New regulations put seekers of groundfish in conflict with halibut fishery
The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council’s met pushback against Tuesday, March 31st against stricter halibut bycatch regulations in Alaska’s groundfish fishery, say industry sources. The opposition came in the form of a 23,000 word petition, delivered to governor Jay Inslee by Washington company Fishermen’s Finest. The company, which operates a large fleet in Alaska, argues that the revisions will cost millions in revenue and thousands of jobs. If they hold up, the limits could trim allowable bycatch by 10% to 50%.
The petition charges that “This reallocation will cause a handful of Alaska fishermen to gain an additional $44 million over the next ten years”. It goes on to say “…will cause the loss of $1.2 billion and 4,900 jobs in the Washington state fishing and shipbuilding industry.”
Fishermen’s Finest has claimed that a one-to-one loss of revenues is expected for every percentage point that the limit is cut. A 10% cut would mean a 10% loss in revenue, and so on. Much of that revenue would have been spent on updating its aging fleet, the company says.
The effects of halibut bycatch in non-target fisheries hurt both commercial and sporting halibut fisheries, which were projected to suffer a reduced quota in 2015. In fact the quota was increased, against the recommendations of biologists. Despite expectations, charter fisheries make up a larger share of this market than the commercial side.
For another article on Halibut Regulations visit The Case for Halibut Size Limits