Tag Archives: Groundfish Forum

Fishing-industry groups blast Inslee over his picks for federal council

Gov. Jay Inslee’s handling of nominations for a federal fishery-council seat has come under attack from the leaders of major North Pacific fishing-industry groups, which have taken the unusual step of sending a complaint letter to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.,, In their letter sent Tuesday, they asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to reject Inslee’s nominations and called for the governor to come up with some new names for a seat on the council. The industry backlash reflects the high stakes in fish politics, where the federal fishery council helps sets the rules for a billion-dollar groundfish harvest, much of which is caught and processed by Seattle-based companies. The letter is signed by the leaders of the Pacific Seafood Processors Association, At-Sea Processors Association, Groundfish Forum, and United Catcher Boats, whose membership collectively catches or processes most the groundfish. Read the article, click here 10:05

Harvesting flatfish in the Last Frontier

Docked in Seattle a few days after Thanksgiving, the F/T Constellation is still filled with the smell of coastal Alaska waters; briny ocean and fresh fish. It wafts up from the lower levels and covers the deck. The vessel has been scrubbed and scoured, but the aroma is impossible to shake. The 165-foot vessel spent the better part of 2016 trawling the Bering Sea. For months, it carried several dozen crewmembers, decks full of equipment and freezers full of fresh seafood. It motored in and out of Dutch Harbor, the fishing capital of the Aleutian Island chain. While it’ll spend the early winter in Seattle, the break is brief—the vessel heads north again each year when the fishing season resumes in January. Built in Louisiana and based in Washington, the Constellation is crewed by men from all over the world. But it’s also distinctly Alaskan; part of a hardy fleet fueling local economies throughout the Southwest. Read the story here 13:25

No Catch Shares! Gulf rationalization dies a quiet death

Gulf of Alaska groundfish will remain an open access fishery indefinitely after the North Pacific Fishery Management Council tabled a policy package that has enraged fishermen of all stripes over the last year. Depending on who is asked, the council acted at either its best or its worst with the decision. “The council process didn’t work. They didn’t solve the problem,” said Julie Bonney, executive director of the Groundfish Forum, an industry group of trawlers and processors. “They just took the political part first and ignored the management. I have to keep reminding myself, this isn’t about management. It’s about politics.” Others said the council did exactly what it should have done in the face of so many contentious decisions on which so many people expressed opinions. “I think this is actually the best illustration of council process, rather than the worst,” said Duncan Fields, a Kodiak attorney and former council member who was among the most vocal on this subject. “It shows that one gear group with a particular ideology and particular economic interest with very good advocates can’t just jam something through the council,” he said. “The council allows other participants, small boat fishermen, community, stakeholders to also have a voice, and that voice has said a catch share program is not the best public policy. You don’t always get the result you want.” Read the rest here 20:39

Walker administration says loophole costs $1.4M in taxes from some of the big Washington-based factory trawlers

100 Dollar Bills HD WallpaperGov. Bill Walker’s proposed fish tax increase has drawn attention to a loophole giving a discount of as much as $1.4 million a year to some of the big Washington-based factory trawlers that fish off Alaska’s coast — and Walker’s administration is working to fix it. Price estimates used by the state to assess existing taxes on 300 million pounds of yellowfin sole are less than one-sixth of the true prices upon which the taxes are supposed to be based, according to officials at the state Fish and Game department. Four other types of fish have also been discounted, some drastically, the department says, while one has been overvalued.  Read the rest here 00:11

Adak seeks cod quota, factory trawlers cry foul

Despite factory trawler opposition, Adak wants federal regulators to guarantee a minimum amount of Pacific cod each year, in hopes that the local fish processing plant will re-open. The Aleutian Islands Pacific cod catcher vessel fishery and shoreplant delivery requirement is on the agenda of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting this week in Anchorage. The bottomtrawl factory trawler’s lobbying group, , condemned Adak’s request. Read the rest here 10:32