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Thread: Halibut IFQ's

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    Default Halibut IFQ's

    It seems there is a HUGE rift between the com fleet and the charter/sportfish fleet. With only so many fish to go around there will be hard feelings on both sides. Why not make it a fish it or loose with the IFQ's. If you are not going to fish it, (i bet some IFQ holders dont even have a hailbut boat) then it goes back to the state. or the state could buy them out. 1/2 could go to com fish and 1/2 to the sport fleet. the result would be more fish for everyone. Fewer fish hitting the market so the com fleet would get higher prices. I dont think its right to hold an IFQ and not fish it. I dont think its right to sit on your azz and make money off of it. Those boys line their pocket and contribute nothing.

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    Oh, boy. Here we go again. More negative commercial fishing sentiment...

    First, the "rift" is between the charters and Federal regulation, not the commercial fishery. The charters sued the Secretary of US Commerce, not the commercial guys.

    It is the Federal managing agencies, Secretary of Commerce, and Federal Courts who are addressing uncontrolled charter growth, excessive charter harvests above GHL's, increases in charter harvest during biomass decline, and charters taking allocation away from other sectors. The commercial fishery has simply become the charter industry's scapegoat, since they are the one's that the charters are taking allocation from.

    Second, a "fish it or lose it" IFQ would not change allocation, or solve the charter industry's problems. Clearly you don't understand how the fishery works. The same amount of halibut would still be allocated to the commercial fishery. It would just be caught by fewer IFQ holders. IFQ is based on TAC, no matter the number of IFQ holders. The same number of halibut would still go to everyone, as the fishery is fully allocated, fairly and equitably. Charters would still need to meet their GHL's or face futher restrictions.

    Additionally, there is no need for an IFQ buy-back. The commercial fishery has harvested below their allowable quotas every year since IFQ was implemented. The commercial fishery can only harvest IFQ dictated to them by Federal managers. It fluxuates with TAC. On your point, I would support some type of program eliminating a portion of commercial charters in 2C, since they are the sector grossly exceeding the GHL's.

    Alaska's halibut resource is Federally managed. It's unclear to me if the State would have authority to "buy-back" the privilege to harvest federal resources. Furthermore, the NPFMC IFQ system does not have a provision to buy-back existing permits. It relies on total allowable catch (TAC) and how the IFQ market forces regulate entry into the fishery. Besides, laws already establish authority to revoke or modify IFQ's if necessary.

    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe IFQ holders must be onboard vessels harvesting the IFQ per 676.13(f).

    Your idea that people should not be able to make money from their IFQ, but still incur the expenses associated with purchasing it, makes no sense. IFQ's are expensive, and expensive to fish. Commercial fishing is not a charity, it is a living. The object is to make money.

    As for the commercial guys "lining their pockets" and "contributing nothing"...Clearly an emotional comment based on conjecture. You understand little about the fishery, have a misguided perception, and probably have no experience commercial fishing yourself. Your idea to supply fewer fish to the public who owns the resource appears selfish.

    My suggestion is to let the managers do their job, based on the proven laws we already have in place. The Secretary and the Courts have already determined fair and equitable allocation. Any changes need to be made to the charters, since they are the only sector exceeding their harvest limits.

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    The only guys that line thier pockets and do nothing are the ones who do not fish thier IFQ and sit back and do nothing. The Com fleet are very hard working guys who i have NOTHIGN against. Just looking for a solution. Grampy its amazing how you took this as a slam against the com fleet. It is not. It is a slam against the ones who do not fish but just sell thier IFQ and not fish it. I am sure that was not what was planned for when it was set up. Ok Grampy the same number would be caught but fewer by Com fish as some would go to sport fish. Fewer IFQ's out there means fewer commercial caught fish and that would mean less going to market thus driving up the price

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    Default IFQ use it or loose it

    I have a small IFQ and was sent a notice that if I did not fish it or sell it I would lose it. The quota was going back to the National Fisheries and my guess is it would be sold back to commerical fisherman. As long as you have IFQ that is not being fished I see no problem with someone owning it. I do not problems with commerical fisherman leaseing the quota to other commerical fisherman to fish it for them. I do not believe that there should be a leaseing of quota between sport and commerical. If it comes to that point then the goverment should buy up the quota that is on the market that is forsale and place a cap on the amount of quota that can be isssue. They can go back to 1995 for the starting point of the cap for both commerical and charter boats. Use a goverment buy out to reduce the numbers.

