NPFMC salmon by catch meeting


Greed, Money and Fear Took Over and Won

Anchorage – April 7, 2009

I KNOW – Big surprise!!
After many hours of preparation and then attending of the meeting  we end with really no progress on a the by-catch issue.

The Council reduced the recommended 68,392 hard cap down to 60,000, and also stipulated that if the by catch exceeds 47,591 in any 3 out of a rolling 7 year period, then the cap is automatically reduced to 47,591.

The overall opinion is that this was little more than a token gesture.

We had hopes of at least seeing something around 47,000 for a top but it looks like all the money spent, fear induced and overall impression that “what we do is more important” that was produced by a handful of processors and a CDQ seems to have won, at least the first round!

The need for people to have the right to earn an income, feed their families and maintain my culture , could not win out over, “If you do this I will loose most of my profit” statements.

We are regrouping and have not given up the fight but obviously the efforts will have to change and ramp up in a different way.

Thanks for all the support and we will pass on more details in the next day or so as I get home, have time to review what all this means to the actual fishermen.



Hello All from the NPMS meeting on Salmon By-Catch in Anchorage—

I am going to try and do a running comment section so you can have an idea of all that is happening here.
So far the first two days I have been here, we have had industry report after industry report on the salmon by-catch and impact of the pollack industry in Alaska.
Some highlights (and giggles when they came) as most of this is VERY dry. (hopefully all my facts are right as I am trying as I go with notes)
*A good recap was given on the Alaska State subsistence report back in 2005. A few interesting things I learned;
The cost of food in – over the cost of Anchorage stores;
Bethel – a hub village near Ann’s village 197%
Nome – farther north but nearer oil fields 204%
King Salmon- a hub near us in Bristol Bay 218%
This was in 2005 so you can imagine the impact your lower 48 dollars have in food for us in our villages. We have still more cost getting it to our villages outside of the hubs.
100_11822*One person who represented the pollock industry spoke on how many billions of pounds of fish stick that are provided to the world as an inexpensive food source. He mentioned that there are some high value items but much of what they produce feeds many overseas. He emphasis the importance of feeding all these people.
One board member stated that he was impressed that this company was so worried about “feeding the world”. He then asked what they did with the by-catch they caught. The man was a little confused as he stated that they are required by law to throw them overboard. (He was right)  Then the board member asked if they did not have the option to freeze the salmon and donate them to a food bank? (he is right too) The man then stated that the fish were too thick so they could not do it (this is due to equipment on board).
Interesting the reaction of the crowd at the time – it was a ‘gotcha’ :-))
(UPDATE – I just learn that the food bank donations most likely go to Seattle, the home port for most of these ships)
*One report showed that if there was the low cap we are now calling for the last few years the EXPECTED number of fish that would have returned –
Yukon river would have had 5000+ more fish
Kuskokwim ( a river on the east side of Bristol Bay)  12,000+ fish
If you take the price of fish to the fishermen at $5/lb for an average of 20 pounds ( a med sized King) you are looking at 100,000 pounds for Yukon and a value of $500,000 to the commercial fishermen. This is the value of just that portion to the commercial fishermen and does not even speak to the subsistence value to family and culture.
Approximately the same value is for the fish of the Bristol Bay as we are paid someone less, $1.50 to $2.00, but look to have more fish returning to that one river.
This does not count all the other rivers where Chinook return and are harvested and the volume we could have. They also spoke to some of the catch looks to be from OR, CA and WA – the fisheries that are so impacted the last few days!!
I will give you an update on the start of the actual public testimony after the break. The bum can only take so much before I have to spend some time standing in the back listening, thus typing is hard:-))
100_1185Nap time – the adults are envious

Nick Tucker’s comments- (I do NOT type fast enough:-)


That he is talking for his villages.

Is he talking to the air? His villagers deserve more than that. He hopes he is not.

He tended to the wounds of his village during this winter. (he referred to it as the human tragedy, the lack of food and fuel,  a number of times)

If you have ears and a heart make the two fisheries together. We need your help!

They have survived together.

This statement deserves more and I hope you have questions.

He was asked why Nick is going  back to 1991 for a by-catch amount versus what they, the committee studies have chosen?

He stated that in ’97 was the last time that they made their full catch. (From 1998 to 2000 they started getting fish that were returning not as healthy, caused by ocean conditions. Then from there a number of thing started to happen that have led to the disaster of this past year.- clarification supplied by a great lady from ADF&G sitting next to me:-)) They, the Yukon River Drainage,  have been in a building and restoration mode for years.

