Sunday, March 8, 2015

Limit seiners and the law

State Rep. Dan Ortiz, of Ketchikan, has filed a bill titled "An act relating to the length of vessels used in a salmon seine fishery."

The bill seems to be a bid to clarify in Alaska statutes that 58 feet is the maximum allowable length overall for a salmon seiner.

It would appear to take away the authority of the Board of Fisheries to provide by regulation for the use of longer vessels.

Deckboss has heard some talk about the motivation behind this bill, but is not yet clear enough on the details to say more about it.


Anonymous said...

The entire 58' limit law should be repealed and thrown in the trash. There is a limit on the length and depth of gear in all areas already. How much sense is there in limiting the safety and welfare of crew because some are worried what will happen to the value of a limit seiner. You already have seine boats that pack 200,000+ pounds So whats the point. If a owner wants to have a safer work platform for crew with out spending $1000,000.00+, you should be able to. It all makes perfect sense.Better quality fish and a safer work place for crew, The 58' limit had a time and place but any more it makes about as much sense as trying to put a square head in a round hole.

Anonymous said...

Safety: Last time I looked the SE fisheries and IFQ fisheries were amongst the safest in the nation.

Greed: Bigger boats, more efficient gear, harvesting the fish faster and buyback programs usually lead to a the wanting of more and more. This comes at the expense of communities, crew, and local economies. I promise. its in the history books over and over again aptly titled the tragedy of the commons. How much is enough? Seiners not making enough money? Last time I looked Troy D and the SBS boys are doin pretty well with help of NSRAA's GM. New boat, multiple seine permits, new houses with basketball courts, undermining rural status for AK communities, more more more! True who's ever left standing makes more money, including whatever crew is left but how much is enough? The illusion that that hole is round is probably your eye balls crossed with greed.

Anonymous said...

So, 4:20 PM,

What would you say about Bristol Bay's 32 foot limit?

It's safe to say that probably 20% of the fish are delivered dry, on deck, due to the fact that there is only so much square footage available to refrigerate in sea water.

I'm not sure about Southeast, but the Bristol Bay length limit was imposed in 1952, over 60 years ago. Yet, if you look at any other gill net fishery in the State, there is no length limit on gill net vessels. It is so laughable to think that what applied in 1952, stands true today.

The disenfranchisement of the little-guy, whose boat value will erode - in either fishery, if we expand the limit, should be balanced by the notion that that vessel's value is currently eroded…by doing nothing.

Can you explain how crew, local economies, & communities will be trashed by having a competitive, safe, profitable platform, where everyone gets home safe?

Don't even get me started on Exclusive Use. Talk about overcapitalization and protectionism?

Anonymous said...

4:20 I think you totally missed the point of the first post. Limit the gear and allow more young blood into fisheries by reducing the initial cash outlay. A chance at ownership and to be a permit holder of one of the worlds great natural resources is the dream of many a young fisherman . Only the greed and opportunistic attitudes of a spineless group of selfish power players limit their chance to conceive this dream by cramming such unethical idea's like permit reduction down the throats of those who have no say in the future for the lining of the pockets of a few at the expense of many for years to come. "I got mine and I want yours to" A sad state of being in our once fruitful way of life.!!

Anonymous said...


Are you implying that the dreams of young fishermen are being quashed by having to buy a permit for say 30-50% more in order to participate in a fishery that is far more economically sustainable. Amortizing that additional 50-100K dollars over his or her next 30 years in the fishery is minimal compared to the advantages of being part of a fishery with a sound economical model. Nobody is cramming anything down anyone's throat. Reducing Bristol Bay's fleet from 1500 boats to 1200 is hardly making it exclusive for a few. Quit whining, work a little harder. Want to be a young, successful fisherman? Take an economics class, work harder, smarter and longer than your neighbor, build your skills, save your money, then go borrow what you need to buy your first boat and permit. That is what alot of us did It's not how much you have to borrow it's how smart you invest after you borrow. Bristol Bay with 1800 permits and 1500 boats isn't a sensible long term model. On second thought after reading how you look at the world maybe you should just sit on the sidelines until someone just gives you a boatload of money because with your attitude it is extremely unlikely you'll ever be successful at anything.

