Thanks for your continued support!
Happy New Year to all! We wish you a prosperous and safe 2010. As always, we would like to thank you for taking the time to read through our newsletters and for your comments and feedback. SEAGO works hard to represent your point of view and effective two-way communications are the cornerstone to success.
In this Newsletter
It takes time, money, and lots of dedication to defend your interests
across multiple fronts and without your help we can’t continue.
Please join us today - it’s urgent!
Halibut Issues - Your 2010 halibut season
could very well see restrictions beyond the one per day bag limit.
Yes, we’re talking annual limits, size limits, closed days
of the week or a shortened season. Also, the halibut license
Moratorium which limits the number of guides eligible to fish is
moving ahead. SEAGO is taking a pragmatic approach to protect sportfishing
interests for both 2010 and beyond.
Save Alaska Sportfishing Program - 100,000 sports fishermen visit Southeast each year and we need them to speak out. Since its introduction at the end of November, signups have been far greater than anticipated showing the willingness of our clients to help. Your voice will be much better heard when you add your clients’ message to yours. Read below for an easy, no cost way for you to get your clients involved.
SEAGO Participates in Pacific Salmon Treaty Mitigation Funding Utilization Taskforce - This is a key program meant to compensate stakeholders who participated in the 15% salmon catch reductions. Initial meetings have begun.
Halibut Moratorium Implementation Delayed by NMFS - Originally scheduled for 2010 implementation, only registration will take place in 2010 with program enforcement to begin in 2011.
Board of Fisheries Update - SEAGO attended the combined BOF/NPFMC December ‘09 meeting in Anchorage. The BOF has also published a list of proposals to be considered at the State wide meeting next March. More than 20 proposals are designed to penalize sportfishing.
Public comments requested for the national catch share program - NOAA released the draft catch sharing policy and are accepting comments through April 10, 2010.
- News from Around the Web - SEAGO’s pick of articles from the Internet that matter to you.
We want to hear from you - Have concerns or comments? We're listening. You have questions, and we work hard to get the answers! As always your feedback and comments are much appreciated. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to other interested parties or email John Blair at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our mailing list.
SEAGO kicked off its 2010 membership drive in December with a strong track record of accomplishment and a promise to increase our efforts even more this year.
“We have tackled issues at the Board of Fisheries, at the Alaska legislature, and with the various federal agencies, and we are getting results”, says John Blair, Executive Director. “SEAGO has worked very hard to solidify our standing in sportfishing matters, and I think all would agree that we have proven to be dedicated, persistent, and most of all, respected for taking a professional approach to our problem solving. In a sentence, SEAGO speaks with the voice of reason.”
You Need to Step Up
The days when you could just sit on the sidelines and hope that someone else would go to bat for you or that things would just work out on their own are long gone. The bar has been raised. Our counterparts are very well organized, have literally raised $millions to promote their message, and have introduced legislation and regulations harmful to sportfishing in Southeast.
More Drastic Issues than Ever
The threats have increased over the past 18 months and several will put us out of business if not defended in a thorough and competent manner. This is not hypothetical. Just this year, the feds could reduce our halibut catch an additional 40% (off an already reduced catch in 2009) effectively shutting us down. We could suffer in-season closures due to rockfish restrictions, proposals have been submitted to severely reduce bag limits for other sport fish, and regulations have been submitted to restrict the type of gear we use. In addition, changes in definition of possession, regulation changes that will severely restrict managers’ ability to manage fisheries, and other toxic proposals are all on the agenda for this year. We need to fight off all of these threats or suffer the dire consequences.
Sign Up Now
SEAGO is there to fight on your behalf. It is time consuming and expensive to defend our industry on multiple fronts and we need your financial contribution to continue. We fully understand the difficult economy and have reached out with an installment payment plan, a ‘pay what you can afford’ approach, and more.
Investing a couple of minutes of your time now will ensure that you have a voice of reason representing you throughout the year. And because there is strength in numbers, ask a friend to join too!
Thanks in advance for your continued support of SEAGO. If you have any questions in advance, please contact John Blair at email@example.com
Multiple issues require our immediate attention.
Short Term - First, preliminary
catch recommendations for
2010 have been announced by the International Pacific Halibut Commission limiting
the guided sport catch to 788,000 lbs for Area 2C, down another 40% from last
year. By comparison, the guided sport catch in 2009 was 1.3M lbs down 50%+
fish from the prior year due to implementation of the one-fish rule last June
and general economic conditions. This will effectively limit us to less than
one fish per day or worse. Multiple commercial fishing groups have called for
additional restrictions, (just two examples, here and here.) They intend to
recommend imposition of annual limits, in-season closures, and catch size limitations.
SEAGO will be attending the IPHC
annual meeting at the end of January to fight
on your behalf. If you can attend, please do.
