Chinook By-Catch…Amount Almost Triples !!!


Oct 29, 2010

We were asked to believe the trawler pollock industry really did not want to catch all those King, Chinook, Salmon in 2007, over 120,000, and they were capable of figuring out ways to avoid catching the Kings. They did not need harsh limits and restrictions because they were going to just not catch them now that they knew it might be an issue, especially with Yukon Kings.

Well guess what…..they caught almost triple the Chinook By-Catch recent average this season and did most of that damage in less than 2 WEEKS. The average yearly catch has been around 20,000 for the last 2-3 years but this season they have caught 58,336 with almost 25,000 of those from Oct 1-17 of this year.

So what the heck happened? Where are all those ‘excluder devices’ they talked about? What steps come next? Will the industry be shut down?

The ADN is reporting

“Pollock boats and other commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Alaska have accidentally caught an estimated 58,336 king salmon this year, a level of bycatch that could trigger restrictions.”

“COULD trigger restrictions”? WHAT? Only ‘could’?

We hear in the Kodiak  Daily Mirror that although the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is scheduled to meet in December there is nothing on the agenda to address this issue.

“The council is not scheduled to take any final action, but will consider a new paper on the subject.”

If you read the article you will also see …..

“By far this is the largest (bycatch) we have ever seen,” Josh Keaton, a fisheries manager with the National Marine Fisheries Service, told the Kodiak Daily Mirror. “Hopefully it means a lot of kings are out there to be caught and they ran into a big pack of them.”

I am not sure what rock Mr Keaton has been under for the last few years but King returns, back to the rivers to spawn, have been well below averages. This year we saw a number of closings all over Alaska due to low returns.  Bristol Bay has been hit the hardest for shear numbers of Kings and yet to hear almost nothing about that. Might it have something to do with it Bristol Bay Economic Corporation, the local CDQ, having partnership in a good number of trawling vessels?

We went through all those hearings in Anchorage in the winter of 2009 with the National Marine Fisheries Council where we heard how the industry really cared about the life of those who rely on the salmon for their subsistence lifestyle. Here’s my live blog — part 1 and part 2.

Not sure you if remember these two nuggets but I sure do….when one industry representative told us all how important it was for this less than 20 years old industry to survive  because the fish that for years have been considered ‘trash’ fish were feeding thousands overseas! I even remember the reaction of one of the board members, something to the effect of …..We are so glad to know that feeding others overseas was more important than those here in Alaska!!

Then…. one villager voiced that in his village they had been threatened with a reduction of CDQ, Community Development Quota, monies for his village if they spoke out or moved to reduced any catch of the pollock industry. (The six CDQ programs are major owners in a number of trawler boats and companies)

This was no surprise to many of us there who had been at the receiving end of CDQ antics over the years. To hear it stated in federal committee testimony by someone who could suffer ….was nothing less than courageous.

The reason this seems to be getting so much attention now ….it seems that some of those lower 48 endangered Kings might have been caught in this by-catch.

The more I read of this lack of action to address the issue for the Alaska King runs the more I have to listen to the village discussions of ignoring all the ‘advice’ from the experts and move toward getting those Kings/Chinooks listed as at least “threatened”.

To top that discussion off we won’t even start the discussion of how the Pollock industry can continue to garner a ‘Sustainable’ rating by the MSC.

~ Victoria


22 Responses to “Chinook By-Catch…Amount Almost Triples !!!”

  1. alaskapi Says:
    Another week gone by…
    For week ending Oct 23 , we now stand at 59,601 Chinook wasted as bycatch…

  2. elsie09 Says:

    Is EVERYONE in Alaskan salmon fisheries management asleep at the wheel, or, are they just extremely well-paid by the insanely wealthy fishing conglomerates and maybe some wealthy CDQ board members to look the other way?

    Is there even one strong voice, among all the federal and state fisheries management, speaking out against this disaster?

  3. ugavic Says:

    I REALLY have to wonder why there is not more discussion/action!!

    We saw almost NO KINGS this year in our river system in Bristol Bay. In the river system just south of us there is no long a King run to speak of and even I can remember one in the recent past.

    YET the pollock industry is MSC certified sustainable…what is up with that?

  4. Man_from_Unk Says:

    Let’s look at the history here: the State is only 50 years old; Native Corporations 40 years old; and the CDQ’s which were modeled after the Native Corporations, are heading to 20 years old. We’re still stuck in the BIG GUY vs LITTLE GUY mode of Politics in our state. The BIG GUYS like their power so they continue to use every dirty tactic they could to remain in control.

