Friday, October 29, 2010

Enemies of the GOA Resources

To the left are Tanner crab caught in a Kodiak dragnet. This kind of resource waste gets a blind eye from the names listed below. Read it and weep.

I better get this out there while I have an audience. As much as I hate to say so, the voting block on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council that regularly opposes any conservation interest are the representatives:

  • John Henderschedt (representing processors),

  • Bill Tweit, (representing WDFW, but really Washington trawler/processor interests), and

  • Roy Hyder (representing ODFW, but really Oregon trawler/processor interests). Come on folks, follow the money!

  • Ed Dersham, an Alaskan sportfish seat, regularly votes against conservation if he thinks it might hurt any commercial interests. Sad case. A bitter short timer.

If you want to influence the Council, hammer these fellows, since they regularly vote for profits, against reason, and damn your grandkids anyway, for the big money.

Keep yer flippers wet.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

GOA King Salmon Destruction Continues, Agency Juggles Numbers

Click on report to enlarge.

The October 16 PSC catch report on King Salmon destruction by trawlers shows another 4134 King salmon caught by GOA draggers. Interestingly they add the previously killed 56,636 to this week's 4134 mortality and get 58,194...hmm...NMFS reserves the right to adjust figures based upon...the sampling data. A form of juggling, eh? The actual number should be 60,870 king salmon destroyed.

Still, even these large numbers are probably on the low side, since much gaming goes on with the trawl fleet in order to hide the damage being done to achieve their short term profits.

The December NPFMC should be a good one. Plan to attend and testify to stop this madness, or at least to see how well the Alaska Groundup Fish Data Bank can dance and juggle at the same time. The dogs and ponies are already rehearsing, we're sure.

Keep yer flippers wet.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dirtiest Draggers in the GOA to Date

By doing a sort of data provided on-line by NMFS we can see who the dirtiest draggers are in the GOA, our area of concern. While the majority of the NPFMC refused to recognize the gaming of bycatch figures of tanner crab bycatch, and refused to close down areas of concern for tanner crab protection, the figures provided by NMFS leave us with a very dirty picture of trawling in the GOA.

Crab: Week ending 27 March 2010, FV Golden Fleece, bottom dragging cod, caught 352 tanner crab per metric ton of bottom fish in four observed tows. Were these supposedly clean 'observer tows?' What happened once the observer left?

Halibut: Week ending 11 Sept 2010, FV Dusk, bottom dragging cod, caught 2526 pounds of halibut for every 2000 pounds of groundfish in two observed tows, so about 57% catch was PSC (prohibited species catch). This is just like the video we posted here last year
Were these supposedly clean 'observer tows?' What happened once the observer left?

Chinook: Week ending 9 October 2010, FV Michelle Rene, pelagic trawling mid water pollock, caught 2606 Chinook in one observed tow. Only one tow observed. "Get that observer off, man, this is going to look bad!" But Michelle Rene had gotten 636 Chinook in one observed tow the week before. So much for avoiding hot spots. FV Pacific Star was there too, with 601 Chinook in two observed tows.

Week ending 9 October 2010, FV Sea Mac, pelagic bottom trawling pollock caught 864 Chinook in two observed tows, while the FV Half Moon Bay caught 674 in four observed tows. Again they were pelagic bottom trawling pollock. And you thought pelagic trawls couldn't bottom trawl? Well the FV Sea Storm apparently didn't know about that (or didn't care) and while pelagic bottom trawling hammered another 1002 Chinook in those same first two weeks of October.

Remember these are the observed tows, what happens when the observer leaves is the real story...but for the NPFMC, if it isn't observed it doesn't exist.

Total count so far this year in observed Chinook waste is nearly 57 thousand fish!

No telling what the real numbers are, but you can be sure this is a fragment of the real number and accounts in large part for diminishing Chinook salmon runs in the Cook Inlet, Kodiak Island, and Alaska Peninsula regions. Other drainages in western Alaska? Probably.

Get engaged, get active, save us from the destruction that dragging brings.

Keep yer flippers wet.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Extinction of King Salmon? A Scandalous PSC Report

We are witnessing the wholesale destruction of the Alaska King Salmon. Unless the trawlers are held back the King Salmon will become extinct. Over 25,000 King Salmon in one week destroyed in the pelagic trawl fishery.
Click report to enlarge.

At the last NPFMC meeting, not one dragger would admit to the killing of Tanner crab. If asked, I suppose those same perjurous characters would say that with their pelagic gear on, they never kill King Salmon either. The US Coast Guard representative had so little knowledge of the gear type that when asked if the CG could tell pelagic gear from bottom gear, he stated that it was clear in the regs that more than 20 crab on a trawler deck would constitute bottom trawl gear. Where the hell is the gear specifications that the rest of us have to comply with? If pelagic is truly pelagic, it should be illegal for it to have chafing gear as part of the net. Afterall, if you are not on bottom, why need the protection from chafe? Trawling remains a shell (game) fishery.

