Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Halibut Bycatch Revisited/NPFMC to Address Halibut Bycatch

Halibut PSC Waste in Percentages of Targeted Catch:
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NPT is dragger speak for hard on the bottom dragging.  Although we know the percentage of this bycatch, we do not know the actual bycatch numbers for the individual vessels because the target catch numbers are kept private.  Look at the waste of high value halibut for the nearly worthless arrowtooth!  Incredible!

We do know that to July 23, 2011, draggers have wasted 870 metric tons of halibut, or 1,914,000 pounds, or $12,153,900 at $6.35 a pound.  That is 191,400 ten pounders.  Horrifying waste.  Of course these are probably little ping pong paddles that would grow to be big fish so the waste is exponentially higher.  According to the IPHC, "approximately 1.7 pounds are lost as yield to the fishery per pound of bycatch mortality." http://www.iphc.washington.edu/publications/scirep/SciReport0078.pdf.  So taking 870 metric tons of halibut is really removing 1470 metric tons from the fishery.

It is past time for the NPFMC to roll back the halibut PSC.  Preliminary review is scheduled during the next meeting scheduled inconveniently at Dutch Harbor starting September 28th to October 4th.  http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/Agendas/1011agenda.pdf
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Letters to the NPFMC are critcally important since most concerned fishemen will not be able to fly to Dutch for personal testimony.  ($482 round trip from Anchorage.)  Council's current range of options to review at 5, 10 and 15% reductions in the halibut PSC is far too little in an already almost too late action.  Forward rolling reductions based on halibut abundance are in order and the Council should be urged to re-evaluate the range of options to take more serious action to constrain the drag fleet in its destruction of the halibut resource.  With so much of the behavior of the drag fleet unobserved and shamefully secret, only the rumors of draggers wholesale halibut resource destruction surface; rumors the Council refuses to acknowledge.  This conspiracy of silence is only occasionally broken as with this video:
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or this photo:
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Eagles feast on king salmon amidst the carnage of halibut junveniles.

If all the IFQ owners who fought the Council's moves to restrict halibut IFQ leasing would apply the same pressure on the Council, which currently appears somewhat willing to roll back the waste in the GOA, great things might be accomplished.  To accept the same old defeatist line just plays into the hands of the draggers and their processor allies.  As halibut quotas continue to shrink, it is clear that 5 to 15% reductions are not sufficient to control the halibut waste of the drag fleet. 

Citizens, sportfishermen, charter operators, IFQ owners and subsistence fishermen must bring pressure to bear on the Council to re-evaluate the range of options for analysis to reduce the halibut PSC by the drag fleet.  Productivity in the GOA depends on you.

Keep yer flippers wet.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

video don't work

Wiglaf said...

It fixed now.

Anonymous said...

hahahaha.

Anonymous said...

It must be a really complicated process to get estimated mortality from these observed tows. Is there any explanation or example of how it's done?

Wiglaf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wiglaf said...

I'll see what I can dig up from the IPHC. I understand that the weight of the samples is calculated to be of its deliverable weight as though it were a marketable fish, not live weight. So a ping pong paddle halibut is what, half a pound, whereas the fish's potential as a harvestable adult is not considered.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Was more curious to learn which data they use when a boat does not have an observer on board. Do they take numbers from other boats and extrapolate them or do they wait until there's proper coverage for that area? How could it be accurate?

Wiglaf said...

The bycatch calculations are done through statistacal modelling. Since these models rely upon data that the draggermen are able to 'cherry pick,' by making decisions where to fish based upon observational coverage. The data is skewed, or as we say, 'gamed.' Therefore the impact of bycatch mortality remains hidden. 100% observer coverage or implimentation of video observation would bolster confidence in the actual bycatch numbers. According to the IPHC, "Approximately 1.7 pounds are lost as yield to the fishery per pound of bycatch mortality." So whatever the real number, you can nearly double it to calculate the loss and waste in the halibut bycatch.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand...sounds complicated....So, there's only 1 out of 3 days observed? What are the requirements for these days? Do they have to be in sequence? Like, 2 days fishing, 1 day observed..or can they do something like 6 days fishing 3 days observed? Does it mean that 1/3 days have to be observed for each target species? Is it separated between shallow and deep water? Is there a minimum amount of tows or volume that must be attained? Do they have to fish in the same area?