    The LITTLE GUY is without Checks and Balances to help guide the management of the CDQ program – that was a sneaky move done by a handful of men. I’m still baffled at the Federal and State overseers that allowed such a farce with the Coast Guard Rider to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 2006. They were fooled by fast talking BIG GUYS who did not speak on behalf of the Stakeholders.

    Now we are where we are, so it’s up to us to make the change. Educate the people and encourage them to challenge the manipulators and the liars who are responsible for helping to destroy their livelihood resource as they line their pockets with the blood money. They are taking down a hundreds year old cultural and traditional way of life and getting away with it too. It’s not that hard to understand.

    elsie, yes, there are strong and persistant voices in the general public here and there in our state but the BIG GUYS have done all they could to play dirty with the people’s money to the point of defamation and discrediting certain individuals who won’t go with the flow. That’s why I’ve labeled this misuse of Public Monies “blood money” – the federal and state managers are appearing to go along with the flow by their refusal or the appearence of, to address this issue. There is millions and millions of dollars involved.

  5. alaskapi Says:

    It’s important to remember this is Gulf of Alaska salmon bycatch- where the battle has not been fully engaged as yet.

    BSAI, Bering Sea Aleutian Islands, is where we are all more familiar with the problems and issues and the muddying of the situation by CDQs.

    Unless CDQ owned or partner ships are trawling the GOA , the CDQs are are actually out of the picture for a change…
    Please see wiglaf’s post and comment on this blog:

    Related posts there in the last week or so point to serious issues for so-called management of the pollack trawl industry in the GOA fishery as well.
    Surprise? No..
    Need to get busy and get active? YES!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Man_from_Unk Says:

    It’s all about Ethics and the lack of. We’re in an election year and see the tactics being used by people in control of Public Monies. They are out to support the Congress Man that will continue to look the other way which in the end will allow them to continue to line their pockets even though the salmon declines and other devastating issues continue all over the state.

    So we ask each other – Who’s problem is this? It’s the People’s Problem because we do not hold our Public Servants accountable. Yes, those working for the CDQ’s are Public Servants! They line their pockets with Our Money. It is Our Money because they use US, THE PEOPLE, as numbers to gain their allotments for their regions from the program.

    This brings me to point out last week’s copy of The Nome Nugget, 10/21/10, on page 11 – there is a picture of Lisa Murkowski and some of her supporters in Nome. Lo and Behold – both guys helping Lisa are from Norton Sound’s CDQ group – NSEDC. There, they are very visible because they stepped out of the closet. Ask them why they are supporting Lisa. Hopefully they will have an honest answer instead of their usual smoke and mirrors response. It’s up to the people to vote for someone who will respond to the issues that influence us all – from the rich to the poor – from the top to the bottom. We need justice in Alaska for all people.

  7. alaskapi Says:

    Yes- we do!
    We need more information and more action out here to make better decisions too.

  8. Man_from_Unk Says:

    Nice picture on this article by the way – my favorite subsistence foods – moose and salmon. Let’s work to help both of these Natural Resources to survive for years to come.

  9. Man_from_Unk Says:

    You guys on this blog are some of my favorites. Let’s work to get our friends and families involved – more voices add to the support will help our efforts.

  10. ugavic Says:

    It is multi diamential issue but in so many ways does come back, at least in a large part, to us holding the CDQ and more importantly the elected officials accountable.

    That goes for our village ones, who work with the CDQ, to our boroughs, state and then federal. IF we ask each group to help makes this good for ALL of us, it is darn hard for the feds to ignore us.

    Also IF we need to go to other outside Congressional committees to help, then so be it. Sometimes we are better served by those who can look without conflict..use that power!

    I am SO disappointed in how uninformed our average person is in Alaska on what goes around them. We MUST educate. We must learn how to look at issues and representatives, their voting records, and call them out. The backing, where the money is flowing from and to, I have seen in this election….sure does not look good for rural villagers!!

    This is not just a Native or Rural issue but a citizens of the state issue. We all suffer and must look long term.

    All of us here at AB are determined to keep the attention on this and will work with any others who have the same goal…all of you readers help make this possible.

    Thanks for keeping our readership up and comments coming!! Just keep spreading the word!

