Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rumors: Draggers Hammer Halibut in Pursuit of Flats

It seems that even as the draggers are wailing, weeping, gnashing their teeth, and licking their wounds over their apparent loss at the NPFMC regarding their excessive bycatch of king salmon, they are hammering the halibut in pursuit of their near worthless flats (flatfish).  This is known in psychology as a murderous rage.

Reports are that halibut boats on particularly good fishing, are being followed by draggers working the same edge.  Intentional or accidental, the damage to the halibut stocks remains at an unacceptable level.(IPHC)  While Gulf of Alaska halibut fishermen see smaller and smaller halibut, and fewer of them as well, and their quotas shrink by double digits, the unconstrained drag fleet sweeps halibut into oblivion.  At least 70% of the drag fleet is unobserved, the observations are skewed by carefully selecting clean areas to drag while observed.  And since only 30% of the drag time is observed, only half of that really is observed since the observers are only allowed to work 12 hour days.  So 15% percent observation results in the data that is projected by extrapolation (a kind of mathematical hocus pocus) to be the bycatch.  This is a crime.

As one halibut fishermen was heard to say, "The end is near."  Some would argue that the drag fleet feels the sooner the halibut are gone, the sooner they can do as they will with the flatfish in the Gulf.  They tried it with king salmon. It happened to red king crab in the Gulf, why not the other highly valued species; once they are gone, why protect them and constrain the draggers?

Ex-vessel value of this unconscionable waste is $5,424,000 at $6 per pound. 
Three times that to the consumer market!  How much to the charter fleet?

How high is the true loss to productivity, to sustainability?

Keep yer flippers wet.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

My question is ; Why don't city and borough officials get what this really is, a massive robbery of local tax revenue?

The low wage jobs and minimal landing tax revenue from flats is a fraction of what their bycatch could generate had it been left in the ocean instead of being destroyed.

Why can't the tax folks/budget guys at the borough do the math?

Anonymous said...

"Ex-vessel value of this unconscionable waste is $5,424,000 at $6 per pound."

Remember these are mostly small "ping pong paddles"

what would they be worth as legal size fish???

At least 10 times your $5 and a half million!!!

Anonymous said...

Do city and borough officials have any sway regarding fisheries policy and enforcement? Talking to a local LEO has educated me that the majority of the enforcement and regulation outside of 3 miles is done by federal agencies but he did also mention that troopers *could* enforce infractions involving falsification of logbooks as well as illegal discarding. Now the only question is when and how are they going to get out on the grounds to effectively enforce this, if it is even possible. Possibly a job for a larger vessel, one that can cruise on the high seas.

Anonymous said...

those of us that are fishing in the rivers are not allowed to even throw ONE (1) fish or if caught will be cited as a criminal, but the crooks can always get away with it because they already practiced how to cheat and lie at the same time their tossing away other more valuable natural resources away like PROHIBITATED species and other species they depend on to survive, Plants, Habitats for cover, food etc.

Anonymous said...

I think some of your reader do not understand that the waste of millions of pounds of halibut and other species is perfectly legal.

The NPFMC could change the rules but they are controlled by those who profit off of this waste.

Wiglaf said...

Ten Times;
True, every word. The fact that they extrapolate halibut weight in pounds is a laundered view of the real damage. They should be counting it in numbers of fish and then project the mature weight of these juveniles. This is all part of the spin cycle that the agency agrees to when sleeping with the draggers. True, true, true.

Anonymous said...

Observers wish they could only work 12 hours a day. There is no limit on their working hours.