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Can commercial fisherman keep fish for themselves?

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  • Can commercial fisherman keep fish for themselves?

    I had an interesting conversation today, one which, due to the small size of Alaskan communities, I'm going to have to be vague about, but here goes:

    I found out a Copper River commercial fisherman had brought in almost 1,000lbs of beautiful but not so plentiful Copper River kings that he had caught in his commercial nets to be processed for himself. My first thought, as someone who doesn't get to keep even 1 lb of Copper River king that I might catch in either the sport or personal use fishery, was outrage.

    Is this legal? Can the commercial fisherman pick and choose what they keep themselves and what to sell? That seems counter-intuitive to the whole division between commercial and personal use, but it seems they can do whatever the heck they want. It's also a bit sickening when there is such a lack of in-river fish that the king fishery is totally shut down.

    Someone in the know please clarify before I march down to F&G and say something that might be way off-base.

    Thanks!

    (BTW, I have nothing against the commercial fisherman making a living....but I do have something against them stocking their freezers and smokers under the guise of commercial fishing. Keep it fair...if you want it for the freezer, take the time off work like the rest of us and get it the same way we do.)

  • #2
    Why does he have to sell them? It's his loss financially if he doesn't get paid for them
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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    • #3
      Because that's the eliciting of commercial fishing...

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      • #4
        Stupid phone... That's the definition of commercial fishing. It's also how fisheries mangers track what's caught. By your reasoning, I could commercial fish, keep them all to myself, and all of those fish would be unaccounted for.

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        • #5
          Yes, commercial fishermen can keep fish (it's known as home pack), but the fish are all weighed and accounted for. If in a quota-based fishery, such fish count against their quota. And yes, keeping such fish comes at a financial loss.

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          • #6
            By a permit and get after it
            Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Brian M View Post
              Yes, commercial fishermen can keep fish (it's known as home pack), but the fish are all weighed and accounted for. If in a quota-based fishery, such fish count against their quota. And yes, keeping such fish comes at a financial loss.
              I've always given commercial fisherman a lot of credit and leeway in arguments about management being biased toward them, but holy cow. I can't do that anymore.

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              • #8
                If you are a cattle rancher, would it be wrong to safe a steak for yourself?
                Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by hoose35 View Post
                  If you are a cattle rancher, would it be wrong to safe a steak for yourself?
                  Apples and oranges. They would be my cattle, not a public resource.

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                  • #10
                    Fish caught by A commercial fisherman within the rules and regulations of the permit they posses belong to that fisherman. They are his fish. It's most certainly in his/her best interest to sell them for profit
                    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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                    • #11
                      From a monetary standpoint, it makes sense to sell as much as you can, but obviously it's common practice to keep whatever you want for yourself as well. I'm glad it's counted against your quota if that applies, but in many cases it doesn't. You're right in the sense that once caught it's theirs, so I suppose in the end it doesn't really matter what they do with it.

                      From a management standpoint, and a sport/personal/subsistence/commercial regulation standpoint, it's obvious who gets the lion's share of what does begin as a public resource. Cap or quota the king catch and everyone not in the salt might get a shot at them, too, but that's been proposed and ignored for years (specifically in regard to the Copper River fisheries as stated in the first post). Or simply put a per permit limit on the home catch that is reasonable and comparable to the personal use fishery.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by coho slayer View Post
                        From a monetary standpoint, it makes sense to sell as much as you can, but obviously it's common practice to keep whatever you want for yourself as well. I'm glad it's counted against your quota if that applies, but in many cases it doesn't. You're right in the sense that once caught it's theirs, so I suppose in the end it doesn't really matter what they do with it.

                        From a management standpoint, and a sport/personal/subsistence/commercial regulation standpoint, it's obvious who gets the lion's share of what does begin as a public resource. Cap or quota the king catch and everyone not in the salt might get a shot at them, too, but that's been proposed and ignored for years.
                        People catch kings in the freshwater all the time, what do you mean they don't get a shot at them?
                        Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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                        • #13
                          One, it seems very hard to believe that a fisherman would keep 1,000 lbs of kings for himself. At season opening prices, that would be a loss of what, $6,000 to the fisherman? I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I'm skeptical.

                          Two, whether a fisherman sells his catch or keeps a few for the freezer, that doesn't change the management as far as season dates, time allocated to openers, quotas, etc. It's really not a management issue.

                          Three, the comment in the OP stating "Keep it fair...if you want it for the freezer, take the time off work like the rest of us and get it the same way we do.", all I can think is - we make our choices. A life of commercial fishing comes with a lot of costs and a lot of risks, and it comes with some benefits as well. The same could be said for any line of work. I don't begrudge the guy taking a few fish out of his load (at a personal cost to himself since he will not realize that income). If I wanted to do the same and net my salmon rather than catching them on a rod and reel or dipnet, I could also change my line of work and get into commercial salmon fishing.

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                          • #14
                            I keep many fish for personal use every year. Completely legal and accounted for. Sometimes I even make sure the scale crew gets a chance to sample what I keep so they can get good data. This year, it costs me $2.00-$3.00 a pound to do so. I still choose to do that rather than go P.U. fishing - for many busy & working people it pencils out financially even if you don't commercial fish - they would cost you the same.

                            Perhaps your disgust came simply from the fact that Kings were being harvested. It's almost becoming taboo to admit one likes to kill and eat them...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by coho slayer View Post
                              Keep it fair...if you want it for the freezer, take the time off work like the rest of us and get it the same way we do.)
                              Assuming you don't mean by going down to the docks and buying it from your neighbor?

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