Salmon bycatch

Bycatch is anything you catch that you are NOT fishing for. Think of the dolphin free/tuna issue years ago. Dolphins were the ‘bycatch’ that were caught when fishermen were trying to catch tuna. I forget who launched the campaign but when that whole thing went public the industry figured out darn fast how to NOT catch dolphins when catching tuna and it eventually went away.) 

Pollack, a white fish used in things like fish sticks/patties and a HUGE fishery for both employment and dollars, is caught by big trawler boats in the winter out in the Bering Sea.

In the course of catching these pollack Chinook/King salmon are caught. There really has been no firm ‘cap’ or maximum they could catch before suffering either fines or a shut down. The numbers of by-catch have dramatically increased the since 2002. 

This is at the center of the lack of income for Ann’s area of the Alaska.
By-Catch is basically anything that is caught in a fishing net that you were NOT fishing for.

When it comes to the YK Delta it is Chinook (King) salmon that are caught by the pollack trawling fleet.

These salmon return to rivers throughoutl the western part of Alaska and it looks to effect a number of salmon runs, with the YK Delta being the most dramatic.

Ann and I are currently working feverishly to understand as much as possible of this complex fishing matter. Our aim is help our villagers understand this and to become involved in a matter that effects their everyday lives.

There is a meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) in Anchorage March 30- April 7 where this issue will be discussed. There are a number of different ‘cap’ amounts being proposed with an environmental impact study submitted for each cap.

Given how complex not only the fishery but the science, or lack of it, that is used to manage fisheries we are working to figure out what looks to be the best solution for our villages.

If you WANT TO jump into this discussion PLEASE DO and we will try and answer questions as they are raised. The more attention that is brought to this matter the more power we have to make an impact.

Thanks for caring,
Victoria and Ann

 

 

26 Responses to “Salmon bycatch”

  1. UgaVic Says:

    Just an FYI-
    This is at the center of the lack of income for Ann’s area of the Alaska.
    By-Catch is basically anything that is caught in a fishing net that you were NOT fishing for.

    When it comes to the YK Delta it is Chinook (King) salmon that are caught by the pollack trawling fleet.

    These salmon return to rivers all the western part of Alaska and it looks to effect a number of salmon runs, with the YK Delta being the most dramatic.

    Ann and I are currently working feverishly to understand as much as possible of this complex fishng matter. Our aim is help our villagers understand this and to become involved in a matter that effects thier everyday lives.

    There is a meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council(NPFMC) in Anchorage March 30- April 7 wher this issue will be discussed.
    There are a number of different ‘cap’ amounts being proposed with an enviromental impact study submitted for each cap.

    Given how complex not only the fishery but the science, or lack of it, that is used to manage fisheries we are working to figure out what looks to be the best solution for our villages.

    If you WANT TO jump into this discussion PLEASE DO and we will try and answer questions as they are raised. The more attention that is brought to this matter the more power we have to make an impact.
    Thanks for caring,
    Victoria and Ann

  2. Dr. Patois Says:

    I live in California. I use the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Guide for deciding which fish I will consume. I realize now that the information provided is not really accurate. They place Alaska wild pollock and Alaska wild salmon on the Best Choices list. This is based on the pollock and salmon being certified as sustainable to the Marine Stewardship Council Standards. (msc.org)

    On January 29th the MSC began the process of assessment for re-certification for pollock. Ann, you should find someone in Emmonak to contact MSC asap. At some point they will close to opportunity for objections for certification as sustainable. It is also possible that someone from MSC can provide you with valuable information and/or resources.

    The question I have had, knowing NOTHING about the industry so please forgive me if this is a question of my ignorance, is why can’t the villages fish first and then the commercial trawlers that fish for pollock. Wouldn’t that reduce the amount of by-catch and ensure the villages harvest what they need?

    We could start another fund drive right away to send representatives to the NPFMC meeting. In the meantime perhaps University of Alaska, Alaska Sea Life, Monterey Bay Aquarium, the MSC and other organizations can “arm” your chosen representatives with the information they will need for the meeting.

    Ann, I emailed you Murkowski’s web site that lists all of the federal monies for Alaska for the 2009 budget. There may be some funding in there that can assist in this endeavor.