They're coming to bottom fish

Anonymous said...

In general, observer data is extrapolated to all boats in that fishery. The amount of bycatch is assumed to be the same rate as the samples show. That may not be accurate, but that is the only fair method. Although it may be true, you cannot assume that unobserved boats catch more bycatch than observed boats. The halibut catch has a Discard Mortality Rate applied and is tracked as halibut mortality. That is the halibut catch data you are looking at. In some cases it is an annual limit, in some fisheries it is a seasonal limit.

Wiglaf said...

Nice. A straight forward from the official viewpoint, but bogus as hell.
"The amount of bycatch is assumed to be the same rate as the samples show. That may not be accurate, but that is the only fair method. Although it may be true, you cannot assume that unobserved boats catch more bycatch than observed boats."
Assume...make an ass out of you and me, as they say. No, it is not fair and is in fact totally unacceptable. We know from planety of crew anecdotal evidence that unobserved boats are very much dirtier than observed boats. I know of one particular trawler who gets very uptight when it is time for their observer. Whay the hell would that be? Dirt evidence, that's why. So try your fair and resonable stuff elsewhere. Fact: unobserved vessels are BIG unknowns and extrapolating is hocus pocus that has been used far too long to cover the waste in the GOA. Why else would clean spots be shared among the fleet for observational tows? Why are certain areas on VMS records never observed?

Wiglaf said...

Here, I'll give you an analogy to observed and unobserved behavior. Let's put a traffic cop in your car and have you drive through various speed zones. Behavior? Perfect.

Now take the traffic cop out of your car and run the same course...very much different. So please...don't give me that fair argument. Human nature. Ask Arne.

Anonymous said...

Yup, I ass u me it's near the end.

Anonymous said...

So, tell us. How much bycatch should NMFS assign to those unobserved boats? You have two choices--assume it is the same as observed boats or just make something up. Use some logic here and drop the tired old cliches. Assumptions are are necessary part of any science or management when the facts are unknown. You know there are also boats with lower bycatch rates than the observed boats, but that doesn't fit your agenda.

Anonymous said...

"Nice. A straight forward from the official viewpoint, but bogus as hell."

Just stating the facts. I am not the "official viewpoint", just someone who knows about this. Try using the "internets" sometime and you could learn something instead of just spreading misinformation. I know as well as you that unobserved boats catch more bycatch, but I don't think it is some kind of NMFS conspiracy to hide bycatch. They just follow the law and the regs and can only say what they know. All they know is what observer samples show.
Increased observer coverage or full retention are options to reduce observed bycatch. Implying NMFS is hiding data just adds to the problem, but that seems to be your thing.
I know you wont post this, so I will quit wasting my time on deaf ears and intentionally ignorant bloggers.

Wiglaf said...

Because NMFS knows there is a problem and refuses to be proactive in addressing it, they are complict in the problem. The Adolph Eichmann defense of "I was only doing my job," does not cut it.

Don't read this blog if you don't care.

Wiglaf said...

How much bycatch assigned to unobserved vessels? Wrong question. 100% observer coverage for at least a year to get some valid data. Then random coverage to spot check for variation in the following years. Right answer. Backed up with video surveilance, like Canada. This also assures the observer is observed. This avoids the Arne factor.

Anonymous said...

"Try using the "internets" sometime and you could learn something instead of just spreading misinformation."

Try taking a few trips sole or arrowtooth fishing and you might "learn" something.

Wiglaf said...

Been there and done that.

It is not fishing. It is dragging.

Anonymous said...