Moratorium - Enforcement of the halibut license Moratorium
for charter boats has been delayed until 2011. NMFS will begin the registration
process this year, perhaps as early as March/April. SEAGO will offer a permit
buy/sell information exchange forum to assist guides in Southeast. We hope
to have this up and running by February/March. In addition, the final ruling
is complex and will require significant clarification. SEAGO will offer an
open exchange for questions and answers. NMFS has forecast a significant impact
(more than 40% of businesses who operated in 2008 will not qualify) from this
program and recently updated their Environmental
Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review.
Lawsuit Update- The legal ruling against the Charter Halibut
Task Force lawsuit was announced last month. Recent discussions have been undertaken
to determine if an appeal should be submitted. SEAGO has gone on record opposed
to an appeal. We believe that the odds for success are low and the cost too
high. There is little likelihood that winning an appeal would result in saving
our 2010 season from restrictions beyond the one halibut bag limit. Further,
any favorable outcome is certain to be overwritten by the upcoming catch sharing
plan and legal challenges by the commercial industry.
Longer Term - The halibut Catch Share Plan (CSP) is
scheduled for implementation in 2011. SEAGO Board members and management recently
met with NPFMC representatives and it appears that there is very little motivation
to change any details. If this plan is implemented as currently written, your
clients will be subjected to a one fish bag limit forever and face additional
size limitations and in-season closures for the foreseeable future. SEAGO will
continue to focus efforts on working to modify the CSP. We have also
begun work on strategic alternatives/enhancements that could provide some relief.
These strategies need large scale industry support – that means you.
Information about the Catch Sharing Plan can be found at:
SEAGO is building a coalition with recreational anglers to make our combined efforts more effective. “Finally someone has created an effective way for the individual angler to be heard by decision makers”, says John Blair, SEAGO’s Executive Director. “As sportfishers join forces with guides and lodge owners, SEAGO will magnify their voices in speaking out on key issues. More information:
We are engaging our customers in the upcoming fight for our halibut rights and during the next AK legislative session so time is of the essence. The more people we can get on board in the next two months, the more strongly our voice will be heard.
We have developed a multipoint communication program to get your customers involved. It’s easy to implement, doesn’t cost you anything, and early feedback shows that it enhances your reputation with your clients. Please contact John Blair, firstname.lastname@example.org right away for details.
SEAGO Participates in Pacific Salmon Treaty Mitigation Fund Utilization
SEAGO President Tom Ohaus and Board Member Russell Thomas were invited by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game to participate in a stakeholders panel organized to develop recommendations for the Governor’s Fisheries Subcabinet for measures to mitigate the economic impacts to the region’s Chinook fisheries resulting from Chinook harvest reductions under the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Details of this taskforce are presented here.
The first round of meetings took place in November/December with additional reviews scheduled in January. Initial funding secured in the pending federal budget would be appropriated by the Alaska Legislature in the spring of 2010 and available for expenditure after completion of the state budget process (likely after July 1, 2010).
Stakeholder panel recommendations should be prepared before January 15, 2010 and final decisions are expected by February 15.
- Originally scheduled
for 2010 implementation, only registration will take place in 2010
with program enforcement to begin in 2011. Click
for more information...
SEAGO will attended the combined BOF/NPFMC meeting in Anchorage during
the second week of December.
A research report was presented by ADF&G suggesting that saltwater
logbook data will be a good substitute for the current SWHS methodology.
Preliminary harvest results were published by ADF&G and there
was an extended conversation about the guided halibut catch with
many negative comments/suggestions discussed.
The delay in implementation of the Moratorium was announced.
The BOF has published a list of proposals to be considered at the State
wide meeting next March which includes twenty nine proposals that will
require our intervention. You can download a copy here: http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/fishinfo/meetinfo/2009-2010/state-props.pdf
The BOF meeting schedule for 2009-10 is here: http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/fishinfo/meetinfo/fcal.php. SEAGO
is planning to attend all meetings to represent Southeast sportfishing
NOAA released the draft catch sharing policy and are accepting comments
through April 10, 2010. View draft policy at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/domes_fish/catchshare/docs/
SEAGO searches the Internet for articles that have relevance to Alaska fishing. Please forward any interesting articles you find to John Blair email@example.com and we will publish them in our next newsletter. Note that some of the links are time sensitive and may be non-functional by the time you receive this newsletter; we apologize in advance.