He referenced the United Nation agreement? they made in the 1990’s to stop high sea fisheries to preserve fish stock and I believe a way of life ( we will look this up and get more info)

He referenced that no one cried that they could not make money during that time so we should be able to return to that time.

Next question asked by a board member-

Assuming that by-catch will happen – if it were caught and frozen would the villagers accept it?

He went on to say there is nothing that replaces the catching, skinning and all the other items it entails of the salmon that swim up the river. (interesting as I was wondering about the impact of not having those Chinook be able to spawn or at least a portion of them. Just a thought)

He STRETCHED it well:-) as he was only allowed 4 minutes but he made full time of it.



Nick and I spoke after his testimony and when I said that I was trying to get his words out he asked that I get the following out ‘ as loud and much as you can’–

We must work together and IF the Pollock industry does not start to do conservation measures now  they are going to pay dearly for it in the future. He is referring to the reduced catch limits that pollock industry are currently working under.

If I am understanding his concern correctly he is worried that they are not taking care of their industry as well as they should be.

I felt this showed a great concern for those other villages, like Coastal Villages, that rely more on their CDQ monies than a salmon industry.

Also Nick JUST gave me a copy of the full testimony he HOPED to present but is stopped by time. I will read and give you the highlights a tad later. I need to listen while doing this – so please excuse the bullet point methods:-))



One villager from MT View Valley (?) spoke to the need for pollock money to the continued health of his family and village. When asked what is more important, he had to agree that salmon was.

90 Responses to “NPFMC salmon by catch meeting”

  1. anonymousbloggers Says:

    OK – More Fish News!!

    I am going to do this in bullet form to get as much across as possible—

    We are still on public testimony.

    *One man spoke to us working together and feels that although they need the monies from the pollock industry for many benefits in his villages he is concerned.
    He claimed that when, in the past, tribes had come to his CDQ looking to increase the subsistence runs of fish, they have been threatened with having the funds for their salmon restoration projects pulled. He feels these conversations are unneeded.

    * One young lady spoke to the opportunities that the CDQ has given her via the scholarship to get a Bachelor degree.
    She also mentioned that when she went home to subsistence fish this past summer she ate 8 bowls of fish soup because it tasted so well.

    *One woman asked who in the crowd to stand that was a subsistence user. 60% stood up. When asked to stand if you get something from a CDQ and pollock – 80% stood

    *Another man spoke to the fact is “not practical” for his people to not have food.

    It is “not practical” to have elders not have fuel.
    IT IS practical to have the pollock find technical ways to reduce the by-catch.

    * Green Peace spoke.
    He mentioned the low returns. He also spoke to another set of closings on other rivers.
    He mentioned that the MSC issue is coming up for the pollock industry and this might have to go them.
    He also mentioned what is we might be heading to a ESA (endangered species act) listing that will hurt ALL.

    * Mr Winegard spoke – from St Mary’s
    He passed out condoms claiming the subsistence is getting SCR3W#D!!
    He is speaking to the need to of families and to see elders cry when he shares a fish with them.

    We need sacrifice from ALL – not just the subsistence community.
    He is pushing for a 37,000 fish cap.
    He is asked if the lower count is going to be enough –
    He said EVERY FISH COUNTS at this point. The cap needs to be low and we must allow for rebuilding.

    I will not speak until right before 7 PM – hopefully!!!
    Will keep it coming as I can:-))

  2. ugavic Says:

    Some of this is going to get is going to get mixed up in order as I am going to start leaving comments here to lessen the load on one of our “helpers” :-))

  3. ugavic Says:

    Families are talking that is takes at least 200 fish per family to feed them. This does not count if they share it with an elder or others who are not able to fish.
    It is also being brought up that the commercial fishery is needed to so that people can buy skiffs, fuel, and other things ALSO TO DO SUBSISTENCE fishing.
    I think I am going to try and mention that what I bought today, when I snuck out for a couple of hours, in groceries was $277 here and would easily be $1000 at home and that is IF I could even get the fresh stuff.
    Hopefully I will have the time!!

  4. ugavic Says:

    I have to tell you that listening to person after person tell you how much they are being helped by their CDQ is interesting.
    NOT Something we can say in our villages. We are not seeing the job development IN the villages by our CDQ.
    I have to say we all have a lot of questions to ask- although I believe most of these jobs are operated at a loss from what we are also hearing. Also that many are at the lower wage scale.
    What happens if they fish the pollock industry out???
    Is this the way we are being sent by our CDQs??
    Give up you jobs fishing, let the big industry do it and then we will give you a low paying job???

