Monday, December 5, 2011

Unaccounted for Halibut Mortality Explained?


The announcement by the IPHC that halibut predicted by the stock model have gone missing in following years has led me to think about where they may have gone.  When Doug Hoedel was on the NPFMC (and had a huge halibut PSC problem while trawling cod), he said, at an informal meeting in Kodiak, that trawlers needed 8,000 metric tons of halibut for their bycatch needs. Later, at another meeting, Julie Bonney of GFDB repeated the same number.  Now I wonder how they both came up with that specific number? 

Most people familiar with this fishery realize that the present 2,000 metric ton PSC cap on Gulf trawlers is nearly meaningless due to gaming of the observer program, potential sampling problems, and industry involvement in the generating of bycatch numbers that appear to always lead to reductions.  Could it be that the 8,000 metric tons (17,600,000 pounds) of halibut bycatch desired by the GOA trawler is closer to the actual number that they know they catch?  If it is true, 6,000 metric tons (13,200,000 pounds) of mortality would be missing from the IPHC management model each year from this one fishery in the Gulf of Alaska. Each year the model would recommend a directed catch that was substantially too high.  The next year's survey and directed fishery CPUE data would see this but the model would produce a new harvest goal that was still wrong due to the unaccounted for mortality.

Unaccounted for bycatch leads to poor modelling by stock managers.

I would recommend to IPHC director Bruce Leaman that his staff retrospectively run the model calculations with 8,000 metric tons of gulf trawl bycatch to see if the model predictions are corrected.  Knowing the magnitude of the "missing" halibut would be a good start to finding them.



Anonymous said...

It's only 13 million pounds, noone will notice. No big deal right?

Anonymous said...

15 years ago, at the Feb NPFMC meeting, Canadiens Bruce Turris (DFO) and Eric Wikam (fisherman) gave a presentation describing how Canada reduced their halibut bycatch in their pacific coast trawl fishery while at the same time catching ALL their directed trawl quotas.

The trawlers maintain that they can't prosecute their fishery without massive bycatch but Canada proved them wrong.

The NPFMC chose to ignore this info and has continued to for 15 years. Why??

Because the NPFMC is run by trawl and processing interests who made and continue to make huge profits off the status quo.

They could catch all their trawl quotas without the massive bycatch but it wouldn't be as profitable. Simple.

The Canucks went from 2 million lbs of halibut bycatch to less than 300,000 lbs in ONE year while catching ALL their trawl quotas.

Individual boat bycatch caps.

100% observer coverage on ALL trawlers.

And wide open seasons on trawl species, so trawlers could fish when and where their target species were when they were segregated from bycatch species.
But we can't be bothered.

What does this cost the state in fish tax and the local communities in fish taxes, jobs etc??? How many charter clients has this waste turned away???

Anonymous said...

The worst of the offenders belong in jail. They've been all over the West Coast and Alaska playing the observer games. Shame on the NPFMC, NMFS, IPHC, NOAA, AGDB, and Alaska whitefish trawlers. All responsible but nowhere to be found for the last 20 years.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know if you have a response to the editorial in "Pacific Fishing" where the editor basically ripped you a new one over the bycatch issue. Any comments on that?

Also, what is your opinion on commercial halibut guys--I read your comments on Craig Medred's blog where you called the ifq guys a bunch of silver spoon brats who got everything from their daddies, or words to that affect. I know a lot of halibut guys read your blog--do you think they're all assholes, like Medred does?

Wiglaf said...

Pathetic Fishing...Haven't seen it. Truth is what it is. My facts come from NOAA himself. If they are wrong, and I suspect they are, especially bycatch estimations, then, oh well, that is why I criticize them. Halibut guys? My allies, as are pot fishermen, but any dirty fishermen need to clean it up. Trawling is dirty by its non-selective nature.

"I read your comments on Craig Medred's blog where you called the ifq guys a bunch of silver spoon brats who got everything from their daddies, or words to that affect."

I never said that, I never would. Must be someone trying to misrepresent me. Are you surprised? Speaking out is a dangerous activity.

Wiglaf said...

Medred? He is nobody's friend but his own. He apparently hates commercial fisherman. What else is new?

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected about the Medred blog. Your "Wiglaf" name was used in some blog comments, along with a link to here, that caused me to think you the author. You weren't. I should have read closer, sorry.

Anonymous said...

Black propaganda or differing view point?

Anonymous said...

Has the IPHC responded to your suggestion of running the model with Hoedel's bycatch numbers? If not what was their reason? Balsiger object?