According to an article in Fishermen's News:
'Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association in Sitka, was among those attending the halibut workshop in Seattle. Behnken said that the group concluded that bycatch has had a significant impact on the spawning biomass of halibut. "It's a conservation concern with allocative implications," she said. "The direct yield loss of a pound of bycatch taken in the trawl fleet is a pound to the commercial <longline> fleet, maybe a little bit more, and the impact to the female spawning biomass of one pound of bycatch ranges from two to five pounds of impact to the spawning biomass, depending on where the fish is taken and the size of the fish."'
That is frightening, but hardly news, as we have reported here before. You can't keep killing the geese without affecting the numbers of golden eggs.
Julie Bonney, spokesman for the drag and processor interests had a different spin: The 'executive director of the Alaska Groundfish Data Bank at Kodiak, said there is so much unknown about the status of the halibut resource that a better plan would be a comprehensive five-year work plan to get a better understanding of the science surrounding the fishery.'
Typical Julie Bonney to obfuscate and delay any meaningful changes to the way the drag fleet scrapes up their low value / high volume fish at whatever the cost to the long term health of the Gulf of Alaska. She is a superior excuse maker. Whenever the Council is feeling hesitant or impotent, they hear her gilded words about five year plans and more and better studies, complete with such bureaucratic platitudes as "comprehensive" and "unknowns" and delay action again. Unfortunately, they most often move on the side of caution, ding the small players and concede to corporate interests. It is not information they lack, but the courage to look to the best interests of the whole Gulf of Alaska and control the drag fleet. Time is over for excuses, we need action.
The Council has scheduled two days in Kodiak on this issue and this is a perfect opportunity to let the Council know how you feel about wasting the Gulf. Come here and testify.
By the way, where the hell is our illustrious governor on this? I have heard he is very impressed with Julie Bonney's line of bullshit. Too bad for him and us.
Keep yer flippers wet.