  5. anonymousbloggers Says:

    This is where it becomes confusing because these are Vic’s comments I’ve collected between the initial post and now. They will give you an idea of the comments up until now and Vic can keep the comments coming without a middle man. Thanks for being there Vic!!!!

    Univak island-
    One women who just finished talking bought out that everyone is subsistence to stand up – about 60% did.
    Then all those who do CDQ and pollock benefits – 80%.
    She said they have 60% unemployment. “When they get a chinnok they share it with all as it is special.
    She is fully in support of the CDQ BUT also feels for the subsistence fishermen.


    One man now is saying that is it “not practical’ to make my people go with out food.
    Not practical to have to choose fuel over food.
    It is practical to do technical advances to fish pollock without chinook.
    Mr Lake is his name.
    He is pushing to use the scientific resources and keep the politics out of it.


    Am I getting the correct impression_ many speakers earn money from pollock but they also live subsistance and that is based on salmon.


    Green Peace is talking now!!
    Talking about low returns to Western Alaska of Chinnok and also the record by-catch.
    Norton Sounds was closed also.
    each mentioned that the eyes of the entire country is watching their decision.
    Worried if the other factors.
    ESA listing might be needed to safeguard this stock.
    Wants a lower hard cap is their primary concern to provide enough food to provide for families.
    I got his card in case we need it:-))))
    One guy is speaking on the need to use more science to govern it.
    Is there sampling from the high seas- from the eye, scales and fins – guess it looks like it will do DNA and also ocean conditions in the fish.

    Was mid way down page 6.


    Now more subsistence speakers look to be coming out.
    I am guessing that the split is 70% pollock and 30% Chinook


    They are talking about a Tier II on salmon – I can’t imagine.
    This is where ONLY certain people will be allowed to fish and only a certain amount.


    We are still getting CDQ guys – the money that Coastal Villages spent sending these people in here is HUGE!!

  6. ugavic Says:

    Quik PAk rep is talking.
    This man has been buying Chinook on the Yukon – talking about the other 20 family owned companies that USED to be there buying fish.
    (What he is not saying is the CDQ ran the others out so they are the only buyer now.)
    Good as long as the CDQ does right by its people, cause there is very little competition now!
    In the 90’s much bigger harvest and about 10 years ago things started declining.
    Down to 5% of what it once was.
    Now adays the idea of getting an additional 20,000 a year.
    He is now having to speak to the idea that the fish are now worth more than 10 years ago.

  7. ugavic Says:

    Another man is speaking to a cap of 29,000 or even lower.
    Another man who is speaking in Yupik, I think, with a transaltor. (Mr Jimmy)
    (Ann – how can you even start to master this language:-))?? IT is so much like an asian dialect with many gutteral sounds.
    He is worried about jobs for the youth that the CDQ provides.

  8. ugavic Says:

    Another Yukon River resident.
    Raised 7 kids off the Yukon. Many have moved to other areas, seems like many places in AK.
    His parents started a ‘cultural camp’ for kids. He is speaking to the harvesting of salmon during ‘windows’ only. A totally foreign idea.

  9. ugavic Says:

    A woman speaking to now be working although it is only one month. She is getting a job through a CDQ company.
    They are talking about the stove oil and wood they are getting.
    All supported by pollock.

  10. ugavic Says:

    The president of Coastal Village Region Fund- They feel left out EDS study in the value of the pollock to them and also the investments they have and are generated from those investments.
    He admits that first and formost subsistence uses of Chinook and they support a prorated (?) cap for the pollock.
    I believe what he is saying is that they are a ‘clean’ fisheries and want to see more of it.
    They want to see the chinook run strong to and hope they can work towards that.

  11. ugavic Says:

    The CVRF Pres is being asking for a 68,000 cap. He is also being asked what they are willing to sacrifice to help the Yukon. He said he really can’t answer it besides the 68,000 cap.
    Makes me wonder if he understands and/or if he has even thought about it

  12. ugavic Says:

    Peter Pan is talking now – the smallest poloock buyer.
    Talking to all the good they do for the lower Aleutian area villlages.

  13. anonymousbloggers Says:

    So what’s your feeling right now?

  14. ugavic Says:

    It is going to be SOOOO close for me to get to speak today.
    Say a prayer I can sneek in!! before 7 PM

  15. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Will do.

    Will you spend an extra day or head home if you speak tonight?

  16. ugavic Says:

    My feeling is they will do a cap lower than the recommended 65,000+ cap but NOT as low as what we want/need of the 32,500.
    I do know this is going to the MSC meeting on the pollock review IF this does not go to 32,500 cap.
    I did get the card to Green Peace and I am sure hoping that we will not need it but my gut is saying it might well be.
    I can also say that what we have been hearing, that the YUKON, is going to have another tough year MIGHT well be an understatement. We also owe Art’s group a HUGE thank you from all of us for all the support they are giving to us as well as what we are trying to do for them!!

