Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Spectre of Gulf Ratz Arises Again

Gulf Ratz is on the move again.  As you may be aware, Gulf Ratz, a close, but more invasive political cousin to the common wharf rat,  is being revived under the guise of a tool for the draggers to control their appetite for wasting the resources of the Gulf of Alaska in the form of PSC (Prohibited Species Catch).  No mention of other bycatch.  The NPFMC will be taking this up at its October meeting.  It is widely expected that there will be the usual shrill and carefully planned call by Bonney and Co. for a rationalization program to award ownership of Gulf of Alaska groundfish to the draggers so they will act as better stewards of the resource.  The logic of "If you own it, you will take care of it" as championed by the NMFS (National Marine Trawler Service) and greenwashed environmental groups will rear its ugly head again.  No mention of any further independent observation of bycatch compliance is evident.  The abject failure of observer restructuring is apparently simply going to produce migraine headaches, economic stress, and out and out business failures for smaller operators of other gear types by denying them electronic monitoring options and forcing them to fish as scheduled regardless of weather and perhaps re-employing the Coast Guard once again as a rescue service rather than as a police force.  Amazing how the manipulation by powerful players can twist up well intended suggestions to their self serving best advantage.

Wiglaf is not the only fisherlion concerned:
"Several fishermen expressed concerns that if small boat fleets don’t survive, communities won’t survive. Many are also concerned about how the proposed program would affect the next generation of fishermen. Overall, no one at the meetings said they favor rationalization. But all expressed the need to protect the traditional fleets and the communities. The overall goal of rationalization is to avoid bycatch while still obtaining optimum yield."  Read more from Aleutians East Borough's Fish News.

Of course NMFS loves rationalized fisheries, and south of us, along the west coast of America, the fisheries are rationalized:

"West Coast Groundfish Catch Shares began in 2011 for the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Fishery. Over ten years in the making, it is one of the most transformative strategies in this fishery's management history. NOAA Fisheries, the west coast groundfish fleet, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, and the west coast states have worked together toward a common goal of healthy, sustainable fisheries and fishing communities. In addition to catch share quotas, the West Coast Groundfish IFQ Fishery includes a vastly improved monitoring system—using 100% observer coverage at sea and 100% monitoring of landings on shore. This refined monitoring system allows the fishery to be managed on an individual vessel basis, rather than via fleet-wide measures.  While the results presented in this report reflect only one year of data, a picture is emerging that is indeed positive for the groundfish resource, the fishermen, and their communities."
All the happy words are there so it must be okay, right?

Keep yer flippers wet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The draggers don't need a Quota system.
All that is needed is 100&% observer coverage on all trawlers, and individual bycatch caps per trip.

Go over your trip limit for bycatch, your seasons done.

The rest is just blackmail.