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    Right on Capt. a buy out would be a good thing for all!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr
    Grampy its amazing how you took this as a slam against the com fleet.
    I don't know how one could take it any other way....

    The title of your thread is "Halibut IFQ". Yet your first statement includes controversy between the commercial fleet and charter/sport. Then you bash IFQ holders with emotional conjecture.


    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    Ok Grampy the same number would be caught but fewer by Com fish as some would go to sport fish. Fewer IFQ's out there means fewer commercial caught fish and that would mean less going to market thus driving up the price
    How did you come to that conclusion?





    What exactly isn't working with the IFQ program? The commercial fleet is harvesting below their quotas every year. The resource is healthy, sustained, and conserved. Accurate reporting, observer programs, bycatch, safety, etc. are all working in the right direction.

    For those of you with negative sentiment toward the IFQ program, there is hope for you.

    This is an example of success with a similar IFQ program. It also emphasizes the importance of the recreational sector (charters) to follow harvest levels (GHL's).

    http://blogs.edf.org/edfish/2009/12/...ng-a-comeback/

    Scientists Say Gulf Red Snapper May Be Making a Comeback

    December 8, 2009 | Posted by Pam Baker in Catch Shares, Gulf of Mexico

    Last week the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s Science and Statistical Committee updated its regional red snapper stock assessment and found signs that the population, though not recovered, is finally beginning to make a comeback. There is work ahead and many unknowns remain, but this looks like great news for fishermen, local communities and the environment.
    At its February meeting, the Council will likely increase the quantity of fish that fishermen are allowed to catch. Commercial fishermen working under a successful red snapper management plan called an Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) will have a good chance to be rewarded with more fish next year (and beyond). This sector poses little risk because fishermen are living within their catch limits, they have reduced the number of fish that must be thrown overboard dying to comply with closed season and size limit regulations, and they follow strict monitoring and accountability rules. At the same time, IFQ management has helped fishermen improve and stabilize dockside prices, reduce the costs to harvest fish, and provide higher quality fish to consumers.
    On the other hand, it is less certain how the recreational fishery will fare. This is because the sector’s management plan is not working and fails to help anglers abide by their scientifically-safe catch limit. Any potential change in the amount of fish a sector is allowed to bring to shore must account for such past and anticipated overharvests.
    Red snapper are favorite targets for anglers who venture to offshore waters, and they are important to coastal recreational businesses. That’s why improving recreational management is one of the most important challenges facing this fishery. New systems should be designed and tested – like IFQ plans for charter and party boats and harvest tags for anglers – to better manage sport fisheries, provide more access to fishing, and reduce overharvests and wasteful discarding.
    In the Gulf’s red snapper fishery, commercial and sport fishermen split the catch by 51 percent and 49 percent, respectively. Thus, to recover the snapper population, each sector must have effective management and be held accountable for its share of the catch. Everyone stands to benefit – tourists, sea food lovers, recreational enthusiasts, local businesses, and the Gulf’s marine ecosystem.
    Let’s keep the good news coming!
    Last edited by Brian M; 12-14-2009 at 09:56. Reason: quotes from another thread/personal comments

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    Right on Capt. a buy out would be a good thing for all!
    There's no doubt a commerial IFQ buy-out would be a great thing for charters like captaindd...But all of us?....Not.