  17. ugavic Says:

    Not sure what I will do – just met Wesley from the ADN- reporter

  18. ugavic Says:

    Cora Crome – SP’s fisheries person is here.
    Good to see her as I KNOW she is aware of the hard times Ugashik/Pilot Point have had the last few years.
    She has been here each day which lets me know that the fishery of both is important for villages.
    There also has been lots of support from the ADF&G, especially the Yukon Drainage people.
    Good to see!!

  19. ugavic Says:

    Right now there is a lady talking to all the uncertainty of all of this. (Donna Parker with HSCC)
    There is really so little science to know what all is happening in the ocean and with this fish, even the pollock.
    There is a recognition that the burden needs to be shared with the subsistence users and the commercial fishermen in the Yukon.
    They came supporting status quo then a limit, then a lower limit, and now realize it has to be at least at 47,000.
    MAYBE someone is listening!!

  20. ugavic Says:

    They are now asking Donna how long before it should be reviewed , any program they choose to do, 3,5 or more years.
    She is saying at least 3 years but with a yearly review

  21. ugavic Says:

    CV is a 47% owner of American Seafoods – one of the largest pollock fishing companies.
    They are projecting that their programs will be hurt, up to 11 million, if the cap is less than the recommended 60,000+.
    VERY dynamic!!

  22. alaskapi Says:


  23. ugavic Says:

    We are now listening to a lady cry while she testifies in support of her CDQ.
    Hard to hear no matter what happens.

  24. ugavic Says:

    Looking like I will miss it by only a few people so will have to stay another night – BIG THANKS to Art’s and Karen’s group for having me do this, no matter how much it seems to benefit them more.
    Here is to the entire YUKON fishery group who are leading the fight for all of us who fish King/Chinook fish in AK
    They will only take one more
    Missing it by 9 people!!

  25. alaskapi Says:

    oh holy moley… marathon to the end.

  26. ugavic Says:

    Comment –
    If you keep beating yourself too much – words from a father – it is like farting in a blizzard.
    Laugh to end!!

  27. alaskapi Says:

    ROFL -til-I-almost -wet-my-pants-and-break-three-ribs!
    Great job Vic! See you tomorrow!

  28. ugavic Says:

    We did too and as Eric, Chairman, said – “such sage words!!””
    We laughed just as hard at that too!!

  29. Kath the Scrappy from Seattle Says:

    Hang in there Vic! Great job!!!

  30. alaskapi Says:

    BIG thanks to Art and Karen’s group for getting you there- from all of us too! Best wishes giving your talk today- we are all there with you!

  31. ugavic Says:

    Good Morning All-
    The room is PACKED as we lost the overflow room yesterday for people. Also there was a speech by an elder speaking Yupik to the entier group here – meant for his villagers of Coastal Villages.

    Whatever was said brought a good chuckle.

    I did just hear a CV CDQ member say he ‘was getting a good feeling so far of how it is going’ – which in our eyes is for a higher cap than we would like.

    I will loose my connection here for a bit right after 8 AM but will be back as soon as it renews.


  32. ugavic Says:

    We are finally hearing from BB fishermen on how our King run, once the strongest in the world.
    FINALLY some people who are speaking up.

  33. ugavic Says:

    He is from a Nush River advisory committee – one that advises the BOF.
    (I did just hear that the AK state BOF recommends a cap of 32,500)
    He is pushing for the 47,000+ cap as our CDQ is calling for as they rely greatly on the $$ from pollock.
    You can see where the pull is and I believe the overall lack of understanding of the science of fishing is hard for many to fully grasp.

  34. ugavic Says:

    We are VERY concerned that the damaged has been done that if we are not low enough we will be unable to recover

  35. ugavic Says:

    He was just asked if why he is not hearing him tie the CDQ and community development to the ask for reduction.
    There was a LONG pause as I am sure he was trying to pull a political answer:-))
    Finally he gave a so-so answer that the need for direct income and the cultural needs come over what we get from BBEDC, our CDQ.

