Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Does poor pink season constitute a disaster?

While fishing continues, it's evident the 2016 pink salmon season is a bust.

The statewide commercial catch stands at about 36 million fish, far short of the 90 million forecast.

The harvest is so poor that state Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, wants Gov. Bill Walker to declare a disaster, which could lead to some sort of relief for the industry.

Stutes further suggests giving fishermen a break on making their state loan payments this year.

Kodiak fisheries reporter Laine Welch has more details here.

Stutes chairs the House Special Committee on Fisheries.

In a letter to Stutes, the Walker administration says it's prepared to work with fishermen on loan restructuring or other assistance.

Disaster relief and loan forbearance is bound to hold some popular appeal. That could benefit Stutes, who is seeking re-election this year.

Her challengers include Kodiak independent Duncan Fields, who has fished salmon commercially and served on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Government already is doing much to aid the Alaska salmon industry. In late July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it had purchased nearly $10 million in canned pink salmon for child nutrition and other food assistance programs.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a disaster for me. Didn't make enough to pay my rent this month and I'm pretty sure we caught above average for Southeast.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully you saved some of last years $$.

2017 will be a monster sized jaw dropping huge pink run in PWS.

Anonymous said...

36 million is above the 1878 to 2015 long term average catch. Nature never made 90 million pinks in Alaska, another ADF&G fact.

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=commercialbyfisherysalmon.salmoncatch#pink

Anonymous said...

Of course it's a disaster.

Heads I win, tails you lose.

When there is too much supply in the market, it is a disaster and the government steps up to prop up prices.

When there is too little supply in the market, it is a disaster and the government steps up to prop up the industry.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the "Disaster Declarations"...

Whoops, it was a bad year for you - let the gub'ment pay for your boat...

Fluctuations are a reality of the fishing industry. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the USDA does buy canned pink salmon, but at what price? Maybe that could be added to this article.

Bruce Schactler said...

The salmon that the USDA purchases is always bought by competitive bid. Most of what they buy is by request of various nutrition programs around the country, such as the school lunch program. These programs can buy what ever they want and "ask" for salmon in these instances. USDA programs that are designed to help with inventory volume for better and more stable farmer and fishermen prices (the principle of supply and demand) put the purchased product into the US food bank system. It has actually shown over time to help the volume of domestic sales as these same food bank users purchase the same product when they have money to do so. The prices paid are comparable to those at wholesale. USDA nutrition programs can simply be seen as another customer that supply's our canneries with another market that can be used to keep the stronganrm tactics of Bumble Bee, John West, and the other principle wholesalers from taking our prices even lower. Those that think this is bad or some sort of conspiracy just for the processor's benefit might understand that these funds will go to purchase chicken legs ($25M) or cheese (11M pounds just announced) or replace salmon with Tuna. I hope this helps

Bruce Schactler

Anonymous said...

As a person who is trying to buy into the seine fishery, I am upset that the government would consider bailing these guys out. Given how bad this year was, we should be seeing a major correction in the prices of these boats and permits. Anything the government does to caudle these permit holders will prevent boats and permits from hitting the deck as hard as they should.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bruce.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it called fishing , or do we now call it cathing fish? Didn't know there was guaranteed fish.....well I guess as long as it pertains to all AK. Permits

Anonymous said...

The comment at 7:13 nailed it. I would also like to buy into a seine fishery, but gear and permit prices have been prohibitively hight for the last six years. Here's to hoping nothing or no one interrupts this natural downturn that will hopefully allow some of us to buy in.

Anonymous said...

Seiners have had several good seasons and any fisherman knows or should know that there are ups and downs in fishing. Next year will probably be a good year again. No reason this season should be a disaster, hope you saved some of your good years money for the eventual bad season. You can always fish the winter fisheries for once instead of vacationing until your next seine season!

Anonymous said...

7:31 I salute you. The CFEC stats show that with vessel gross stocks at these levels, permits should be a third of what they are propped up at. The south east seine community should consider the next generation fisherman who will be buying in at an extraordinarily high rate and also paying off the last round of buyouts with the buy back tax. Seine captains also must refrain from leasing permits under the table. How ever tempting it is to leap in, it also props of the price of permits because they are used as an investment tool. Large lease fees make holding a permit more attractive, when otherwise they would all be on the market for sale. More permits for sale equals lower prices. Take away the ability to lease them and enforce it. Do away with the EMT.

We haven't even seen full participation, at the least there are still 30 or more latent permits. The low value of the fishery will mange the number of participants naturally. We don't have to make a few guys rich and tax the future fisherman.

Jim Kyle said...

I'm all for young seiners being able to buy in on the down cycle. History shows permit and boat prices rise and fall farther than logic would dictate.
But if I was in that position, I would not want a customer to be chased away out of some misguided principle. Do you really think that an end to occasional government salmon purchases would significantly lower boat and permit prices?

Anonymous said...

Take from your left hand.
Loan officers typically don't lend to an applicant who only has one fishery in mind. Their first question is "What if Salmon fails?" They look for multiple fisheries, other sources of income in case a business plan fails.
The wave of the latest multimillion dollar Seiners have longline, pot fish, tender, jig, trawl programs and or their owners hold quota or have other means to make a boat payment. If they didn't have a plan then it's the lenders fault. So guys might have to take from their left hand to feed their right hand. They shouldn't get a pass if one piece of the pie doesn't produce.
Also how would we extend this to out of state fisherman with bank loans and or private loans.
This is short term self centered thinking. It's hard, but pull from last years surplus. It's only September, there are lots of fisheries going on, we might have to work....

Anonymous said...

Misguided principles-

The Se buy back loan aka government aid has locked Se permits well above any correlation to gross stock value. Partially because permit holders think they can sell them for 200k+ to the Gov, why would they sell them for 120k to a young fisherman?

Now with a "pass" on loans this year, permit holders who would have otherwise sold out because they were feed up with fishing, can now hang on because it costs them nothing.

Anonymous said...

Hmm; what about the Pollock trawl fishery in Kodiak? We've seen a drastic decline in the Ex-Vessel price over the last 4 years. From .18 in 2012, to the .08 average in 2016... So - where's my handout or "loan forgiveness"?

I'm a young, "new entrant" that wants to invest in the fishery... I guess since I'm a trawlerman and a federal fishery participant, I'm left hung out to dry.

I agree with 7:35. Commenting on my own experience, loan officers do have an extreme aversion regarding lending to a vessel/owner with a single revenue source. Diversification is key.

Anonymous said...

Guess you entered into the wrong fishery amigo. While your ex-vessel price is declining for fish sticks, halibut and crab fishermen are seeing population declines and closed fisheries. Because of the way you choose to fish. Grow up and stop dragging.

Anonymous said...

I thought Stutes was a republican.

Anonymous said...

Really? Why not bail out the SE Dungeness fisherman, herring fisherman or why didn't they bail out the halibut fishermen in 2C several years ago when their quotas were slashed and boat payments due? More people eating government cheese is what we really need. Take accountability for not saving any money from the last 5 record years. New boats, new gear, new trucks and crazy vacations. Live with in your means and quit handling your money like the state of AK has or suffer the reality of being busted!!!

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard a single fisherman from one of these areas say they support this disaster declaration. Anybody want to speak up? Or is it just politicians making hay?

Mark Wisner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.