  11. Man_from_Unk Says:

    You know Vic, there are people who try to hold the CDQ village representatives accountable but they get stonewalled and then blasted in the Executive Sessions by the Board Room Bullies. The Little Guy who speaks out is also stonewalled and blasted in the Executive Board Room.

    It’s a Cycle of Violence – speak out and get bullied and intimidated by the gang. It is a Cycle of Violence – these bullies intentionally go out of their way to spread misinformation about people who speak up. Those in control seem to think nothing of defaming and discrediting innocent hard working people with visions especially those who do not go with the chosen flow. It’s a Cycle of Violence.

    You could tell that those with a conscience are uncomfortable because they go around looking afraid – they know they are feeding misinformation to defame and discredit certain individuals. After awhile it becomes Normal if one get’s paid enough.

    The worst possible tool used is projecting their personal physiognomies onto others because they have no depth to their character; lying is Normal so they assume that everybody lies; cheating is Normal so they assume that everybody cheats. They are all wrapped up in themselves because of some abnormality at some point in their lives and that abnormality helps them justify their actions. They don’t realize that their worst enemy is themselves. Sad.

  12. ugavic Says:

    Man From Unk-

    I do so know that there a number of people who are working VERY hard to try and hold the CDQs accountable. A few have put not only their reputation on the line but also their pocketbooks.

    They give me hope, lots of it.

    Those who allow for the dirty tactics, working against the reputations or actually trying to hurt the businesses of those who speak up, are even more of a embarrassment to their villages than those who do the nasty tactics!! Going with the flow when you know it is wrong is in so many ways just a coward! Yes, those are harsh words but those that allow this or partake of it need to be called out for what they are.

    There still seems to be many who feel it is in our imagination that these happen….but that is changing too.

    Our hope here is to help educate and hopefully get a few more to stand up with those that already are waist deep in the battle!!

    Thanks for the comments and shedding light on still more things that are happening than we have a clue.

  13. jim Says:

    I went to high school with a nice kid who later attended law school, and then went on to work for Stevens to became one of Steven’s staff favorites (I heard Ted mention my friend’s name several times in speeches over the years).

    Then my friend left Steven’s office for the big money in lobbying. He’s still there. He’s been there for about 20 years. God only knows how rich this guy is.

    According to the Washington Post, this migration from senate offices to K Street has been remarkably common– perhaps hundreds who worked for Stevens for a year or two then left and moved on to get rich influencing our Federal government on behalf of clients (including CDQ groups?).

    I doubt the federal government, which dictates laws, hear or care much about local rural Alaska input or testimony when it comes to CDQ issues. D.C. is where the federal government listens.

    Villages are not rich but perhaps they should seek a lobbyist or at least help from a sympathetic one. Do villages have any advocates in D.C. on this issue? That may make a bigger difference than what our senators or representative may claim they’re trying to do (after they’ve met with the lobbyists).

    Perhaps (with help from paid lobbyists), wealthy CDQ folks to this day are laughing all the way to the bank simply because they’ve purchased control of the federal government, at least as far as CDQ issues are concerned.

    Alaska is far, far away from D.C . . .

  14. Man_from_Unk Says:

    We just have to keep chipping away at this big block and then eventually the truth cannot be ignored any longer. Somebody out there is studying the statistics and the comments and the letters. I believe in fate – one cannot mislead the public with lies and misinformation for long.

    Vic, I agree with you, it is cowardly to remain silent when one knows there is wrong doing going on. It is cowardly to watch one man get bullied and intimidated in a closed door meeting and continue to stay silent time after time. All that silent for a measly per diem check of a few hundred bucks while the bullies pay themselves thousands. Cowards come pretty cheap as recorded in history time after time.

    Senator McCaskill is astute and she is our “sympathetic one” in Washington D.C. – she took on the 8(a) contracting issue and with encourage from enough people, perhaps she’ll call for a closer look into the CDQ’s. It’s time to shake out the carpetbaggers who continue to ride on the backs of the poor, beating them down, beating them down.

  15. jim Says:

    With CDQs, I know little other than there’s obviously a problem.

    A couple questions:

    1. Is McCaskill (and not Murkowski or Begich) the strongest advocate in D.C. for CDQ reform?

    2. Do Alaska native corporations (who supported Murkowski) support or oppose CDQ reform?

    3. We are not McCaskill constituents so how would we communicate with her? Should we invite her here for a visit?

    Also, I’m disappointed McAdams lost. I tried to help get him elected and I think he could have been an advocate for CDQ reform.

