Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Observers report taking abuse over halibut

The National Marine Fisheries Service has issued its 2014 annual report for the North Pacific fishery observer program.

The report is loaded with interested reading, not the least of which is on pages 87-88.

The agency notes a "significant trend" involving catcher-processor vessels and observer reports of harassment, intimidation and other issues.

Multiple investigations have been initiated, NMFS says. The report continues:

These investigations include allegations of physical sample bias including removing halibut from observer samples, or physically preventing a halibut from entering an observer's sample during collection. Additional allegations include hostile work environment due to industry behavior and remarks to the observer in an attempt to influence how they sample the catch to reduce the number of halibut in their sampling.

The report further says officials issued two "outreach letters" to the Amendment 80 trawl fleet and the freezer longline fleet.

These letters identified trends involving intimidation, harassment, hostile work environment, sample bias and attempted coercion regarding halibut bycatch sampling methods as well as catch weighing and record keeping and reporting requirements.


Anonymous said...

The greatest fraud in Alaska's fisheries is the intentional turning of a blind eye to under reporting By-catch fraud.

Ask any crewmember on a trawler "Is all your By-catch recorded?"

I have asked over 100 crewmembers, and they all look at their boots and mumble "Most of it"

No wonder NOAA has never asked crewmembers this question under oath.

NOAA already knows the answer, but does not want the public to know.

And they promote themselves as a scientific organization.

Anonymous said...

In 2014 7% of GOA trawl catch was observed and 15% of GOA fixed gear catch.

Is all their bycatch recorded?? How could it be!

Anonymous said...

7% of GOA trawl observed - 93% fewer observer complaints! 15% of GOA fixed gear observed = 85% fewer observer complaints! Let's resolve all these observer complaints by getting rid of observers! D'oh!

Anonymous said...

nobody likes draggers

Anonymous said...

Partial coverage fleets = 11% of total observer days but 37% of all observer complaints

Full coverage fleets = 89% of total observer days and 63% of observer complaints

Anonymous said...

We wonder whether the reason for a lack of NOAA public testimony on abuse of observers is the marriage between the head of NOAA in Alaska, Jim Balsiger, and his wife who was the lobbyist for the trawlers? Isn't that a conflict of interest? Does that send a chill done the spine of people in NOAA who want to do a decent job getting good data collected?