In 1997, Canada decided it was going to do something about its halibut trawl bycatch. Canada's solution was to require a Fisheries Observer aboard 100% of their trawlers, require that ALL bycatch be brought back to port(to be tallied), and to create an individual "Penalty Box" type system for their trawl fleet. The Penalty Box system created an individual allowable halibut bycatch limit for each boat on each trip. If a boat exceeded their individual limit on a trip, they would be put in the Penalty Box and not allowed to fish for a predetermined amount of time.
This Canadian system reduced the Canadian trawl fleet's halibut bycatch 90% in just two years. By changing their fishing techniques and fishing slightly less "efficiently", the Canadian trawl captains were able to STILL catch 100% of their target species.
Since Canada and the USA share a common biomass of halibut, Canadian regulators and biologists have been begging the US to adopt their system ever since. But to no avail....
Now, 23 years later, the Alaskan trawl fleet is STILL allowed to catch, kill, and dump more halibut each year than the entire rod and reel sector is allowed to retain. The ONLY possible explanation for this is that it is less expensive for the trawl industry to hire lobbyists(to keep halibut bycatch limits artificially high) than it is for the trawl captains to fish more cleanly(which would result in lower profit margins as a result of higher fuel burns and more time at sea).
Unfortunately, WE have all tolerated this waste for far too long. But now....., we're all feeling the sting of reduced limits and habitat destruction.
At SOME point, the directed fisheries as a whole(subsistence, rod & reel, and longline), are going to have stand up together to go all-in to fight for common-sense regulation of bycatch. Our elected officials(especially the governor of Alaska) need to have it made perfectly clear to them that the financial gains of accepting campaign donations from the trawl industry is NOT worth the voter outrage which it will create. Somewhere, there is a tipping point in the minds of politicians, and when we reach that tipping point, common sense shall suddenly prevail.
Please contact your elected officials and Industry Representatives!
You are so welcome Captain! Thank you and your crew for offering such a memorable Wild Alska experience. We’re so glad that your operation doesn’t fall under the category of “big cruise ships”! Don’t know what I would do without an annual dose of Perseverance, Patience and Fortitude. 😉
Trident Seafoods’ 233-foot floating processor Aleutian Falcon continued to burn at the dock in the Port of Tacoma early Thursday morning after a fire broke out onboard around 11 p.m. Wednesday, Feb....
This season, while the Comfish fleet was exceeding its allocations and quota by millions of tons, the Southeast Alaska guided angler effort (number of fish caught) was down 47% from 2019, and pounds of allocation caught was 36% UNDER the annual quota! Aaargh....Wild Alaska puts its money where its mouth is.. #captainlarry... See MoreSee Less
Wild Alaska needs you know this! Alaska 2020 Halibut BYCATCH now @ 4.9 million lbs. 2020 total Southeast Alaska Charter catch: 477k lbs Aaaargh....are you pissed off yet?... #captainlarry... See MoreSee Less
A 2019 United Nations report put the bycatch rate in the Gulf of Alaska Deepwater flatfish trawl at 92%; ranking it as the 4th highest discard rate in the WORLD.
For every 100 lbs of fish or sealife brought aboard, 92 lbs were dumped.
The State of Alaska charges a 3% Landing tax, and the 2019 NOAA FOSS Landings reports show average value of "flatfishes" is $0.17 per pound.
So.......via the landing tax, Alaska is being reimbursed at a rate of 1/2 penny($0.005) per pound, for a fishery which dumps back 92% of the fish they catch.
Oh and did I mention that at least one trawl company is CURRENTLY suing the State in an attempt to avoid having to pay ANY landing tax?
Take a look around the history of the world; trawlers overharvesting stocks is the norm, not the exception. Difference is, after they have wrecked a stock, they have the boats and the capital to move on to the next fishery. It is the locals in the directed fisheries who are stuck cleaning up the mess
If you don't think that the trawl lobbies have historically had an outsized influence over fisheries regulations, think again...
UN FAO REPORT:http://www.fao.org/3/ca2905en/ca2905en.pdf
Simply DISGUSTING! FYI I follow Alaska Fishing News and STOP Alaskan Trawler Bycatch on FB too! Dear Lord!
All trawl fisheries should be banned until they can be managed to avoid this amount of by catch
We need some chefs to start making tasty meals so these discards have a market to flow into raising the value so everyone wins ! Seriously, even fish soup, fish fritters, fish sticks etc... where are the food company entrepreneurs? 3% tax on the weight per ton of fish is $60.00 / 2,000 Lb = $ .03 (per Lb.) - $ .17 (current price per Lb) = $.14 gross profit per Lb. × 2,000 Lb. = $280.00 per ton after 3% tax.
Now if the trawler is making all of it's over head plus profit by keeping only 8% of the catch this leaves the 92% cast off pure profit ! Now I realize the trawler doesn't want to processor fill their tanks with this waste soooo how about placing very large processing ships with refridgeration close to the fishing grounds to collect & process then package & freeze the finished product ? I know the trawler captain wants to trawl, catch, sort & keep the profit BUT dump the spoils & move on... So perhaps with a small fleet of collecting ships were in the area, pulled up to the trawler and transfered the load via vacuum into their tanks. The trawler moves on while the fleet ship meets other trawlers to load up. Trawlers are happy. Fleets of collector ships deliver the full tanks to the processing ship who happily processes. This exact same process is in use in Alaska every year... yep... small boats netting the salmon runs filling their tanks then moving out to a larger ship to unload then small boats move back into the salmon grounds to catch and fill their now empty tanks. The fleet of bigger collecting ships eventually fill their tanks and head to the factory to unload. Once unloaded they head back to the Salmon grounds to collect more fish from the smaller boats when their tanks are topped. Yeah, there are some logistical concerns to address and work out but the point is this general plan concept is possibly quite feasible if we can bring the Seafood companies in for finished product distribution & marketing. Each step of the costs will need to be assessed from the fleet costs for picking up and delivering the raw product to the large ship processor & deliver to the seafood companies. Yes, the trawler captains need some incentive income for taking time to upload to the collector ship. It can be done. Waste can be eliminated BUT turned into a valued viable healthy food high in protein to distribute to markets around the world in need of a consistent source of protein to feed their nations. We also save our fisheries. That would become better managed just as the current crab industry is in Alaska & Fisheries off the coast of New England the Gulf Coast & Canada as well as other countries. So where are the Seafood entrepreneurs ? The catch is already proven to be readily available.