  36. ugavic Says:

    We now have Paul, one of the upper guys in our BB CDQ- BBEDC.
    Lots of waffling although he did mention that a number of these programs are the ability to have collusion if we do not have a hard cap.
    He feels this will make them, the pollock industry, work harder.
    BBEDC is calling for a cap of 47,000+ cap.
    I think he is making them think of other programs than all the fancy programs they are trying to do to move the by-catch cap around.
    I JUST wish they were going for more conservation in the move, given how much we have been hurt.
    You can also tell that this is a secondary market for most of our fishermen

  37. ugavic Says:

    A gentleman from WWF is talking – thanking ADF&G for all their work.
    Also the effort for the put in all the reports.
    He is talking to where this started.
    As far back of 1991 we were looking at how to fix that. We have been through many different programs.
    The volunteer “rolling hot spot” program.
    In 2007 it went way out of line.
    They are proposing a 32,500 cap. He did point out that any industry regulated efforts make him nervous.

  38. ugavic Says:

    The WWF man, his name is Bubba, is being called on why the call for the cautionary move.
    I have just been called to head into the ‘q’. I will hold off for a bit as there is still 3 in front of me

  39. ugavic Says:

    I believe the man speaking, Art- but not ours- now for the Yukon – he is saying they can not participate in the commercial industry.
    He is also pointing out the lack of genetic material on the Chinook.
    We need to be conservative with a cap of 32,500
    NOW another coastal village person.

  40. ugavic Says:

    I have just spoken but Karen Gillis is testifying so give me a mintue to listen

  41. ugavic Says:

    She is hitting them hard to do more than status quo.

  42. ugavic Says:

    A man from the Yukon River conservation group and is talkng how can they talk $ versus food fro people is uncomparable.
    They are calling for the lowest number CONSISTANTLY.
    We do not have the time to mess with rebuilding the stocks.
    “Our” Art will go later this morning as he missed his first call yesterday.

  43. ugavic Says:

    Ok – a minute here to regroup on my testimony.
    I told them I was from a “group” and so when yellow lighted at 1 1/2 minute flat said I assumed I was getting a full 4 minutes since I was from a group:-)) I got it!!
    I introduced myself as from the Food versus Fuel Food Drive that has encompassed both the YK and BB villages.
    That I also live in a BB village of Ugashik and come from a family that has been fishing since before statehood.
    I brought up the following;
    We have not been as publized as the YK but SHARE the same issues.
    I asked that they remember to manage this as a resource not allowing the pitting of one industry or group against another.
    I told them I was distressed to see it look to be set up this way.
    Loss of our Chinook fishery so we could use it as our way of paying expenses before we start the Sockeye runs.
    That it is the first fish we receive for subsistence and count on it greatly.
    I have seen things like moms cooking pasta with butter for dinner and having only 3 cans of food in the cupboard when I come with a food delivery.
    Of elderly spending all their extra monies on heat and all they want from us is some dry fruit to help her.
    That all of our families and working and do not often qualify for state or CDQ assistence.
    I told them we trusted them to make the hard decision of 32,500 cap. I was worried to think that this will be taken out of our hands if they do not.
    I told them we TRUST them a number of times to make the right decisions.
    I was asked one question that wasn’t it a matter of BB having the infrastructure of canneries and other jobs where as other areas had to build it.
    I said no as those are low paying jobs and taking the money from the fishermen, as it is also on the YK, and thinking that CDQ benefits will replace that is apples versus oranges.

  44. ugavic Says:

    We just had a speed reading of a speech and he just came in under the light.
    He is from the pollock industry but did get applause for this effort.
    He is saying many of the programs they are considering will not work to make the pollock industry fall into line.
    I am skeptical as even the little time I have been involved in the fishery I have seen fishermen adapt well no matter the issue.
    It will not be easy but given they have had years to bring this into line and only a portion of them have done so. The bad or ‘dirty’ fishermen need to be penalized so the others are not hurt too.
    My trust of industry to self- regulate is much like our national trust in banks and Wall Street doing the same!!

  45. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Sounds like you used the time wisely. Good job!!!

  46. ugavic Says:

    I just had a member of the Coastal Village CDQ approach me on if the by-catch they get, freeze and normally ship to Seattle would be accepted by the villages if shipped back to Seattle.
    I did tell him I felt it would help as long as it is not looked at replacement for the chinook fishery.
    Give me a few mintues to stretch – will be back in a few:-)))

  47. elsie09 Says:

    Wow, Victoria, you made excellent points. What was your feeling afterward as to any reactions shown or expressed from the committee members?

  48. ugavic Says:

    I am listening to a pollock industry whine about being asked to develop a plan of incentives or/and a hard cap.
    There is so little understanding of what all is happening out there that they are asking to change their habits to reduce but not a hard cap. Someone she feels that a hard cap will not be good for the salmon – not sure why or how she can say that.

  49. ugavic Says:

    The committee is breaking for a bit and have announced they will not go until Wednesday so it will be interesting to see what they will do to cut it.
    I will take a few mintues and come back to fill you in on a conversation I had with a couple of villagers from Good News Bay, part of the CV CDQ group.

