Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dirtiest Bottom Trawlers 2010...Simply Criminal

These are samples from official prohibited species reports available on the NOAA website:
Worst Non Pelagic Trawlers in the Gulf of Alaska for Halibut
No.1: Feb 6, 2010 F/V Coho fishing cod 47% bycatch of halibut, 2 observations
No.2: Mar 27, 2010 F/V Mar Pacifico fishing arrowtooth 28% halibut, 1 observation

No.3: Mar 27, 2010 F/V Golden Fleece fishing cod 24% halibut, 4 observations
No.4: Feb 6, 2010 F/V Hickory Wind fishing cod 15% halibut, 1 observation

All halibut bycatch is dead and all tanner crab too, with more tanner crab not recovered to the deck crushed by the trawl and killed. This is PSC. Prohibited Species Catch. It may not be retained and is thrown overboard. Less than 30% of trawler time has an observer on board. These observers are kept busy with sampling work and often are unaware of the bycatch. So this is only the tip of the iceberg, a hint of the destruction going on in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.

Worst Trawlers in the Gulf of Alaska for Chinook
No.1: F/V US Intrepid 385 Chinook killed, 17 observations
No.2: F/V Vaerdal 311 Chinook, 20 observations

No.3: F/V Ocean Alaska 284 Chinook, 16 observations
No.4: F/V Sea Mac 245 Chinook, 5 observations

No.5: F/V Leslie Lee 227 Chinook, 8 observations
No.6: F/V Marathon 151 Chinook, 3 observations

Getting complicated here, because the latest stats by NMFS have drastically changed since last week. They must be tweaking the data to make it more palatable. Just like the sea lion data that we can't see until Balsinger launders it to make it more acceptable to the players. It is after all, a game. Like Wall Street, NMFS is playing with the numbers and the stats so things don't look as bad as they are. When the whole thing collapses, it won't matter who we blame. The deed will be done.

Keep yer flippers wet.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What Happened To The Halibut, Dad?

Well, Child, people didn't take care of them and they were all killed. It was a sad day when the largest, most magnificent fish in the North Pacific Ocean were destroyed by men who didn't care what they caught in their trawls.
But, Dad, why didn't you stop them?
I tried, Child, but we couldn't get the rule makers to see the importance of taking care of the Ocean and the fish that we depend upon. They let too many baby halibut get killed by the trawlers and didn't see that those little fish were the future. Now all we have left are the pictures of those big flat fish. See that king crab on the wall there? That's what happened to them, too.
*** Trawl bycatch in January 2010 (note size of halibut)
The eagles are feasting on king salmon, crab legs lie scattered about.
IPHC data shows...




Keep yer flippers wet.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

ADF&G Excuses Trawler Bycatch of King Salmon

Listen to ADF&G's Suzanne Schmidt excuse Kodiak trawler bycatch for the decline of Kodiak king salmon. It's okay, Schmidt, we are used to ADF&G representatives excusing trawler excesses.
While Kodiak trawlers might not be the only reason for king salmon decline, they are certainly contributing to the low return numbers required for escapement. So far the trawlers have taken three times the escapement goal for the Karluk or twice the Ayakulik. A limit on the amount of king salmon that trawlers can waste needs to be implimented. Remember the numbers of king salmon shown as bycatch are projections based upon very limited observation. The actual numbers of king salmon and other PSC species is likely far higher. Rumors on the waterfront are that some very high catches of king salmon have been taken on the west side and these were unobserved. We need 100% observer coverage for the GOA. King salmon caught around Kodiak Island are from all over the Pacific, so trawler bycatch around Kodiak affects the entire region. But when they are trawling right out in front of the king depleted Karluk, the conclusions seem obvious. If a man comes into the police station covered in blood and reports there has been a murder, wouldn't he be suspect, you think?

Keep yer flippers wet.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Run the Natural Gauntlet and Get Hammered in Trawl


"Remember that the "499,400 pounds wasted" mainly consists of sublegal halibut. These fish have run the natural gauntlet and won...only to get hammered in a trawl.
"They have made it through the most vulnerable stages of development. They are no longer subject to the high natural predation once they have reached ping pong paddle size and they would have likely made it to legal size if not for the trawlers.
"So...that 499,400 pounds represents a helluva lot more pounds and value if left trawl free. Makes the wasted value even more disgusting."

A Fisherman

Keep yer flippers wet.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Halibut and Chinook Wasted This Week

Go to and see what the trawlers are doing to our precious resources this week. Chinooks are closed to fishing on the famous Kodiak Island rivers (not even catch and release!) but the trawlers have killed 8920 fish since the first of the year, 2049 alone just this last week! Shame and horror. Kiss the king salmon good bye on Kodiak. Thank you Kodiak pollock trawlers. Remember, the Marine Stewardship Council has certified pollock as hell with the king salmon! "No PSC (Prohibited Species Catch) Limits apply to salmon in the Gulf of Alaska," according to the NOAA site. Why the hell not?

The king salmon that would have returned to various southwestern Alaska rivers, would have been high priced prizes for well heeled guided sports fishermen and women. Their commercial value in southwestern Alaska is negligible. But they are hugely valuable to the tourist industry. Their looming extinction in Kodiak rivers is yet another tragedy we can chalk up to the Kodiak trawlers.

Halibut? No problem. Only a half million pounds killed so far, 499,400 pounds wasted. But the good news is only 55,000 pounds wasted last week. I am reminded that that loss of halibut should include their spawning potential. So not only have these fish been wantonly wasted, but their potential progeny have been eliminated as well.

Value of the halibut, about $2,122,450 exvessel wasted so far this year. But only $233,750 this week. Commercial fish value. Sports value, perhaps a bit more. Spawning value, priceless.

Show up at the NPFMC next week and let them know that the Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) is too high. Write a letter to the Anchorage Daily News, call your state and federal representatives, demand real change in the way the trawl industry continues to pound down our resources.

Keep yer flippers wet.