Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The staggering cost of bycatch

We have a huge international conference on bycatch running through the week in Anchorage.

Deckboss regrets he wasn't in the meeting room yesterday, when analysts with the National Marine Fisheries Service were scheduled to give a presentation on the economic impacts of bycatch in U.S. commercial fisheries.

Here's an eye-opening summary of their talk:

This presentation will describe the economic impacts of early closures due to bycatch in US fisheries, by describing past case studies as well as evaluating the economic impacts of discarding fish in US commercial fisheries. Premature closures in the fisheries reviewed resulted in potential losses ranging from $34.4 million to $453.0 million annually. Nationally, bycatch estimates in the form of regulatory discards are annually reducing the potential yield of fisheries by $427.0 million in ex-vessel revenues, and as much as $4.2 billion in seafood-related sales, $1.5 billion in income, and 64,000 jobs.


Anonymous said...

Honesty about the level and long term effects of bycatch, have been hard to come by.

There is a lot of money to be made in cleaning up bycatch, and the effects of bycatch are impacting lots of hard working people who simply fish cleaner.

The vacuum cleaner methods of killing everything, and then sorting out what is valuable, and discarding the rest over the side is nothing to be proud of.

Unfortunately, policy makers have yet to embrace putting strong incentives in place for those who fish clean. Cod are an excellent example of where pots and jigs fish dramatically cleaner than trawls, but the bulk of the quota goes to the gear group who fishes the dirtiest.

It is so simple to simply give more quota to clean fishing gear types, until the dirty gear type is obsolete. This has been done in the past when the use of tangle nets for King crab was banned, due to its destruction of bycatch.

Unfortunately policy makers are sucking at the lobbyists teat.

This should have been addressed long ago, if biologists were actually allowed to do their jobs and the fish were truly protected first.

This shameful, tragic, and unnecessary bycatch is a direct failure of politically motivated policy makers, over ruling sound fisheries science for political favors.

Anonymous said...

the solution is simple-

no discards at sea

and there is only one law to enforce on the vessels and all the observers can work at the cannery, and the markets will create the financial incentives for the cleanest fishers and pursue alternative utilization of the less desirable species if they want the profits from the best fish

Anonymous said...

It's time to bring everything ashore! 100% retention and delivery makes all fisheries transparent! Utilize all bycatch...process it and put it on the market. Take the profits from those sales, nationalize that portion, and use it to improve fishing technologies. Also, if vessels reach their bycatch quotas, they go home for the year. No transferring of quotas, either. Make incentives for the operators to fish cleaner. Canneries are also given a by-catch quota as well, based on what is brought in. No transferring of that quota either. You harvest and process your targeted fish. If you reach your by-catch limit, you go home and no more processing. For C/P's , same situation, and vessel observer coverage stays...If you are hauling back Crab, and killing them, be ready to process them....whether it is 10 crab or 10,000. If they are hauling up deep water coral, it gets recorded, and they don't get to tow that route anymore. If too much coral is hauled up, as a fleet of vessels, then the whole area is closed. Same with skate eggs, and all the rest of the crusteans. You go over your by-catch limits, you lose your U.S.C.G Licenses for five years. Caught fudging documents/Logbooks? You're all done as a fisherman. U.S.C.G. keeps all records and is working in colaboration with NMFS. No Litigation, or fines,just straight jail time, five years minimum.

Anonymous said...

Widen your boats as much as you want/need to....a good portion of the proceeds of the by-catch sale should most definitely go to re building the King Salmon stocks of all of North America. Even if you are catching King salmon going to rivers other than U.S. domains, so what!...That is no excuse to give you guys the green light to tow!...Keep all stocks of all species balanced!...Failure to knowingly do that should be good reason for a felony conviction, whether you are making decisions from the U.S. Fisheries Committee level, or as the 1st year deck ape. No resources within U.S. jurisdiction should be degraded or altered for Political/Strategic financial gain period.