Keep yer flippers wet.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fallacies of Trawler Arguments to Kodiak City/Borough

Fallacies in the Trawler Paper Written for the Kodiak City Council:

Central Gulf of Alaska Tanner Crab Bycatch

1) FALSE: Tanner crab bycatch in the GOA trawl fisheries is not a conservation concern. Because observed bycatch is poor, gamed, and generally unreliable, arguments about the low level of bycatch percentages of total abundance are specious and a poor defense of a dirty fishing gear type. Gross data gaps on trawler bycatch of tanner crab prevent serious consideration of such arguments. More convincing is: 1) the photographic evidence coming to light of excessive bycatch of mature tanner crab, 2) the reported abundance of tanner crab in non-trawled sanctuaries, 3) the commonly heard complaints by trawler crews of waste.

2) FALSE: Closures to protect tanner crab will have adverse economic impacts. Projection of economic impact is always a crap shoot. Tanner crab protection closures in the long run most likely will result in greater legal and deliverable tanner crab catches, as well as raising the productive rate of halibut and codfish. Short term trawler deliveries and economics have the long term consequences of damage to other fisheries that in the long run will destroy the economic viability of the community. A look at the east coast fisheries clearly shows the disadvantages of short sighted management.

3) FALSE: Too many trawl closures. Actually, there are too few. With trawl impacts well known on crab grounds, many formerly productive brooding and fishing areas remain without protection from hard-on-the-bottom trawling. This is widely believed to be responsible for, or contributory to, the reduction of king crab to the status of nearly extinct, the known destruction of 2000 MT of halibut every year, more than 20 thousand Chinook salmon annually, and the crimping of the comeback of tanner crab we are discussing here. And all this is based on poor observer data. If we really knew how bad it is, we might not be so complacent to limit this widespread destruction.

4) FALSE: Crab predation by commercial groundfish, trawling is actually good for crab. This argument is closely related to the same old arguments used to put bounties on bald eagles and seals in the bad old days, and the wholesale shooting of sea lions more recently. These days will be bad old days too, in the future, especially if you buy into these arguments. Natural predation in a natural system should not be used as an argument to absolve responsible parties from the damage wrought by trawling. Pacific cod and Pacific halibut can be caught by fixed gear sectors with far fewer impacts to the environment, and have a greater economic benefit to the fishing community. To argue that trawling benefits crab production is preposterously absurd.

5) FALSE: Wait for better observer data. There is no reason to believe that future changes in observer data will change the impacts of trawling on tanner crab. We have been waiting for these many years for the Council to take action to protect the species under its prevue and responsibility. To delay action until some further action elsewhere can be considered is a poor way to be responsible for a species under duress.

6) FALSE: New science lowers mortality rate of trawl crab bycatch. Until science is peer reviewed, it must remain suspect. Hastily designed studies, unexamined, and unreviewed that are used to defend potentially damaging practices is completely irresponsible. Placards don’t prevent overboard oily bilge discharges, and they don’t stop crab and other species from being crushed and killed in cod ends. Throwing a dismembered tanner crab or dead halibut or Chinook salmon down a newly designed discharge chute is not a conservation measure, it is a travesty.

7) FALSE: Trawlers offer flexibility and innovation. The proposed closures are reasonable and prudent to protect the rebuilding of tanner crab stocks. Permanent or seasonal closures are the only way that protection of rebuilding tanner crab stocks can be reasonably assured. If stocks move across lines, perhaps the lines need expansion. If trawlers were innovative, they would petition the council to convert at least some of their high impact gear to less damaging gear such as pots or longline. Modified sweeps using bobbins simply mean the damaged species are not retrieved to the surface for observation. Juvenile pollock excluders are not catching the juveniles, but damaging them and failing to count that damage. Like modified sweeps, these innovations simply hide the real damage wrought.
We can't blame these inventive spinning spiders for their attempts to portray trawling as a a tolerable, even benefitial gear. They have, like other purveyors of dreams and distortions, come to believe their own deceptive thinking. They have become delusional. Profitably delusional, I might add.

"A delusion is a fixed belief that is either false, fanciful, or derived from deception. In psychiatry, it is defined to be a belief that is pathological (the result of an illness or illness process) and is held despite evidence to the contrary. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, dogma, stupidity, apperception, illusion, or other effects of perception." Wikipedia.

Keep yer flippers wet.