    Alaska Sea Life is privately funded but I don’t know if the commercial fishing industry is a large donor or not. I would think that Monterey Bay is not influenced by Alaska commercial fishing industry but the businesses may fish all along the pacific coast.

    It might also be a good idea to explore promotion/marketing with commercial producers, ie whoever is making big bucks packaging and selling the pollock and celebrity chefs/restaurants. Once you have proven the problem, if you are stymied by the power of the industry, you could “shame” them into compliance. You could also start a grassroots effort to get consumers to demand their grocery stores, seafood markets and restaurants carry only sustainable seafood. Just like the tuna/dolphin campaign. You know the pj bloggers are ready to serve!

    Below are the links for Alaska Sea Life and Monterey Bay Aquarium. I haven’t checked for Aquariums in Oregon and Washington yet but I will. Good luck and let me know if there is more I can do.

    Dr. Patois

    http://www.alaskasealife.org/

    http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx

  3. Dr. Patois Says:

    Oops! Sorry, I meant to say Nunam Iqua should contact MSC right away and any other village that wants/needs to participate.

  4. Dr. Patois Says:

    The link below I am using as an example of resources that might be available to you. Apparently a Texas University marine biology dept. had a research course which sent the students to Prince William Sound. It doesn’t say what the research project was but it doesn’t matter. When you decide on solutions to the salmon problem(s) you can propose to universities that have programs in the field of interest and see if they will help with the research or infrastructure build you need by fashioning a course/project around it. They might even be able to assist in grant writing for funding of the project. You are not limited to Alaska Universities, you can appeal to programs around the world.
    Just an idea/thought.

    http://ugr.tamu.edu/opportunities-1/texas-a-m-galveston/Alaska%20Field%20Course%20Announcement%202009.pdf/view

  5. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Send your comments calling for a cap on salmon bycatch:

    http://anonymousbloggers.com/salmonbycatch/index.cfm

    This affects all of us and we must let the North Pacific Fishery Management Council know we’re watching.

  6. Dr. Patois Says:

    Greenpeace is working to cut the pollock catch by 50% in order to save seals and sea lions that are starving in the Bering Sea.

  7. Say NO to Palin in Politics Says:

    I left a message.

    Wonder how we could get Hollywood to help. They love humanitarian causes, they have powerful friends and family and money for good causes.

    Any ideas on how to ask movie stars for help? The moderate ones, lol.

    Any movies filmed in AK? Those actors or directors may have a personal interest.

  8. Say NO to Palin in Politics Says:

    Also, what about asking the fishing organization like Trout Unlimited for help, I have no clue how many are out there.

  9. Say NO to Palin in Politics Says:

    I have a question, obviously I do not know how all this trawler fishing works.

    But, what does happen? they catch a big group of mixed fish in a very large net.

    Then what?

    are the Salmon dead in the net? if so why? and if not, why can’t they be thrown back? what is done with them? you can’t tell me they have no value to these fishermen.

    Are they dumped into boat hulls onto ice? I have no clue, if so, what then happens to them? does the boat company get to sell them? where do they take these fish?

    I understand that the point is, the salmon need to be able to return upstream to spawn in order to produce more salmon.

    But still, if this fishing boat is after just Pollack, is that the type license they have? is it limited to Pollack?

  10. UgaVic Says:

    PLEASE – stop for a minute!!
    There is much in the fishing industry that is complex. Getting Greenpeace involved at this stage most likely will do more harm than good.
    Alaska has been managing its fisheries for sustainability LONG before it was the “THING TO DO”. It is in our state constitution since 1959!!
    The fish industry is dynamic – meaning it has natural ups and downs- as does ALL of nature. The pollock and salmon industry are two great examples of this.
    The by-catch is another matter all together.
    We do have environmental groups watching the actions of the committee. Most understand how important it is for this are to have a healthy fishery for all and are working with us.
    We, Ann, myself and many others much more informed are working together to address this and at this point bringing in a group who might not care but want headlines could hurt many more than help.
    PLEASE, PLEASE realize we are working on many fronts, just not all visible right now.
    Thank you for your thoughts and suggestions,
    Victoria and Ann

  11. ugavic Says:

