Thursday, February 1, 2007


Many people in our industry think the Proposed Moratorium is the answer. Here are my thoughts.

I agree the moratorium is a step in the right direction. But, it has some serious flaws. The main one being there is no control over the number of trips a business will do. Or another way of looking at it the number of people they take or fish those anglers harvest. A business that ran 21 trips in 2006 has no restraint to prevent it from running 121 trips in 2007.

I assert there are more people that want to go fishing than the near shore resource can support. And I feel that number continues to grow. Therefore if they issue permits based on the Dec 2005 control date the number of people who will fish still will not be controlled. It will just be distributed among the existing businesses.

Of course the way it is written it appears if you ran under 20 trips you will be controlled. If they want to write this and issue permits based on 10 trip segments. For instance if I ran 94 trips I would be capped at 100 trips with 6 lines. Or 67 trips would be capped at 70. This would make sense.

The way this moratorium is proposed it allows plenty of room for growth for small time businesses that ran over 20 trips but not much room for growth for guys that are already running close to max. Once again this rewards the new comers allowing their catch to again push us over the GHL. This would once again screw the long term opperators.

Basically it all comes back to some kind of Quota. Whether is is number of trips on a permit, number of fishermen, or number of fish. It all comes back to being the only realistic way to manage the industry. This is why the IFQ was the original result of 8,000 public comments and 8 years of work by the industry and other interested parties. With their majority being new to the issue the ACA didnt understand this. They all jumped on the "IFQ IS BAD BANDWAGON".
They also slandered the long term operators with the word greed. It had nothing to do with greed. It was a hope that we could have an opportunity to run our businesses and serve our clients the way we traditionally had. We realized the potential reprecussions of the IFQ not passing. Now we are all suffering those.

We all know a huge problem with the GHL is there is no flexibility to float with the size of the biomass. While we have been at a rigid cap the commercial sector has been granted a number of increases in their catch allowance. Had the GHL in 3A been handled accordingly we would not be exceeding it right now. The Charterboat IFQ allowed that flexibility to float with abudence.

We also know and need to fight that a sport angler on a charter boat is just that, a sport angler. The seperating of sport anglers into two categories is wrong. Going to one fish for charter clients for periods of time is wrong. Whether a guy decides to pay for a captain to take him or to pay to buy a boat and go himself should not seperate what they are allowed to catch. Why should a charter client in South East fishing within a few miles of the Canadian Border be allowed once fish? Meanwhile the Canadian Charter Angler just a few miles away can take two. And, the private boat fishing right next to the American Chater can take two. It makes no sense.

To me it all comes back to some kind of IFQ program. A huge issue is recognition for longterm involvement. To be fair to all the IFQ or Permit or however it is issued must be graduated by time and level of involvement in the fishery. The new comers/speculators/problem area/guys doing a small number of trips, should not be awarded the same as a guy who has 7 plus years and is running close to max. The IFQ program is the only thing the Commercial Sector and the Majority of the Charter Industry has ever agreed on.

It is my feeling we need to move forward with the IFQ using a fair and equitable leveling plan.

Capt. Rod Van Saun

1 comment:

Flatfish said...

Good Post!!
I think that since the north council has the moratorium on its agenda we need to push for it as a start. We need to get our numbers under control and then wage the fish fight IFQ or whatever. Law suits and injunctions will take years to settle and most of us will be out of business by then because of this one fish limit and the like.