Saturday, June 18, 2011

Balsiger Is Compromised

About that vote to increase the GOA king salmon bycatch cap...

"Balsiger's enthusiasm over the final package — he called it a "fabulous step" — was a sharp contrast against Campbell's disappointment and raised a few eyebrows in the room because Balsiger's wife, Heather McCarty, has repeatedly lobbied the council on behalf of Kodiak processor Pacific Seafoods for the least restrictive cap possible."

Good journalism here:

Balsiger should immediately resign.  He should have recused himself.  Who can doubt the Council's corrupted condition with such behavior?  Where is Eric Schwaab's leadership.  Jane Lubchenko?  So they approve of this kind of behavior by their caporegimes?

NMFS...No More Fish Sorry.

Keep yer flippers wet.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

NPFMC Votes Hard Cap on King Salmon

Draggers only managed to get an additional 2,500 added to the cap, but the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council vote for 25,000 is still better than the 30,000 bycatch king salmon kill the draggers wanted.  

The State of Alaska showed it was concerned with king salmon trawl bycatch, as ADFG Commissioner Cora Campbell made the motion for the Council's preferred alternative of 22,500 kings for the bycatch cap, backed by Duncan Fields, and Sam Cotten.  This was amended to 25,000 kings when Dan Hull, Ed Dersham, and Jim Balsiger failed to stand for Alaska and sided with the draggers and their processor allies.  The other Council members...well, you know.

From the Bristol Bay Times: First-ever king cap placed on Gulf of Alaska pollock fishery

Interestingly, the dragger testimony, in a thinly veiled argument for the Council to move toward 'rationalization' of the Gulf of Alaska groundfish, complained that they couldn't do better in controlling bycatch because of rogue captains who would not comply with conservation efforts.  So perceptions that the drag fleet is out of control have been publicly confessed to be true.  Draggers must be made to follow the rule of law.  The Council must regulate the drag fleet.

Keep yer flippers wet.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Does NOAA/NMFS Care About King Salmon Bycatch?

News Update:

"Chinook bycatch: The industry is making a concerted pitch to increase the cap to 30,000. The AP selected a 30,000 cap over the preferred alternative but a strong minority report will help neutralize the AP’s effect.

"Eric Olson is not here because of a family emergency so Alaska is missing a key vote. The swing vote is NOAA's Jim Balsiger."

Or Dan Hull, who is unconvinced that 22,500 give the draggers enough kings as bycatch in the GOA.

Keep yer flippers wet.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rumours are that recently, the Pacific Star, dragging rockfish, observer onboard, using bottom drag, nailed the halibut big time.  So much halibut in fact as to piss off the other dragger because it potentially closes off some quota access.  We'll see if this surfaces officially.  Another example of the Rockfish Pilot Program's great potential? 

With no observer aboard, the Golden Fleas has been spending a lot of time hammering away on the flats off Chiniak.  Halibut boats nearby are getting lots of small halibut too, so the unobserved Golden Fleas (special exemption) must be helping reduce the abundance of small halibut in the GOA.  Time to collar the secretive Golden Fleas.  Unobserved solitary draggers are scarier than whole fleets, since they are more capable of secrecy.

"(ii) Amendment 80 vessels in the GOA processors. Except for the F/V GOLDEN FLEECE (USCG Documentation Number 609951), all Amendment 80 vessels, except when directed fishing for scallops using dredge gear, in the GOA must have onboard at least one NMFS-certified observer for each day that the vessel is used to harvest, receive, or process groundfish in the GOA management areas or adjacent waters open by the State of Alaska for which it adopts a Federal fishing season."

Why? Who arranged that exception, and for how much cash?  Uncle Ted or Yon Dung?

State of Alaska's backbone on King salmon bycatch by GOA pollock draggers appears to be weakening.  Julie and her gang have been banging out their statistical bullshit to some affect, claiming 'stranded quota' of pollock trumps King salmon damage by GOA draggers.  This is a free admission that the drag fleet is incapable of controlling themselves or their bycatch.  Isn't that why we have laws?  'Stranded quota' should never be an argument for allowing wasteful behavior.

Warm fuzzies and wet smoochie kisses to all the fat spinning spiders for getting the food banks involved in covering the sins of the drag fleet.  This feel good program does perhaps pass on a fraction of the otherwise groundup high value bycatch to hungry people, but it diffuses the outrage at that waste, and so is an enemy of good management. 

Starting in August, more fish will be delivered from the Gulf of Alaska.
"A lot of the processors who work in the Bering Sea also work in the Gulf," said Jim Harmon, Sea Share director. "They came to us earlier this year and said, 'We want to provide more fish to hunger relief, and we want to include the "prohibited species catch" we get in the Gulf pollock fishery.'"

Thieves, who give their victims' bodies to beggars, are still thieves.

Keep yer flippers wet.