    Dr P-
    Sorry for taking so long to answer.
    The pollock are fished in the winter and salmon in the summer when they come to the rivers.
    On salmon fishing we do not go out into the bays or oceans as a whole since there is little we can do about catching fish from all over.
    By catching the salmon in river or right outside the mouth we usually only hit the fish meant for that river.
    This way we are staying away from rivers that are having issues and fishing rivers that are strong.
    We should contact MSC and will look into it for pollock.
    We do hope our efforts to show the pollock industry that enough is enough when it comes to by-catch will have them do soemthing versus us taking it to the ‘public’. They have known about it for years but as you say $$ talks.
    It is also a big issue that our officials, Native and otherwise have conflicts as to what master to serve and many times the villagers are at the bottom of the ladder DESPITE the protest of all that is “done for us”.
    VERY political:-))

  12. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Victoria is at the NPFMC salmon bycatch meeting in Anchorage. She just put up a post about what’s happened so far.

    Nick Tucker has testified and his comments are in her post. He was cut off and couldn’t read his entire comment but she has a copy and will post additional points later.

    Now that the public testimony has begun she will be updating us in the comment section.

    https://anonymousbloggers.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/npfmc-salmon-by-catch-meeting/

  13. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Vic is at the NPFMC salmon bycatch meeting sending updates as they happen.

    https://anonymousbloggers.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/npfmc-salmon-by-catch-meeting/

  14. ugavic Says:

    Say NO –
    Most times the fish caught, in the case of salmon, is dead when it is caught in the nets of the trawlers.
    By law they have two options, throw it over board or freeze it and give it to a food bank – most often goes into Seattle when the boats are based.
    The idea behind throw it over board is that they can’t fish and get some benefit for doing wrong.
    The equipment on board of these fish is set up to certian fish it is not a one kind fits all kind of thing.
    The permits they have to fish is only for one kind, not a catch all kind of thing.
    It is much more complex than that but hopefully that helps.

  15. Rob Rosenfeld Says:

    We need to change the terminology. It shouldn’t be called, “bycatch”. instead it should be referred to as “illegal catch”.

  16. Jim Says:

    Tundra Drums article “Civil disobedience on the Yukon; Marshall fishermen ignore closure:”

    http://www.thetundradrums.com/news/story/6466

    I was wondering when this would happen. I sure don’t blame Marshall fishermen but I do worry about villages in Canada.

  17. alaskapi Says:

    Something’s changing Jim-

    Nobody listened last year when things looked bad . Nobody listened until people were in pretty tough straits. The warning voices started in May last year.

    Not sure where this year is going but folks are speaking up loud and clear…

  18. alaskapi Says:

    And yes, Rob, fish caught by folks not permitted to do so is not some lil incidental boo-boo as indicated by the term “bycatch”…

    At least not in the number of species and tonnage which currently is accepted as collateral damage of the pollack fishery…

    It’s already technically illegal , is why it gets chucked back in the water. Their permits only allow pollack…
    Sigh.

  19. Jim Says:

    When pollock trawlers catch salmon, kill them, and throw them away, it’s called “bycatch.” When First People catch their food as they’ve done for thousands of years, now we call it illegal, or civil disobedience.

  20. alaskapi Says:

    Civil disobedience- WITHIN civil bounds- has a long and honorable history in America.

    It is one of the ways everyday people can effect change when voting and letters and similar avenues get no real results.

    We don’t know much about this event.
    Back to the dang waiting-for-news thingy…

  21. Jim Says:

    I think they’re just exercising their traditional right which is why I wonder if it is even civil disobedience.

  22. alaskapi Says:

    Mr Andrew was quoted as saying “Our original intent was to protest…”.

    It seems clear that the folks who went were serious about what and why they were going fishing- to the extent that that they went with an approved resolution from two tribal governements.

    Something’s changing…

  23. alaskapi Says:

    http://community.adn.com/adn/node/142094 updated

    Something’s changing…

  24. Jim Says:

    Finally it is sinking into my thick skull!

  25. Jim Says:

    Sorry it took so long!

  26. alaskapi Says:

    It’s a bit of new ground to stand on Jim-
    Mr Andrew’s letter, which appeared all over a week ago , seems very clear now. I could not get my mind around it when I first read it…

    More waiting for news…
    Someone told me I would gain patience with age…phhht! Not true…

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