  50. ugavic Says:

    Lots of pollock guys wrapping it up to speak to the fear they have of having their operation harmed if the cap is too low or the penalities are too much.
    Interesting as they keep saying they have heard the message of catching less chinook and are working on it.
    I REALLY am not sure how to read this. I realize jobs and families on both sides are involved but they seem to feel that the burden should not be shared any more or differently that it is presenting.

  51. ugavic Says:

    We are now hearing from a Native group that presents over 300 people who are not in a CDQ but are suffering from the lack of subsistence fishing.
    He talks of protecting the head waters of the salmon and also the runs.
    He is asking for a 0 by-catch.
    Mr Ivan was the man!
    He was thanked by the Chairman for his service to other agencies.

  52. ugavic Says:

    I just spoke with Kyle who writes for the rural blog on the Anchorage Daily News and then also with a lady with the Nome newspaper who is looking to do a follow-up on our food drive.

  53. anonymousbloggers Says:

    I think I read somewhere that there a “salmon friendly” nets but they are not as durable. Is anyone talking about improving nets to prevent bycatch?

    The lack of science and technology behind this issue is astonishing!

  54. ugavic Says:

    Brent Payne (?) who was teased if he was going to speak Yupik, he is not Native, so others may understand?
    He replied the only Northern language was Norwegian and all he knew was Yah, Yah.
    He apologized for the lack of his knowledge, to a good laugh from all.
    He is calling for a hard cap of 60,000 that will be divided between 111 accounts (the pollock industry)

  55. Secret TalkerΔ Says:

    Vic, You seemed to have spoken really well.I hope you brought tears to some eyes. I am a bit nervous cause of” Big Business”,some what hopeful due to the dual roles that some speakers have susistance and commercial,and happy to hear some subsistance such as Mr Ivan towing a hard line.If the cap is not scientifically low enough how long to the next review…1 or 3 years?That was unclear to me.

  56. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Is there an emoticon for a pat on the back?


    You deserve one!!

  57. ugavic Says:

    On my earlier discussion with a couple from Good News Bay.
    The are supported by the CDQ group that is just to the north of us in Bristol Bay.
    They are looking forward to a salmon plant that is being built and will go on line this year.
    The expected jobs are for 110.
    They also are VERY torn to see all the hurt of their villagers ‘cousins’ and asked many questions about how we do or do not benefit from our CDQs.
    They wanted to know if the culture is being harmed as they are hearing.
    In thier villages they are also facing young people moving to big towns for better opportunites but find it so VERY hard to adapt.
    Overall I come away that there has been a lot of learning on both sides of the issue to see how things are effected.

    They do feel the pollock indsutry will continue no matter what but are worried about the Chinook run.
    It is a VERY interesting time and I so wish part of this could just one set of people, not even sure if I want ‘leaders’ involved to sit and talk this out.
    The almighty $$$ and lots of pride on both are pulling people apart and it is hard.

  58. ugavic Says:

    I THINK it is interesting that the pollock industry is saying that we WILL change but I wonder how much and for how long if not hit with some kind of a penality.

    The woman reporter, will find out in time her name, asked what I meant by this fight going beyond this committee.
    I explained the next step will most likely be taking the discussion to the MSC pollock certification process to try and stop that.
    Then it could well head to Enviromental groups to launch of a campaign of Chinook free fish sticks and imitation crab- commonly called Krab.
    I explained that we do not want to see this happen but it might well be taken out of our hands.
    She seems to be interested in a follow up story. I invited herto review all that is on our blog.
    She was happy to see we were so organized even being from the bush.
    I did tell her about all our support people and that Ann and I could not do this without all the Internet people.

  59. ugavic Says:

    I am hearing that the next review is NOT set at this point. I JUST heard again that they want THREE years, with some yearly reports.
    Now we are hearing that there needs to be a research fund – again something we all have been asking for – to help this.

  60. ugavic Says:

    I guess there was a coin toss to decide who was going to be last to speak.
    The lady speaking now, speaking for the Yukon Drainage, lost but is hearing that the man who won, and I am guessing is from the pollock industry might still not be the last one overall and thus got a laugh from ALL.
    Eric the Chairman has done a GREAT job with keeping it lively and putting people at ease.

  61. ugavic Says:

    She is saying that doing only incentive programs might well not lead to the results we need, as they are unproven. We have heard this before – we have a good plan now and can make this work- with STILL terrible results.
    There must be a back up of a hard cap and reducing down.