"You know there are also boats with lower bycatch rates than the observed boats, but that doesn't fit your agenda."

Let's just be brutally honest. These boats get a 0% Arrowtooth or Sole fishing on their 1 observed day and turn around and throw away up to 20 or 30% of their whole trip. That's 60-90k of unobserved Halibut in one trip. That occurs on the regular. As in everyday.

Anonymous said...

Gulf of Alaska Flatfish bycatch: 2.08kg discard per 1kg landed

according to the FAO

Sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

LET THE DRAGGERS BRING DOWN THE HALIBUT IFQ PONZI SCHEME! 33 dollars a pound for IFQs. The resource is locked up in the hands of a few millionaires. Support the drag fleet and remove restraints on by-catch. If they have no fear of shutting down the season for by-catch they'll fish more rationally. Let's get more fishermen out there for more days. More jobs. Screw the Halibut IFQs

Wiglaf said...
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Wiglaf said...

FINALLY! a real picture of the dragger viewpoint. This is the argument draggers use among themselves to rationalize destroying halibut (and other species) as fast and hard as they can. IFQ holders are millionaires? Bullshit. They work hard for every penny they earn halibut fishing but the draggers privately say "Fuck halibut bycatch! We will get rid of them and rule whatever is left." (Arrowtooth) Right, Julie? Or do you believe your own spin? And to think poor old Al argues we are all alike! No, we are not! Dragger moves for sector splits are a grab for resource ownership larger than anything like Qs. Resource health and sustainability is our children's future; all our children. Or is that too esoteric for you?

Anonymous said...

And what of the fisherman who weren't grandfathered IFQs or given them by their rich parents? How will they sustain themselves? Should they buy in at 30+ dollars a pound? $900,000 for 30,000#?? IFQs need to go. Let the halibut die.

Marie Owens said...

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I was searching for your contact information, but I couldn't find it so I thought I would leave you a comment. I really like your blog and I was wondering if you accept guest writers? I am very interested!

Anonymous said...

off topic

Whats up with Dersham and Hull on this one?

http://alaskajournal.com/stories/061711/fis_gccsa.shtml

Anonymous said...

Any progress on this yet? Haven't heard much about bycatch since that longline fag got clipped for logbook falsification. NOAA enforcement must be so proud. They got the one long-line dude with his 30k blackcod! About now there are probably 40 or so trawl captains laughing their asses off about the 20 ton halibut bags they're running over their belts and gaffing out the ramp. You should do some sort of interview or something to raise some awareness. Noone's gonna mess with you little sealion.

Anonymous said...

Wiggy....I've got a question about your content: Why are you moving away from the fact that most of the bycatch is unobserved and the numbers are obscured while moving more towards talking about how small the fish are? They've got the science down to explain away the small fish part. Also: I think it would be more effective to show the low halibut/low tow numbers to the people and explain the implications rather than show how well the observers are documenting the high bycatch levels of one or two bad trips.

Sometimes I wonder if this is like some seven samurai bullshit where they have a castle breech so they can bottleneck all the enemies and own them. Every great fortress has a breech and it's name is Wiglaf.

No other breeches of the dragger guard and no real impact or awakening concerning the Halibut situation. You make me wonder. You need to go big or go home.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous, who said "So, tell us. How much bycatch should NMFS assign to those unobserved boats? You have two choices--assume it is the same as observed boats or just make something up."

Only two choices? Who paid you off? How about 100% observer coverage AND video coverage to keep the observers honest. Let's get some real numbers to stop the rape before the inevitable crash.

Marie Owens said...

Im sorry I couldnt find your contact information so I am leaving a comment. I really enjoy your blog and I was wondering if you accepted guest writers? I am very interested! Please contact me back as soon as possible. My email is marieowens86@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Compare and contrast wig-

They say 0% halibut- 1 tow

We see 10% halibut- 10 tows

Anonymous said...

Yup, looks like we're really fucked now. Lubchenko say's she's gonna rationalize the gulf.