Anonymous said...

Permit reduction...hmmm...more participants today than any year in the last decade. The extra permits weren't being used. Its a social security scheme. Get the next generation to pay 3.5% of their income towards my retirement. Oh well it worked.

Now I just have to get someone to buy my boat. I don't want more boats in the pool, so lets tighten the rules to keep other boats out and mine in. Whats next...lobby for loan programs for the young guys?

Why not let the invisible hand keep prices reasonable? This industry is overcapitalized after a few good years, but the longer average doesn't pencil out for a new guy. You can marry a cannery and essentially give the fishing rites to a company, which is illegal, but somehow allowed by the CFEC to take loans from canneries.

The only win for the next generation is the large number of vessel owners and permit owners that want to retire. There is a surplus now. They will have to make competitive cuts on the prices of their boats and or owner finance the cost of entry.

Length doesn't seem to be the defining advantage in Seining. The smaller boats win in the shoot outs, and at the fuel pump, plus they get inflated egos because their boats are always full and they can chomp on about how much fish they could have caught. An over length multi fishery super packer has an operating overhead three times that of a smaller older vessel with the same size net. On big years those days when the fish are heavy enough to fill a big boat with no cannery limit is pretty few and far between. WIth every benefit is a cost. There are advantages with any boat, you just have to adjust your strategy to what you have. Some of the top producing SE boats are old wooden boats or under 58' fiberglass with small capacity. Consistently fill what you've got and the tenders will follow you around.

58' is a tradition. Thats fine, but get with the rest of the industry and measure like the coast guard boat builders and surveyors do. Plumb bob at the dock?

SeaScapes said...

Bigger and better boats are not the solution. We need to focus on a decent price and come to terms with the drastic swings between the even and odd years. Maybe we should have massive boats up there and fish for .06 cents a pound. Plugging the market isn't really helping us. The real value in the fishery should come from enhancing our quality and brand. With prices swings from .42 cents two years ago to .25 cents for pinks coming up. I think we have more important issues.

Anonymous said...

Gear, time, and number of boats are the tools that management use to regulate fisheries. Capacity no longer applies. CFEC has the option to reintroduce more permits if an imbalance is perceived. When fishermen take the initiative to improve their future (halibut derby and pinks @ .05 lb) dynamics improve and younger fishermen opportunities increase as a result.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Dave Clark 100% . Same can be said for BBay.
The ups and downs of the market need fixing!
The downs tend to drag down other
fisheries . SE seine and BBay drift have way too much influence
on other areas salmon prices.
Plugging the market , sometimes with a 2 year back log of fish
is getting us nowhere .

Anonymous said...

Same crap different year. Get over this and work on what makes you $$, price. All these rule changes and ideas take away from that simple idea, price. Boy what a bunch of nut jobs.

Anonymous said...

Salmon products have become commodities. Just ride the wave up and down.

SeaScapes said...

Use your name people! If you are respectful, there is nothing to hide.

Jason Burke said...

What happens if this passes, does every Delta with a bulb need to get chopped and does every Canadian boat with a cut bow get removed?

Zeke said...

The only people pushing for buybacks and keeping the length limits are old timers who want to be able to retire and sell out for a fortune.

If we get rid of the length limit a lot of competitive boats will be avalible for both Bristol Bay and seining and it will put downword pressure on all boat values making it easier for someone starting out. It will also allow us to run more efficient boats.

Nobody who seines or fishes the bay can say that the length limit is doing anything to stop overinvestment or makes it any easier to be competitive. 18' wide bay boats and 28' wide seiners!

Make sure you think about buy backs. Getting a giant federal loan in order to pull a couple of the worst performing permits out of the water is a foolish idea. It's hard to say it will really make you anymore money but it is definitely going to cost you every year paying off that Loan.

Of course if you're 60 years old hell yes you want a buy back, you won't have to pay off the loan and your permit value goes up! And don't get rid of the limit you need to sell your 30 year old limit seiner for 1.5 million dollars. I wonder why there's this graying of the fleet problem?

