Sunday, May 1, 2011

Catch Sharing Plan


"The halibut biomass has dropped 50 percent over the past decade and catch
limits for the directed fisheries have been dramatically reduced to promote
rebuilding, yet halibut bycatch limits for the trawl industry have not been
reduced since they were set in 1986. Groundfish fisheries (trawl and fixed
gear) in the Gulf of Alaska are allowed to take 2,300 metric tons of halibut as
bycatch. In fact, the number of halibut annually taken as bycatch equals the
number of halibut taken each year in the directed fishery.
Halibut taken in trawls are mostly small fish (less than 32 inches), but since those small fish
represent the rebuilding potential of the halibut stock—and the economic survival of the halibut fishermen—that bycatch is unacceptable".
The same number of halibut being wasted as being harvested, good god! The NPFMC and NMFS solution, restrict the sport fisherman.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Halibut catch sharing is a "JOB KILLER"

John Boehner Where are you? The halibut catch sharing program proposed by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council kills thousands of jobs and saves not one fish. The halibut catch sharing program takes fish from the guided sport fishermen and gives them to the large commercial fishing interests off the coast of Alaska. This is not a fish conservation issue in our area but it is an allocation issue. The management council is manned by the same commercial fishing industry that stands to gain by this action.We ask for your help in keeping these jobs by advising the secretary of commerce to not sign this proposal until a more accurate accounting of its repercussions on resource conservation and economic impact can be calculated.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The end of halibut sportfishing!


Halibut Political Front: Reducing the fleet and the bag limit

This year the Halibut Charter fleet was reduced by 30 - 40% through a federal permitting process. Now, even with this reduced number of charter boats, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council is trying to reduce the bag limit as well.

What is the Catch Sharing Plan (CSP)?:

The Catch Sharing Plan has been passed by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council and is headed to the Secretary of Commerce to be signed. If signed, it will reduce the allocation to guided sports fisherman by 30%. Our allowable harvest (Guideline Harvest Level-GHL) in 3A (Cook Inlet and Gulf of Alaska) right now is 3.65 million pounds. This will be cut by 900,000 lbs. Here’s a draft of the plan:

What that means to you, the Guided Sport fisherman:

Right now, you are allowed 2 fish per person per day of any size. If passed, right now, the limit would drop to 1 fish per person per day and could ultimately drop to 1 fish under 37 inches per person per day. The other option would be to lease the fish from commercial boats at around $3 or $4 per pound, a cost that would be passed on to you. Under the CSP, the commercial fishermen get to sit on the beach while you catch their fish and pay them for the privilege.

Why? Good question. It’s not a conservation issue because the halibut not caught by you will be reallocated to increase the numbers caught by the commercial halibut fleet.

Who’s Next?

The private (non-guided, non-commercial) sportsman will be the next to be restricted. They will be receiving tags for fish caught to track numbers of fish. This is the first step towards their allocation.

What About the Bycatch (the non-targeted fish caught commercially and dump over the side of their boats)? What a Waste!

The Ground fish Trawl fleet drag a great big weighted net on the ocean floor or mid-water and scrape up everything, then pick out the one species of fish they want and throw the rest over the side. The total halibut bycatch for 2010 was 11,433,055 million pounds of dead fish (mostly by the trawl fisheries). The average fish caught is 5-7 lbs. so that means almost 2 million fish were wasted. They are not only dumping your halibut over the side but hundreds of other species of sea life including 44,355 king salmon just in the Gulf of Alaska alone. The real problem is that observer coverage of the by-catch is very limited. Most of the boats that take the largest share of the catch in the Gulf of Alaska have 0% or 30% observer coverage. This means we have no idea how much is thrown over the side. So these numbers are far from accurate. If you’d like to see a 4 minute video of Halibut bycatch check out:

What Can You Do?- Go to www.homerfishing/ for info and sample letters

Contact these people: ask questions, make comments, and fax or email letters

President of the United States, Barrack Obama-

Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke-

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Chief Administrator-, Fax (202) 408-9674

Eric Schwaab, Assistant Administrator of Fisheries-, (301) 713-2239 x 195

Governor Sean Parnell, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Mark Begich, Rep. Don Young

The contact information for these four can be found on