  16. alaskapi Says:

    So far no one is working on CDQ reform in DC.
    The built-in checks and balances which were part of the original program were set aside in 2006 federal legislation with the notion that the corporations had come of age enough to do well without much oversight. They now have only a di-cennial review to answer to and pretty much do not have to answer to stakeholders at all.
    Electing board members and village reps is often a hokey semi-rigged setup . Will come back and leave some links in a bit…

    There is a (hopefully-gonna-die-in-committee) bill to amend the IRS code to allow the for-profit feeder organizations some of the CDQS have to be exempt from federal income tax.
    The CDQs themselves are non-profit social benefit organizations . Many have made the choice to fish all or part of their own quota set-asides and have invested in boats and partnerships with others to do that. While that all sounds great, reality is that it has created a whole new set of issues and problems which leave stakeholders out in the cold.
    I have no idea whether the for-profit ANC , Regionals specifically, support or oppose CDQ reform… CDQs are enough different and only on the BSAI fishhery coastline that I’m not sure how high above the skyline they rise in the rest of the state.
    There is hope that the first di-cennial review will allow enough input from stakeholders to actually serve as real reviews.
    At this time I think it unlikely. The measures used to decide the last couple years they were under state review were kinda shaky when it came to actually trying to figure out a number of things. The pie chart and rising graph cheerleadery economic folks love em… but have yet to figure out how to measure stakeholders’ situations…
    Messy, messy…
    Ms McCaskill will be doing work regarding the SBA 8(a) program as it relates to the ANCs and that is overdue and important.
    Did this help at all or did I muddy it all even further for you?

  17. jim Says:

    PI: Thanks; anything helps. That’s interesting that the western and aleutian corporations don’t have much to do with CDQs or have staked positions on them. Perhaps Alaska senators are looking at CDQs in their rear-view mirrors. From what you describe, I don’t see much hope for improvement near term.

  18. Man_from_Unk Says:

    Good questions you asked Jim. As Pi said, no one is working for CDQ reform at this time. It’s been up to the Little Guy so far. Public monies mismanagement Watchdogs.

    IRS is aware of millions of dollars of profit that some CDQ groups failed to pay taxes on – the managers of the non-profit corporations didn’t know (?) that they had to pay taxes on the profits they were making from their involvement in the Pollock Fishery. That’s the bill Pi is refering to.

    The non-profit CDQ’s formed for profit corporations and now they want to make profit without paying taxes. Ironically, the Norton Sound’s CDQ group, NSEDC’s for profit feeder corporation is named Siu pronounced ‘see-you’ – it’s very clear that the jokes on us the poor stakeholders of our CDQ region.

    They are moving monies out of the region by investing heavily in the Pollock Fishery and down in the Aluetian Chain through Siu. Just this week NSEDC’s quarterly meeting in Nome, the Non-profit arm gave the For-profit arm $11 million dollars! Doesn’t make cents. Mismanagement or slick move or both. We’ll never know – “business secrets” they tell the Board of Directors with very little details. They manipulate the ignorance of the people.

    You could tell which managers are honest people because this farce stresses them out – they look stressed out. As usual the Fat Cats think they are doing a great job – if you ask too many questions, the Bull Dogs get mean and nasty. It’s all so very visible.

  19. Man_from_Unk Says:

    “CDQ antics” is what’s it’s all about alright. Read next week’s The Nome Nugget online – there is bound to be a story about the lastest’s happenings at the recent Norton Sound CDQ, NSEDC’s quarterly meeting.

  20. alaskapi Says:

    Estimates of salmon bycatch/discards have been revised downward…
    oh goodie.
    While I accept that corrections may be made with more data I have a hard time accepting corrections without explanation of how, why, and what went into the so-called corrections.

    Interesting …it was there and now it isn’t… do we want to believe any of this now?

  21. Man_from_Unk Says:

    Interesting article in ADN about the Canadian and Alaska salmon managers meeting in Whitehorse about last summer’s Chinook Crash. I’m waiting for the Canadian Government to start playing hard-ball with the US. The poor peoples crys about the lack of abundant salmon for food and a little cash on the side through the landbased commercial fishery is blowing away in the wind. Perhaps the Tribal Governments should go directly to the President of the US in their government to government status.

  22. NoTrawlZone Says:

    Excellent piece! Keep spreading the word!

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