Sunday, November 9, 2014

Federal suit challenges hired skippers rule

A lawsuit brought against the National Marine Fisheries Service challenges the new "hired skippers" rule in the halibut and sablefish fisheries.

The plaintiffs, Fairweather Fish Inc. and Ray Welsh, must be pretty serious, with six lawyers signing the 40-page complaint.

Welsh is claiming the new rule discriminates against him because of his disabilities.

The suit is pending in the federal court at Tacoma.

For background, here's an item published in Pacific Fishing magazine that explains the hired skippers rule:

The National Marine Fisheries Service on July 28 published a “final rule” to clamp down on the rising use of hired skippers to harvest halibut and sablefish quota. The two fisheries converted to catch shares beginning in 1995. One goal of regulators was to encourage owner onboard fisheries. However, progress toward this goal was slipping because some initial quota share recipients were acquiring more quota and using hired skippers to go catch it. Initial recipients hiring skippers nearly doubled in the halibut and sablefish fisheries between 1998 and 2009, federal data shows. The final rule, which takes effect Dec. 1, will prohibit using a hired skipper to harvest quota acquired after a cutoff date of Feb. 12, 2010. For holders of such quota, the alternatives include climbing aboard the boat and fishing it themselves, or selling the shares.


Anonymous said...

Quota should be for fisherman who want to catch fish. Not some old mans retirement plan! I'm sick and tired of this "share cropping" rationalization. As the older generation of fisherman retires with all of this quota, there is no incentive for young fisherman to get into the game. Who will catch Alaska's seafood 20 years from now? At this rate it will be foreign workers at $100 bucks a day, with the quota owners children taking all the profits. Where is the incentive to build new boats and infrastructure if some one who has never even fished AK is making all the money?!

Anonymous said...

How about the Alaska crab quota shares. Why should they be so privelaged to use the hired skipper to harvest their shares but not the sablefish and halibut holders?

Anonymous said...

@9:41 The crab vessel owners (many who were not fishermen during qualifying years) are special above the general public because they had hired lobbyist write ratz rule. The vessel owners knew hired skippers would be important since the quota holder's kids and grand kids will not be fishermen and thus not know how to fish their inherited quota. The processors knew they had to throw the vessel owners the big bone to get their processing shares corruptly slid in by ted despite what the Department of Justice ruled.
Beyond the question of why should quota holders be able to lease their quota at all, why should they hold the quota past their useful age as a theoretical fisherman? Such as when the quota holder reaches age sixty then the quota must go up for bid to younger fishermen with profits belonging to the public. The quota holders really have nothing to lose since they never had anything to begin with.

Feudalism was outlawed in Russia in the 1860's but is still practiced today in Alaska's
federal rationalized fisheries. NPFMC does not care to consider what is right or wrong, they are interested in pleasing the lobbyists. Trident, Icicle, and other processors must be pleased with how well they can manipulate the congressional legislative process.