The one fish limit should be seen as a wakeup call and a warning.
We are all so lucky that the TAC ( total allowable catch ) did not decrease. If it had, the one fish limit in the latter part of June would seem like a minor restriction. You want to fight the commercial fishers for more fish or a more fair division of fish or a greater say on issues etc. fine have at it, knowing all along that you are up against a deeply entrenched and connected group. They have been fishing halibut in the North Pacific since about 1910. Generations of them have set up international commissions and research groups covering all aspects of their fishery, most importantly the political aspects.
There are 2 major users of the fishery and we aren’t one of them. The 1st one that controls with the least amount of impact on themselves are the bottom draggers. Do you not think for one minute that if the longliners could have they would have got rid of the bottom trawl bycatch. Trawlers in
While you are fighting that endless fight ( they will hobble the issue forever just like they did last time ) we will be seeing more restrictions placed on us.
You want more fish from them. Why would you want more fish? Suppose somehow after costly years of fighting we were able to get a million more pounds of fish for our area (
Immediate business must be taken care of. The moratorium date of December 9th 2005 must be carved in stone and not a minute lost. It must become the law this year or next at the latest. There can be no more charter permits allowed. Look around you and know that every new captain that gets onboard potentially cuts your income. That is not ok by me. This cannot be a wide open fishery anymore. If we cannot all come together to stop our growth then we deserve the restrictions that are going to be placed on us. I say stop the growth first then tackle those allocation issues that will take years to solve. We do not have years to solve the immediate problem.
The GHL allocation problem, the floating abundance problem, the LAMPs issues, the idea that a sport caught halibut is more valuable than a commercial one, the IFQ idea, the ABC idea, the tier idea, and the general unfairness of it all can be addressed in time. We do not have time to take the slow approach to the immediate problem.
This not a hobby fishery to us. I resent the part timer who takes the heart out of the summer then goes back to their other profession. That type of charter operator treats this as a hobby. Their hobby cuts into our living. The more of them there are the more restrictions are going to be placed on us. Is that what you want, a hobby fishery?
The health of the resource is of paramount importance. We must insure that our near shore fishery stays healthy. If we are not good stewards there will be closures of certain areas to protect the fish from us.
Maybe we could not unite behind an IFQ proposal but somehow we need to unite to stop the runaway growth of our fleet or soon our businesses will not be viable.
Sean, Gerri, Ben and Ethan Martin