Friday, November 20, 2009

Trawler Greed Destroys Halibut Stocks, Robs Other Gear Types Permanently

"In 2004, there was a substantial halibut PSC (prohibited species catch) overage for trawl gear. Despite an aggregate annual PSC limit for shallow and deep water fisheries of 2000 mt of halibut, 2824 mt (6,212,800 pounds) of halibut PSC was taken (read wasted) with trawl gear. Most (1947 mt) of this amount was taken in the shallow water target fisheries." (see Filthy Video of Halibut Waste below)

Read the NMFS report at:

Based upon this information, the trawl fleet in the central Gulf of Alaska, based primarily in Kodiak, destroyed and wasted $18,638,400 dollars worth of halibut (at $3 a pound) in order to harvest $9,021,540 worth of cod (at $.30 a pound). This halibut could have been harvested by longliners and other user groups and utilized...not wantonly wasted. The 5,500 mt of cod ($3,630,000) which the trawlers took in spite of having exceeded their halibut PSC by 824 mt ($5,438,400), would have been part of the cod quota available for harvest by longliners, pot boats, and jig boats. Therefore it was effectively stolen from the other segments of the fleet. Shallow water fisheries are for flounders, collectively called 'flats,' and these are are of marginal economic value but are targeted by the trawlers for the allowable 'incidental' catch of cod and, in deep water, sablefish. Although called 'incidental' by draggers and their apologists, this allowable catch is targeted by draggers fishing low value species to pad out their wallets. Trawler PSC bycatch of halibut and crab in shallow water trawling for flats is a horrific waste of these highly valuable species, to say the least. The current system of management by the NPFMC is broken, disfunctional, and corrupt, (part of the proud Ted Stevens legacy). This is only one small example!

If this weren't bad enough, the trawlers are claiming a permanent right to the spoils of this misuse of the resources by claiming they should be credited directed cod catch and incidental catch in the 'sector split' that the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council is about to take final action on at its December meeting in Anchorage. The NPFMC has agreed to give way to the trawlers, as they almost always do.

So, while trawling on the flats, wasting halibut and crab, in order to keep and sell cod 'incidental' catch may seem to have only short term benefits to the draggers, being GIFTED that 'incidental' catch in perpetuity through the sector split dodge (read ITQ), has clear long term benefit for these owners, their assigns, and heirs.

Express your outrage to the Council through letters, emails, phone calls, or best yet, show up and testify at the meeting in Anchorage. All members of the NPFMC are listed on their website at:

The trawler industry is counting on your non-participation in order to have their way with your resources. So far they are getting all they want. You only have everything to lose.

Keep yer flippers wet.


Anonymous said...

To make things worse many of the halibut caught were sublegal, ping pong paddles, that while being large enough to be not vunerable to any predators, other than draggers, would have been worth many times more than what you've calculated had thay been allowed to reach legal sze and caught and sold by longliners.

Don't hold ANY hope of the NPFMC doing ANYTHING to reduce bycatch. It is totally controlled by processing/trawling/sold-out-CDQ intersts.

You need to go public. How about ADN or the Seattle Times?

Anonymous said...

Good points, all. Please pass your comments to your favorite news outlets. Your action will help us all to maintain the productivity of the Gulf and its dependent communities. Wiglaf.

C. Rhoades said...

It would be nice, and fair, if the people responsible for these posts and allegations put their names out there and stand behind what they are saying about the trawlers. Why do you need to remain anonymous? It lacks credibility when you don't take ownership of your words.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough for a response, Mr. Rhoades. Only one processor in Kodiak is not in bed with the draggers, therefore, I stand to lose my market if I am exposed. Simple, eh? But the facts themselves stand on their own and hardly need the credence of a name to proof them. Wiglaf.

Anonymous said...

C. Rhoades, nobody is "alleging" anything, it's all in the NMFS report. No where in your post to you present any facts to the contrary,

Wiglaf is simply explaining what this unnecessary bycatch costs the rest of us. My comments as to the size of the individual halibut that made up the bycatch are not allegations. This fact can be verified by looking at observer data.

As to the makeup of the NPFMC, that is painfully obvious and not an "allegation".

So what your post seems to be all about is finding out who is shining light on some dirty, costly practices so a little arm twisting can be applied.