You might know that a violation of Alaska's commercial fishing regulations can earn you "demerit points."
If so, I'll bet you've wondered — as I have — whether anybody ever loses his fishing privileges because of an excess of points.
I found the answer in the 2009 annual report just out from the state Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. The report contained the following:
In 1998, the Alaska Legislature enacted AS 16.43.850-16.43.895, which established a demerit point system for suspending commercial fishing privileges based on convictions for fishing violations in the salmon fisheries. Under this law, the Commission must suspend a salmon permit holder’s commercial fishing privileges for a period of one to three years if certain threshold levels of demerit points are accumulated in a three-year period.
Between 1998 and 2009, the Commission has issued demerit points to 977 fishermen. Two Bristol Bay salmon drift gillnet permits have been suspended — one in 1999 and one in 2007 and two Kuskokwim salmon gillnet permits have been suspended; both in 2009. The majority of the demerit points assessed have been for violations occurring in the Bristol Bay salmon drift gillnet fishery.
The CFEC actually maintains a list of fishermen with demerit points.
Click here to see how many points you get for a particular offense, such as fishing in closed waters (six). Rack up 12 points in a 36-month period and the CFEC will suspend your permit for a year.
Alaska law has a provision to halve the points assessed for a first conviction. Still, Deckboss is kinda surprised that more fishermen haven't had their permits pulled over the years.
How about you?