Anyhow I'm going to go back to wrenching on my boat from 1971 that I'm up to my ears in debt over. Just don't make me buy anybody else's permits I've still got to pay off mine


Anonymous said...

Good point on the loan issue. What about two permits one name. Let those that want two permits fund consolidation.

Anonymous said...

"The ups and downs of the market need fixing!"

Your joking, right? Like you actually have a plan to combat those dastardly market forces?

Mark Ervice,

Anonymous said...

Salmon is a commodity and our ability to control the market is virtually nil. The world is awash in salmon and only a small portion of it comes from Alaska now days. The commodity price is also effected by currency exchange rates, and right not those are not in our favor. But, in case you haven't noticed, the processor group is also shrinking through consolidation. In the last few years Norquest, YAK, Leader Creek, and Snopac have been consolidated into other companies. Silver Bay is the only new entrant and they (their business model) are an outlier. Icicle ay be the next to go. This does not bode well for price.

Anonymous said...

Limiting production to keep the market stable is common in many industries.

Anonymous said...

We lost our market share to farm fish 25 yrs ago, been fighting to get back in the game by educating the consumer that we have a better product. Fortunately organic foods are mainstream today. Alaskan seafood is riding that wave, organization that promote our hard work need to be supported join one.

Not sure if limiting production helps, buyers will buy as long as they get their discount.It makes sense to expand in a shrinking market, wild fish vs farm fish.

Fuel efficient bulbous bows are exempt from the 58'limit. The bill is for clarification, sense we are holding judgement on the limit, I'm for dropping it, if you want to fish lousy weather bigger is better.

Anonymous said...

Been on a seiner since 1980,,have never felt my safety in jeopardy because were only 58 feet.Bill Macnab

Anonymous said...

Too many fish is a great problem to have. It'll make new markets and as the price comes down put more pressure on farmed salmon. Nobody is going to limit salmon production.
Yes, I agreecompletely. I don't know what the logic behind not doing that when they started permit stacking in the bay.
I also think we should do something similar to help seining, we let captains own and fish a permit in every area in a year like herring. This would allow the fleet to adjust to a run failure better and would take gear out of the water without getting rid of the permits for good. For example, if s.e Started out Poorly but pws was looking to have a record year all the s.e guys with pws permits could come up to the sound. That would not only improve their season but also all the people who can't afford 2 permits and are stuck in se would benefit from them leaving. This same thing happens with puget sound and alaska where there is no restriction And it benefits the guys who can't afford to gear up and go to alaska because for half the season half the permits are inactive as those boats are fishing south east. When it looks like it's going to be a big pink year some of the southeast guys leave early to try and catch puget sound fish and that makes it easier on those who stay in southeast.

Anonymous said...

The original topic was the 58" length limit for seiners.
In the 90's fish cops went to all the BBay boat storage yards before the season and measured boats.
There was over a million dollars spent on "nose jobs" to make boats meet the 32' law.
Has any seine boat been measured in recent history? Time for the state to play fair and measure all the seiners . Not doing so is favoritism and crooked business.

Anonymous said...

Why not just through the whole length limit on all boats in all areas out the window. The whole thing has created it's own monster. It is ridiculous. Can anyone give a logical reason there should be a limit. Then again maybe there should have been a limit on Bering sea fisheries years ago and maybe we could have avoided that whole bureaucratic crab grab.

Anonymous said...

Atleast boycott the seafood processors who use the momentum generated by Alaska Wild Salmon, to sell farmed fish or Russian fish.

Anonymous said...

All the limits are illogical. They were enacted before the voters passed the Limited Entry Act.

Used to prevent over harvest that's now controlled with biologists, operating as what's known as the Department of Fish and Game.

"One Seattle builder, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that the construction cost of a 57 foot steel seine boat, completely equipped, rose from $49,000 in 1955 to $133,000 in 1968. A second builder located in Blaine, suggested that for a 58-foot 'Alaska limit' boat, the price rose from $50,000 in 1945 to $110,000 in 1968 (Taylor 1969)"

“How very wet this water is.”
― L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz

Anonymous said...

“A man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.”
― Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Autocrat of the Breakfast Table