    Brian, thank you for removing those distasteful posts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grampyfishes View Post

    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe IFQ holders must be onboard vessels harvesting the IFQ per 676.13(f).
    you are part right and part wrong. The wrong part is a big wrong. The schoonerheads who control the council divided IFQ's into two parts. The old traditional schooners were usually owned by someone or a group of someones and fished by a hired skipper and crew. There were a few who fished their own boats. When crab fishing and other fisheries were having a tough time, a lot of the newer boats that got into halibut were run by owner operators. The traditionalists didn't want a rule where they had to be on the boat, so they created two classes of IFQ holders. Those who were grandfathered in to not be on the boat because traditionally they weren't on the boat, and those whose halibut careers revolved around owning the boat they were fishing. This did a couple of things. Instead of the quota going to the people doing the actual fishing, the quota went to the boat owners. That kept the schooner owners in the game. But then they were even more devious. If you were grandfathered in, you could buy more quota, even quota that went to people who had to be on the boat when the quota was harvested, and you still didn't have to be on the boat. But if you weren't grandfathered in, even if you bought grandfathered IFQs, you still had to be on the boat when it was harvested. So these guys who were grandfathered in had a great advantage when it came to buying up IFQs. They could just buy them and have somebody else fish them for them. As the IFQ's got consolidated, so did the number of crew jobs. So then there were guys more desparate for a job. This created a situation where the IFQ holders could drop crew %s and charge the crew more expenses that weren't traditional. A case in point is in the old days fuel and bait came off the top so whatever % you made, you paid that % of the expenses. Now it is common practice to take 30% off the top for the IFQ holder then pay the boat it's share, somewhere around 50% of what is left, then before the crew gets paid, the bait and fuel and groceries comes off, so the crew pays all the expenses now, not the IFQ holder or the boat. I've also heard of boats charging the crew for all lost gear which used to be a boat owner expense.

    The prevailing attitude of the quota and boat owners now is "if you don't like it, I'll find somebody else who will work under those conditions." I've also known of boats who will hire immigrants legal or otherwise and pay them a flat $100 or so a day and get rid of % crewmen altogether or only have a couple. So the guys in control got rich by screwing the guys who did all the work and earned the quota for them in the first place.

    That is the tragedy of IFQ's. Not that they exist, but that a majority of the people who depended on the fishery for their livelyhoods didn't receive a % of the IFQ's given out equal to the shares they got before IFQ's. It was the push to consolidate the fishery into the hands of the guys controlling decisions that was wrong.

    And the whole thing was sold on the premise that it was good for quality and price, which it was, and that it was for the safety of the crew, which it wasn't.
    An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
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    Good information twodux.

    Didn't all that have something to do with not wanting to issue original shares to crew because IFQ's were based on what owners had invested into the fishery, and crew had nothing invested? There's no question the IFQ system had its loopholes and disadvantages. Hindsight is always 20/20. I've never been a big fan of IFQ, as it lopped me out since I did not fish during the qualifying years but instead many years prior. But in general I think IFQ's are serving their purpose. Although every fishery is different, my reference to the Snapper fishery is an example IFQ's do work.

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    Default IFQ's

    Quote Originally Posted by Grampyfishes View Post
    Good information twodux.

    Didn't all that have something to do with not wanting to issue original shares to crew because IFQ's were based on what owners had invested into the fishery, and crew had nothing invested? There's no question the IFQ system had its loopholes and disadvantages. Hindsight is always 20/20.
    The crews may not have had financial investments, but they had sweat equity. In State run fisheries, participation was a key in any limited entry plan. The fed system seems to reward the guys with money and power.

    There were people who fought it because there was no consideration for the crews and their participation in the fishery.
    An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    but they had sweat equity.
    Boy, that's the truth!

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    Good post twodux. You and grampy have it right. There was a lot of inequality in the initial allocation process. I worked on a boat during the early years of IFQ that was owned by a corporation of 4 lawyers, 3 from lower 48, 1 which had never seen the boat. When the boat sank they sold all the quota to the tune of 3.5 million $ and we (capt. and crew) who nearly lost our lives not only got nothing, but were suddenly competing with each other for jobs. The natural evolution of a comm. fisherman is to start on deck. That said, the program has been good for the fishery and the fishermen who stuck it out. I had to buy into it and am still paying. I am not against the option of the charter fleet being able to purchase comm quota, as long as there are controls to keep it out of the hands of corporate investors and the like.

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    Good post Bonanza! Yeah the layers in the lower 48 deserved the 3.5mil! Grampy sorry i forgot you are hard core com fish. I am done here. I just made a suggestion. Clearly Grampy has it all figured out.