  62. elsie09 Says:

    Vic, I found one article about a salmon excluder device:

    “King Salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea keeps going up”
    Tim Bodony (KIYU)

    Becca Robbins-Gisclair is a policy coordinator with the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association. YRDFA is pushing for changes to the management of the pollock fishery aimed at protecting western Alaska salmon stocks…

    A potential silver bullet solution could be a special addition to the typical trawling net, which would allow salmon to escape but keep the pollock in the net.

    Robbins-Gisclair explains the technology:

    Robbins-Gisclair: The pollock fleet has been working on a salmon excluder device, which is basically a gear modification that they place in their nets that takes advantage of the different behaviors of salmon and pollock, and basically gives salmon an escape portal. They’ve been working on that for quite a few years, and at this point from the most recent reports I’ve heard, it’s still not up to par to put to use in the whole fleet.

    The fishing industry has paid for testing of the salmon excluder device at a huge tank in Nova Scotia, where researchers can watch how different species of fish respond to various types of nets…….. The Bering Sea and Aleutian Island pollock fishery is one of the most lucrative in the world. About 1-point-5 million metric tons of pollock were harvested in 2006, much of it going into mass-produced food items like fish sticks and imitation crab meat….

  63. ugavic Says:

    I am listening to a pollock rep whining about if they have their supply interupted they will loose their market place as reliable.
    He is the cheif lawyer for the group.
    I can see this heating up to go farther.
    As much as I see understanding on the villagers I am hearing less than even close to that from the industry.

    He believes that FIRST you maximize the pollock harvest THEN deal with the chinook by-catch as dictated by the federal law.
    There is MUCH disagreement on how you look at that law.

  64. ugavic Says:

    We are heading to lunch. I will be returning after lunch as I want to hear Art Nelson’s testimony a bit later.

  65. ugavic Says:

    There is talk about net innovation and other measures that MIGHT help. Some of this has been tried but so far, from what I understand in that it is not proven yet due to such low rates of those trying it yet. It is new.
    Also to say that all the trawlers are ‘dirty’ is not fair either and many are asking for a tools to help those that are good and punish those that are not.

  66. the problem child (an aunt, also) Says:

    Have you guys seen this site or talked to this person?

  67. ugavic Says:

    Art is speaking right now.
    He only has 2 minutes.
    The Assoc recommends the 32,500 cap. He is admitting that the by-catch is not the TOTAL problem and yet the western AK villagers are taking the full impact of that lack of salmon.

  68. ugavic Says:

    He got a few questions from the group.
    Nothing important really.

  69. ugavic Says:

    After we get done with these last few people there will be one more report made.
    The a motion will be made and then as was told me the ‘fur will fly’ as they discuss the option.
    It might well go into tomorrow before it is decided.
    I will stay up on it as much as possible

  70. ugavic Says:

    The man speaking now is saying we have too much expectation for this one action, reduce the by-catch, expected to come out with a good outcome.
    He is afraid not all that will understand that this might only help some. I believe most of us do understand this but it might be hard for some that have less of a science background.
    We can only see

  71. ugavic Says:

    We are on just a portion of meeting dealing with motions and language.
    Will post if anything comes up that it important to point out.

  72. anonymousbloggers Says:

    problem child (which you probably aren’t)

    The bottle green houses look really cool! We should start building more things from recyclable items. I have my thinking cap on.


  73. alaskapi Says:

    Wish I could have been here today to cheer you on!
    Waiting for a rundown WHEN you have time to catch your breath, uncramp your fingers, and sort it all out.

    Thank you for this go at bringing us all into the meeting.

  74. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Way to go Vic!!!

    Our page view stats today prove this is our busiest day ever – the world is watching!!

    Let’s hope the Council knows this has become a decision the global family beyond the borders rural Alaska is watching closely.

    Anonymous bloggers supports the 32,500 cap!

  75. ugavic Says:

    They seem to be tied up in the terms of the motion, hammering out details so I have left them for now.
    So far, given all the work the motion is “disappointing”, but we are still hoping for some good amendments to beef it up.
    I plan to check on progress before they close down tonight at 7 PM , AK time, and will let you know what is up.

  76. ugavic Says:

    We have made some excellant contacts and a general idea of how to proceed has been laid out if we need to ‘go there’ so it has not been a waste.
    We have been heard, but remember we are fighting LOTS of $$ and a lot of people who have no idea of the cultural or “bush” living aspects so to win 100% on the first try would be amazing.
    We getting there so don’t be disppointed yet:-))

  77. ugavic Says:

    Problem child …
    Nope hadn’t seen this. I left a comment thanking them for mentioning the cause and invited them to the blog so they could see ALL we are working on.
    It might just surprise him/her:-))

  78. ugavic Says:

    I jst heard that Coastal villages brought 150 members to the meeting. Not sure if it is true but it sure seemed like that with all those hats and T-shirts.
    Gives you an idea of how much groups are willing to spend to save a nest of $$.
    Think 5-7 days in town for each person, let’s be save and say $750 each to fly them in and then of course food and such.

