDED so much bycatch and the regulations that were voted upon were put them within safe limits of that. The analogy had to do with need. If you thought that the posting really had anything to do with alcoholics at all, you are grossly mistaken. If you thought that I was comparing alcoholics to fishermen, then you are going much farther than reading between the lines, you are writing between the lines. If you thought I was saying alcolohics are bad people, you planted that seed in your own head. So gosh, is it bad to say I am fishaholic since I like to fish? Come on, really?

    Thanks Captain T for being able to see it for what it is. It is not a slam, it is not a joke, it is not anything but an analogy. Perhaps it was a offensive? If so, I am sorry as it was not written that way, nor was it intended to be twisted around into something it wasn't. And that is just what some members of the forum do with everything that is posted in here. If I were to say your mother looked nice, I am quite sure that someone would chime in and say it is not nice to talk about one's mother. If I said that the roads really have a lot of potholes, someone will certainly chime in and say that we shouldn't attack roadworkers for the job that they do. Let's keep our heads on straight guys...... and by saying this all people that have a natural tilt in their heads will become offended and someone will surely think that I am attacking their morals and judgment by saying let's keep our heads on straight.....Is it safe to say anything anymore? Good grief......

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Art, thanks for the input and the attachments. I wasn't all that impressed with the incentive plan. I can only hope it truly ends up working. It is rather scary that the high bycatch years weren't during western Alaska chinook abundance...if half of those fish were western Alaska fish that is still a major hit during these low times when we are curtailing the other in-river users and trying to meet the treaty obligation with Canada.

    This is truly getting to be a conservation concern, especially with the very upper Yukon stocks. I would have liked to see more emphasis on concern for the unique Chinook run of the Yukon system rather than making it into an allocative type battle. There is that concern but it isn't as widespread as I'd like to see among all users.

    Will hope for the best. At some point though if things get worse with Yukon stocks any bycatch of even 20,000 western Alaska bound chinook isn't acceptable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Art, thanks for the input and the attachments. I wasn't all that impressed with the incentive plan. I can only hope it truly ends up working. It is rather scary that the high bycatch years weren't during western Alaska chinook abundance...if half of those fish were western Alaska fish that is still a major hit during these low times when we are curtailing the other in-river users and trying to meet the treaty obligation with Canada.

    This is truly getting to be a conservation concern, especially with the very upper Yukon stocks. I would have liked to see more emphasis on concern for the unique Chinook run of the Yukon system rather than making it into an allocative type battle. There is that concern but it isn't as widespread as I'd like to see among all users.

    Will hope for the best. At some point though if things get worse with Yukon stocks any bycatch of even 20,000 western Alaska bound chinook isn't acceptable.
    I would only add Bushrat that King runs are suffering on other area's too that may be at least partially caused by Bering Sea Bycatch... Kodaik king returns have been some of the lowerst ever, such at the Ayakulik and Karluk which are lokely to at least partially rear in the Bearing Sea.

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    Just hoping that they didn't intercpet too many fish bound for the Kanektok this summer.
    "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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    Default cap

    The good thing is, they got a cap in place. The fact that it's probably too high is troubling, but, if they'd shot for a hard cap of 30,000 or 40,000, they may not have had the support to get it through. There'd have been a heck of a fight. Let them have a couple years to implement this and get used to the idea of a cap. See how the incentives are working. If there is still a problem, the cap can be lowered.

    As I said in an earlier thread, at least they acknowledged the problem and are trying to work on it.

    You don't always accomplish what you want by trying to do it all at once.

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