Finally, please understand that SEAGO does not necessarily agree the contents of any of these articles. Here are some recent stories found around the internet:
IPHC releases 2009 Year-end Halibut Stock Assessment - http://www.iphc.washington.edu/halcom/research/sa/papers/
ADF&G Preliminary Budget Request – Governor
Parnell request is $188.6 million, a 4.1 percent increase - Comfish,
$61.7 million, up less than 1 percent, and Sport Fish down a hair
to $47.5 million - http://deckboss.blogspot.com/2009/12/fish-and-games-budget-prospects.html
Halibut Coalition wants additional restrictions on AK Charter
Industry - The Halibut Coalition wants the National Marine
Fisheries Service to use its emergency authority to curb any potential
overharvest by the charter sector in 2010, said President Linda Behnken,
who also acts as executive director of the Alaska Long Line Fishermen's
Association - http://juneauempire.com/stories/121509/loc_535926293.shtml
Petersburg, AK - Council votes in support of reduced halibut
catch rates: Following a presentation by the Petersburg
Vessel Owners Association, the Petersburg city council voted unanimously
against Resolution #1914 asking the (IPHC) to revise how they regulate
the halibut fishery. http://www.petersburgpilot.com/www/stories/122409halibut.htm
Fishing permit sales take a dive - Sales of fishing
permits and catch shares are a good way to gauge how confident people
feel about the economy, and brokers say the past year has been a mixed
bag in their business. - http://www.adn.com/money/welch/story/1063047.html
NOAA Releases National Catch Share Policy – Document
available for comment: - http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/
Rep Barney Frank to tackle Magnuson-Stevens Act -
growing questions about the flawed science and National Marine Fisheries
Service's data collection that has prompted today's industry-strangling
mandates require that the process for establishing these regulations
be revised to include, among other things, far more industry input
in the information gathering process - http://www.gloucestertimes.com/puopinion/local_story
National fishermen's protest set for Feb.
24 - The
target of the protest is Congress at a time when efforts are under
way to modify the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act - http://www.gloucestertimes.com/punews/
CCA Hails Breakthrough on Catch Share Management -
Congress directs fisheries managers to address impacts to recreational
angling - http://www.joincca.org/media%20room/Federal%20Fishery%
Catch share debate heats up nationally - A draft
policy created by a special task force for Jane Lubchenco, administrator
of NOAA, is scheduled for release and three months of public comment
on Dec. 10 - http://www.gloucestertimes.com/punews/local_story_
Global recession takes a bite out of wild salmon prices -
Although the coast wide supply increased by 16.8% over last year, the
average dock price of $.51/lb. was a drop of 20.3% - but still an improvement
over the $.44/lb. average in 2007. http://www.sitnews.us/LaineWelch/113009_fish_factor.html
Feds admit plan means loss of jobs -Fishermen
wonder why government pushes economic loser: http://www.gloucestertimes.com/punews/
Out-of-state commercial fishermen expected to receive $70
million refund - the Alaska Supreme Court says license fees
were unconstitutionally high. http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/120209/loc_
Alaska awaits word on fisheries disaster - Closures
to the Yukon River king salmon fishery this summer shut off crucial
income opportunities for fishermen, and also impacted their ability
to fish for food. http://www.alaskadispatch.com/dispatches/rural-alaska/
Pebble Mine and Board of Fisheries - The Alaska
Board of Fisheries decided on Saturday to send a letter to
state legislators asking them to consider more regulatory protection
for salmon in the Bristol Bay river drainages downstream of the proposed
Pebble mine. http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/1042571.html\
Vancouver Island trollers plead for cash from Ottawa by Christmas -
Chinook catch reduction amounts to 'economic genocide,' they say: http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Vancouver+
Conflicting views on the economic recovery - Fed
survey finds recovery gaining momentum - http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091202/ap_on_bi_go
Huge Columbia River spring chinook run forecast -
Fishery scientists forecast that some 470,000 spring chinook will return
to the Columbia River next year, which would be the largest run since
Fish Farming Moves Offshore - a growing number of
entrepreneurs are raising fish in large pens in the open ocean, hoping
to avoid the many environmental problems of coastal fish farms. - http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2216
Fish Farming in Switzerland – High tech fish
farm to produce sustainable caviar in the Swiss alps - http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/index/
ps: If anyone has access to venture capital and interested in an
AK based geothermal powered fish farm, please contact John Blair – firstname.lastname@example.org
Critical Habitat for Cook Inlet Beluga Whales Proposed – NOAA
announced that it is seeking public comment today on a proposal that
identifies more than a third of Cook Inlet in Alaska as critical
habitat for the remaining approximately 300 endangered Cook Inlet
beluga whales. http://www.nationalfisherman.com/news.asp?
Increasingly acidic ocean threatens fish - Alaska's
rich fisheries scientists are "deeply concerned by recent,
rapid changes in ocean chemistry and their potential within decades
to severely affect marine organisms, food webs, biodiversity and
10,000 tons of herring in one hour of fishing – largest
catch ever - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DV-Eju09Ios
SEAGO needs your help now. Please contact John Blair email@example.com or call him at 925-366-6638 and ask how you can help with your time and money. Or, go to www.seagoalaska.org/join.html.
Please feel free to forward this newsletter on to other interested parties or email John to be added to our mailing list.