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    Sorry you see it that way kgpcr.

    BTW, I am "hard core" sportfishermen. Yes, as a life-long Alaskan I have commercial fished and worked charters. But sportfishing has always been my passion.

    I don't think it's right to label me "hard core com fish" just because I disagree with the charter industry's actions and those charter operators representing their special interests here. I don't condone the IFQ program's problems, but I won't bash the commercial fishing industry or commercial fishermen because of them. I have never claimed to have it all figured out. However, I have spent a good portion of my life experiencing these fisheries first hand, educating myself about them, and being involved in their management.

    I don't expect everyone to agree with me. I just do my best to weigh in. Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grampyfishes View Post
    There's no doubt a commerial IFQ buy-out would be a great thing for charters like captaindd...But all of us?....Not.

    Brian, thank you for removing those distasteful posts.
    I pointed out that you used me as a bad example on this thread, which I hadn't even posted on, and you went crying to brian to get it removed, I guess long-liners stick together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain T View Post
    I pointed out that you used me as a bad example on this thread, which I hadn't even posted on, and you went crying to brian to get it removed, I guess long-liners stick together.
    No, I didn't go "crying" to Brian. And sorry, but I'm not a long-liner. I don't know Brian and I don't communicate at all with him on fishery issues.

    I noticed Brian removed some distasteful posts that contained personal attacks and name-calling. Yours may've been one. I'm not sure why my appology to you, explaining my honest mistake of mixing up your name with captaindd, and Halibutgrove's name with kgpcr, got removed from my post. I think Brian may have thought it was dragging something up from another thread or something, or just decided to remove anything referencing the attacks. It doesn't matter...I don't expect Brian to read all the lengthy posts here, or always know exactly what's going on. In my experience he does his best to be as fair as he can. The object is those distastful posts are thankfully gone.

    Captain T, again I appologize for the name mix-up. It's hard to keep track of so many "Captains" here...they all run together for me...Captain T, captaindd, AKCAPT, etc. My bad.

    Hopefully any more dicussion on that can be via PM, and this thread can be restored to discussing the topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    It seems there is a HUGE rift between the com fleet and the charter/sportfish fleet. With only so many fish to go around there will be hard feelings on both sides. Why not make it a fish it or loose with the IFQ's. If you are not going to fish it, (i bet some IFQ holders dont even have a hailbut boat) then it goes back to the state. or the state could buy them out. 1/2 could go to com fish and 1/2 to the sport fleet. the result would be more fish for everyone. Fewer fish hitting the market so the com fleet would get higher prices. I dont think its right to hold an IFQ and not fish it. I dont think its right to sit on your azz and make money off of it. Those boys line their pocket and contribute nothing.
    kgpcr
    There is plenty wrong with the entire IFQ system and no point in not learning a little something about it. The "Czar" instrumental in the design was of course an owner of several halibut boats and "earned" an enormous chunk of IFQ with the stroke of a pen. From there it went downhill.

    The push to make charters go on IFQs was just to establish the legitimacy of thievery. None of the early rules designed to protect small-time fishermen stayed. Fishermen have been allowed to buy all the shares they wanted and concentrate the wealth in fewer and fewer hands. Fishermen have been able to get around the participation rules by several routes, some explained beautifully by twodux.

    The other fisheries have had huge effects as a result of changes brought about because ot IFQ changes. The near-town fisheries have suffered because many fishermen do not want to leave the harbor before dropping gear. While the effects on halibut are mitigated by their traveling the lingcod are not so lucky...

    The loss of wages paid to deckhand jobs and the further squeezing of the ones still fishing as deckhands.

    Higher incidental mortality to the halibut resulting from high-grading.

    There are some things I would like to see changed in the commercial fishery:
    1) "No-fishing" zones near towns. The difference in fuel bills between a charter operation and a commercial one is huge and the commercial guys should give at least a 10-mile zone around any town of consequence.
    2) A size limit on circle hooks. By requiring smaller hooks the larger halibut will be far harder for the commercial guys to hook and hold. The corner of the mouth is large enough on big fish to send the hook on around. They would then be working the high-grading at both ends of the spectrum. The resource has significantly more invested in bigger fish.
    3) Eliminate crucifiers or step up enforcement to catch those abusing the tool.
    4) Allow the comm fish guys to take an equal seat at the IPHC allocation sessions, instead of the only seat.

