Wednesday, March 30, 2011

GOA Trawlers Violate Two International Treaties and Endangered Species Act

The excessive trawler bycatch of at least 51,000 king salmon in the Gulf of Alaska, has triggered a "consultation" on the ESA.  Likely bycatch of remaining endangered kings from rivers all down the West Coast as far away as the Merced and Sacramento Rivers is the concern.  That is why there has been so much foot dragging over genetic analysis by the agencies.  It might expose some real problems.

Bycatch of treaty kings from Canada and the IPHC finally confessing that trawler bycatch is dangerous to the halibut resource (see story below), indicts Gulf of Alaska trawlers for violating two international treaties.  Will NOAA continue to back this group against the good health of our fisheries?  The US is famous for breaking treaties with its aboriginal peoples, how about with Canada? How about the Endangered Species Act?  The agencies made some provisions to control trawling after they (and others) practiced genocide on my species.

Keep yer flippers wet.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

IPHC: Halibut PSC limits were based on inadequate data.

 "The existing GOA Prohibited Species Cap (PSC) limits have been in place for trawl fisheries since 1986 and for fixed gear fisheries since 1996."

"Monitoring of both historical and current bycatch mortality is inadequate, and the PSC limit for trawl fisheries should be reduced as a precautionary measure until the improved observer procedures are implemented, at which time the estimated bycatch mortality levels can be re-evaluated in the context of halibut stock dynamics."

This has been an open secret for fifty years, as far as domestic trawling in the Gulf of Alaska is concerned.  We know it.  We have plenty of living witnesses.  But few have had the balls to make it public.  That rare video tape that you find on this blog illustrates the point that lies and deception have ruled the day.  Money does indeed talk.  So when the stodgy folks at the IPHC finally come clean and say that trawling on halibut stocks threatens the survival of those stocks, well, take heart.  I smell change in the air.  Or am I down wind of the haulout?

Keep yer flippers wet.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hitting the Kings Again

Until tomorrow...

NMFS Prohibits Directed Fishing for Pollock in Statistical Area 620 in the Gulf of Alaska

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 620 (between 154 degrees and 159 degrees W. longitudes) in the Gulf of Alaska, effective 12 noon, Alaska local time, March 22, 2011, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS.

Keep yer flippers wet.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Top Deadliest PSC Bycatch Through March 12 (Revised)

Through March 16, here are the dirtiest boats in the Gulf of Alaska in regard to observed bycatch.  What is not seen remains secret.  (This is revised, as raw data did not accurately represent the catches.  W.)

Longliners targeting cod:
    1. Kjevolja   5.38% bycatch of halibut in 117 observed hauls
    2. Blue North   6.12% bycatch of halibut in 90 observed hauls
    3. Beauty Bay   9.31% bycatch of halibut in 49 observed hauls
    4. Zenith   4.39% bycatch in 73 observed hauls
Unless these vessels are hand releasing the halibut, substantial damage to the halibut occurs with strippers or crucifiers and therefore an unacceptable high mortality damages the resource.

Non-pelagic trawlers targeting cod or 'bottom' pollock:
    1. Chellissa   311 kg per metric ton of pollock or 31% bycatch of halibut
    2. Cape Kiwanda   160 kg per metric ton of cod or 16% bycatch of halibut
    3. Michelle Rene   103 kg per metric ton of cod or 10% bycatch of halibut  
These are hard on the bottom draggers, the halibut mortality is very high.  But remember, this is only a snapshot since there are few observations here, data distortion occurs.  It might be lower or a helluva lot higher.  No one is there to bear witness.

Non-pelagic trawlers targeting cod or pollock:
    1. Legacy   bycatch of 134 kings
    2. Pacific Star   bycatch of 67 kings
    3. Gold Rush   bycatch of 22 kings
    4. For all observed bottom trawls so far---236 kings
Hard on the bottom (non pelagic) trawlers kill kings too.  These kings are dead, they do not survive the trip to the deck.  These are actual numbers, not percentages.  Read it and weep.

Pelagic trawlers targeting pollock:
    1. Caravelle   bycatch of 67 kings
    2. Hickory Wind   bycatch of 62 kings
    3. Leslie Lee   bycatch of 50 kings
    4. For all observed pelagic trawls so far---280 kings
These kings most likely are sluiced into the fish hold along with the targeted species and end up sorted out at the processing plant...quite dead.

Evidence that pelagic does not mean 'off the bottom:'
    1. Mar Pacifico 35 kg of halibut per metric ton of cod, supposedly pelagic trawling.  Definitions for pelagic and non-pelagic need tightening.  Currently they are pretty much unenforceable and meaningless.  He was as they say, 'kissing the bottom.'  Lots of bottom kissing in trawling, apparently.
Watch for the king salmon bycatch to sky rocket during the 'C' and 'D' seasons.  'D' stands for deadly, when it comes to king salmon bycatch.

Keep yer flippers wet.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bycatch Information Restored at NOAA

Although still reading in green that the data is unavailable, the Bycatch Rate Data is again available at  To make much sense of it, use your skills at Excel data sorting to hone in on the information you need.

Keep yer flippers wet.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Rumor has it...

  1. Crew report catches of over 150,000 pounds of eulachon and squid in the Shelikof when the target is pollock.  This was observed.  No wonder they are getting kings!  Easy to forget that the destruction of these forage species means the destruction of the food sources for the more 'valuable' fish.  We'll see what we can dig out of the NMFS bycatch stats.  But it is shortsighted and stupid to ignore the wholesale destruction of forage fish.  They call it ECOLOGY. 
  2. Out at Dutch, draggers are seen to come into the dock to pump off.  After the catch is sorted ashore, the plant pumps a deckload of herring back onto the dragger for dumping at sea.
  3. Crewman Johnny Eastcoaster, looking for work, comments that he is seeing some dislike of draggers by the rest of the Kodiak fishing fleet.  Admits that dragging back home off Cape Cod has meant there is nothing left to catch.  Says you have to go offshore 200 miles to find a decent fish.  Just saying...
  4. "It can't happen here," Frank Zappa.
Keep 'em wet.