  79. ugavic Says:

    This is it for tonight – will update you tomorrow – late – when I find out the decision.
    Thanks for giving a darn and supporting us!!
    I DO appreciate it!!

  80. Art Says:

    Vic…I finally got a chance to take a breath and read your updates here. Not only did you contribute a lot to the discussion from a very unique perspective, but you also did a great job on here posting the blow-by-blow of much of the meeting. Unfortunately, the Council chose to disregard almost all of our recommendations. It’s done (but just for now). I’m relieved about that, but quite disappointed with the outcome.

    It was a pleasure to finally meet you during the meetings, after all the emals leading up to the meeting. Best, Art.

  81. ugavic Says:

    We got a decision last night – not really one at all but more is coming in a bit.
    Will either post it here or at the top of the page in the next few hours.
    Am traveling home so will be out communication most of the day.
    The fight is not over but we did get some attention and that can’t be all bad:-))

  82. Karen Says:


    You really carried the day with these updates. I am amazed with your passion and energy. I am glad we had a chance to meet and have a few opportunities to chat with one another. Your being at the Council meeting was important and I am very grateful for your contributions, which go far beyond what happened within the last 5 days.

    The Anchorage Daily News reporter wrote a really nice article in today’s paper. If you get a chance it is worth checking out:

    I look forward to staying in touch. I sincerely appreciate your efforts!

    Karen Gillis

  83. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Vic’s post-meeting update is at the top of the page.


    I know it’s disappointing but you can look back and know you did all you could.

    Many thanks from all of us!!

  84. Elsie Says:

    Good article at


    “The State Department’s representative on the NPFMC, Nicole Ricci — an alternate for Amanda Johnson-Miller of the Office of Marine Conservation, Bureau of Oceans & Int’l. Environmental and Scientific Affairs — strongly stated objections before the vote. Ricci said, “I don’t see how this [motion] is a bycatch reduction.” She added that “a thousand years” of in river subsistence lifestyle fisheries is going to be “allowed to be overrun by a fishery that’s only been around less than … a quarter of a century!” — referring to the pollock roe-stripping, surimi food paste, fillets and blocks fishery.

    “OAA general counsel, Lisa Lindemann advised the Council that any plan they put forward to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce (now Gary Locke) will have to undergo a review in light of section 304 of the Magnuson-Stevens and related fishery acts, and other applicable law. Lindemann stated, “That means the State Department makes the final determination,” with regard to compliance with treaty obligations.”

    I still feel a tiny bit of hope:
    Maybe what we need to do is take the battle up the food chain to the feds and start demanding that Obama’s new Secretary of Commerce give the “in-river subsistence lifestyle fisheries” what the NPFMC refuses….

  85. Art Says:

    Elsie, thanks for posting the (brief) summary of the comments from Nicole Ricci (I was there and heard it all, but hadn’t seen it represented very well in the press, so far). If the Council didn’t strongly discourage applause, her comments at the closing vote would have brought a standing ovation from many, many people in the audience. Nicole said what needed to be said. Unfortunately, she (as a rep for the Dept. of State) only holds a non-voting seat on the Council.

  86. Michigander Says:

    Dear Victoria,

    Thank you for documenting what occurred at the meeting. I can’t believe this is the end of it and am praying for a fair and just outcome. Get some rest and know you did well.

    Guidance for the next phase will come. Bless you all.

  87. alaskapi Says:

    When you are rested, we’re ready for the next leg of this journey.
    We are here to help.

  88. ugavic Says:

    Thanks all !!!
    I am finally home, weather, not volcano held me up:-))

    I will get some things done and get with the “more learned ones” and we will let you know what is planned next.

    It has been an interesting journey and it looks like more ‘fish stuff’ is in my future as I HATE seeing things destroyed for what is basically just some $$$.


  89. Michigander Says:

    Just a thought, maybe already explored but – Would former President Jimmy Carter be an advocate for the villages? Is he still Honorary Chair for Alaska Conservation Foundation?

    Rushed right now but wanted to put this out there in case it helps.

  90. ugavic Says:

    Mich – not sure but will bring it up to the ‘more learned ones’ to see if it seems like a good thing to pursue.
    Thanks, sure sounds good!

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