    In the cited grouper success the point should be noted the split is 49:51. This argument is never about protecting the resource it is always 100% about who gets to catch the quota. The charter fleet is growing yet far smaller than the commercial fleet and the argument is all about how the charters cheat by exceeding the pittance allotted by the commercial interests in charge of dividing the plunder.

    I guess I wandered a bit, sorry about that...
    art

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    Default Buy out/ compensated reallocation

    This concept was already worked through the Council process for the charter fleet. It actually has quite a bit of support from both sides. The idea was that as long as there was a willing buyer and a willing seller then the IFQ could be exchanged ( sold)between sectors. The plan was to have regional sportfish coopertives like the aquaculture groups for salmon. There was going to be a 10 dollar halibut stamp to be bought by each recreational fisherman. This money would be used to buy a small percentage of available quota. This quota could be used to soften short falls that would cause bag limit reductions etc.. I worked on this with several members of the commercial industry, ALFA, SEAFA etc.. The problem was that is would require an act of congress to get something like that through. The whole management process is filled with land minds like that. People get together with some decent ideas, work through the details and everything looks okay and then boom....Something happens and two months or two years of work is thrown out.

    Worse yet is the "nobody told me this was going to happen" BS. How many years of having that as an excuse for delaying managment measure is there going to be? This whole managment process has been a matter of public record for fifteen years. Anyone who spent money getting into this and says they didn't know this was going to happen might as well just give your money away to someone who is smarter than you are. NMFS just said that the halibut charter moritorium is going to be delayed a year because they were concerned about the confusion about the appeal process within the charter sector...You don't buy a house before making **** sure it is not a toxic waste dump...Why would someone spend 100K or more on a business without learning about it first..?

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    Hap, I agree on some of the points, but not all. Rule changes have not favored small time fishermen or new entrants. Fishermen cannot amass as much quota as they want, but are limited in the number of blocks they can own and vessels have a cap. While I know of no data, I believe charter and private boats take more fish near town than comm boats. (just conjecture). Lingcod is only allowed as bycatch by longlines, not a target species as on charter and private boats. Highgrading is illegal and unethical on a commercial boat. Re; your proposed changes #1 Some comm boats (myself included) are smaller than many charter boats and to force them further out would bring safety concerns. That said, I most always run beyond the charter guys to fish and give a wide berth if in the area. and#3 It is already illegal to "crucify" a sub-legal halibut and more or better enforcement is not a bad thing at all. Longliners are required to have a 32" mark at the rail and all undersize fish returned immediatly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    This concept was already worked through the Council process for the charter fleet. It actually has quite a bit of support from both sides. The idea was that as long as there was a willing buyer and a willing seller then the IFQ could be exchanged ( sold)between sectors. The plan was to have regional sportfish coopertives like the aquaculture groups for salmon. There was going to be a 10 dollar halibut stamp to be bought by each recreational fisherman. This money would be used to buy a small percentage of available quota. This quota could be used to soften short falls that would cause bag limit reductions etc.. I worked on this with several members of the commercial industry, ALFA, SEAFA etc.. The problem was that is would require an act of congress to get something like that through. The whole management process is filled with land minds like that. People get together with some decent ideas, work through the details and everything looks okay and then boom....Something happens and two months or two years of work is thrown out.

    Worse yet is the "nobody told me this was going to happen" BS. How many years of having that as an excuse for delaying managment measure is there going to be? This whole managment process has been a matter of public record for fifteen years. Anyone who spent money getting into this and says they didn't know this was going to happen might as well just give your money away to someone who is smarter than you are. NMFS just said that the halibut charter moritorium is going to be delayed a year because they were concerned about the confusion about the appeal process within the charter sector...You don't buy a house before making **** sure it is not a toxic waste dump...Why would someone spend 100K or more on a business without learning about it first..?
    Roger that,,,,, Its called do diligence

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