Saturday, December 26, 2009

Inversely Proportional?

The International Pacific Halibut Commission points out that the halibut are getting smaller. They do not know why. One of my fellow Sea Lions pointed out that the decline in halibut stocks and average size is inversely proportional to the increase in trawler horsepower, net size, faster tow speed, and hull capacity. It can't be that easy, can it?

A Tholepin reader:
"If you look back over 100 years of halibut stock data, the one dip was caused by basically unregulated foreign trawling in the 1950s through the 1970s.

"The stocks rebounded in the early 1980s because we got tough on the foreigners. Now our own domestic trawlers are getting away with stuff that would have gotten the foreigners kicked out."

Keep yer flippers wet.


Anonymous said...

Trawl sector cites derby style fishing, as the primary reason, for most Kodiak trawlers increasing horsepower, net size, and sponsoning their vessels. With sector splits settled, will we see trawlers throttle back on those 1000-1800 horse motors to allow juvenile halibut a chance to swim clear? Doubtful...Does anyone know at what speed, will juvenile halibut be overtaken by a trawl net? Just curious.

Wiglaf said...

I suggest it is the larger halibut (the breeders) that are being captured and killed by the trawlers. Therefore the decline in legally captured halibut in the setline fishery. Bottom line...trawlers don't give a shit about halibut, or crab, or salmon. If they did they could not pursue their fishery. Money...that's what they want!

Anonymous said...

The current system rewards the dirtiest trawlers. We need hard, INDIVIDUAL bycatch caps and 100% observer coverage on draggers.

The "100% observer coverage on all mobile gear" arguement is just a way to put the little guys, jig and longline, out of business and allow the draggers to postpone real observer coverage.

Anonymous said...

If you look back over 100 years of halibut stock data the one big dip was caused by basically unregulated foreign trawling in the 50's-70's.

The stocks rebounded in the early eighties because we got tuff on the foreigners. Now our domestic trawlers are getting away with stuff that would have got the foreigners kicked out.

Anonymous said...

Trawler guys speak up! I've heard stories from these guys of 30 steller sea lions hauled up in one tow dead or either shot dead on deck while still in the net and others hauled up cut in half from the props. Tons of crab and coral too and I mean tons! And how about truck loads of pollock rotting in dutch? The list continues, speak up!

Jeff Wedekind said...

Wiglaf- thanks for your work, we need your help! WE NEED VIDEO AND PICTURES. We're experiencing a severe decline of Halibut in SE Alaska and the charter sector is getting a lot of the blame for this. Go figure - punish the smallest user group with the least representation who get the most value per pound of fish caught.

We are on a mission to educate the public about how ALL halibut drift west as larva and grow up in the nurseries of the western gulf only to be slaughtered by draggers as juvenile fish before they can complete their migration and be recruited into the fisheries. 10,000,000 lbs of 5-lb halibut killed and wasted in the trawl fisheries = 2,000,000 individual fish! That's more halibut than the longliners and sport fishermen will get to catch this year combined.

I work closely with SEACOPS ( who had a lot to do with getting rid of the draggers in SE Alaska in the 80's. We've got seacops active again and are working on a presentation to educate SE communities about why our halibut numbers are down so low.

Can we get a copy of your filthy halibut Video for the presentation, and do you have pictures?

Wiglaf said...

Wonderful. Good to have such a fine organization on board. Get us an address through this blog comment and we'll get you a DVD straight away. We will dig for pictures. The secrecy of trawler destruction is, however, impressive. When it is exposed, it will perish. Pound the war drums!