Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Here's Johnny

Note to Johnny Rice, the original founder of the Alaska Report and operator solely from 1999 until sometime in 2005.

Johnny. Bobbyt here on a crewmembers laptop, blogging from Hope Island, Washington.
Hauling gear as I type.

In case any of you wondered where seiners.net came from it was Johnny.
He's been trying to get SEAS and myself more wired up since forever.

And SEAS and myself are usually about 5 years late on everything internet or computers.

Anyways. Here's to you Johnny. Hope your day in Ketchikan was as bright as ours down here.


Friday, October 27, 2006


I guess that's crewmember memberships.
Good news and bad news about crewmemberships at SEAS.

As reported earlier in a newsletter, Crewmember memberships have gone up to $50 per crewmember. That's from $40. And that's the bad news.

The good news is that for a one-time low price of $150 you can have your entire crew sign up for the entire year. That's right, only $150 gets you crewmemberships of as many crewmembers as you have for the entire season. And that's getting shorter, thanks to 1}Cholmondeley's lack of late return chums ( I didn't say there was a non- natural reason for this) and 2}for the fact that so many SEAS members appear to either 1} too busy or 2} too busy getting a whacking that they ignore the fact that they should be fishing cohoes in the fall in September like the other gear groups do.

Yeah. Those same gear groups that are our friends and have wanted to share in the effort to maintain some sense of equilibrium to the fleets. Our historical average isn't very close to the mark

That's atopic for another discussion but I would assume that the other groups would be as responsive and helpful as SEAS has been when the shoe was on the other foot... i.e., witness the allocation spending under the SSSF 2000-2001-2002 under the Knowles administration when alot of it really was spent in Southeast...

And the advent of PNPs like DIPAC have certainly helped augment the 3% Regionals production and much of that followed the enhanced plan. Certainly no credible marine scientist nor biologist would have accused DIPAC of actually having a return come back when this SE Regionwide allocation plan was adopted in the spring of 1994.

DIPAC's first blue chip pink return came in on its last pink release, in the summer of 1994.
Then we- I say we since I have served on DIPAC's board since the spring of 1994 - got some dogs back in 1996 that surprised even us as we had not sold them yet....another story.
Suffice it to say that DIPAC has been a big boost to gillnetters fortunes. And this boosts the seiners fortunes as well since these non-3%ers are added into the SE regionwide enhancement allocation formula. Even were a few seine fish this year.

Back to memberships. Back in 1993 a young impulsive SOB wrote a nasty note to the SEAS board and criticized them for not signing up their crews. My logic ran thus "If a skipper cannot convince his crew of the need for SEAS, then how is that skipper to persuade city councilmen, representatives, his neighbors, etc, of the importance of commercial salmon seining in SEAK."
Of course once I got on the board I was probably the first guy to forget to sign up my crew once I got to working on the issues the guys had already worked on. So the SEAS board invited me to fill a vacant seat for the remainder of 1993, until I could get elected on my own to serve my only term on the SEAS board, 1994-1997. Same way I got on the DIPAC board, I guess.

We need crewmembers. We need input from crewmembers. We need you to help us to help you.
Tell us what you think about the buyback. Ask us what's really going on, not the new article coming out in the ADN next month or the latest blog. There is an amazing "National Enquirer" attitude about commercial fishing lately-- since the Crab show on TV really-- and there is a bunch of sex, lies and videotape out there. OK, another story.

Anyways. Sign em up. $150 for your entire crew. Sorry, doesn't include Puget Sound.
These guys are the guys who make our industry what it is today. They are the next generation of seine skippers in Southeast. It's a bit disconcerting how well you all taught these young guys coming up. They really aren't shooting for #2. We all just lost the last 1 1/2 hours of sleep we've been saving each night in August.

After all, did any of you start out as skippers or did you crew a season or two??

Sign em up. We're doing this for them.

Oh. And in case you didn't know the coho allocation number represented by the drop in recent historical percentages, it's around 1.9 million coho. On 2006 dollars and prices, that's around $20 million.

Just catching a couple hundred silvers for a few days in September may never get you there but it will get you more free fall crewmembers for that one low price of $150 for your entire crew, entire year.
Heck, if you forgot their names, just send in for your kids. Who knows, maybe one of these years we'll even send out hats again.

good day


Thursday, October 19, 2006

SEAS Board of Directors Election

Election time is near. The next newsletter will have the ballots for this years election.

The ballots will read as follows. 2 names will be elected for each category of seats.
Vote for only 2 in each category...

Alaska seats Dan Castle- Ketchikan
Brad Haynes-Ketchikan

At large seats Jim Zuanich-Bellingham
George Hamilton III-Seattle
Bryan Benkman-Seattle

The remaining board members of SEAS are

Mitch Eide- Petersburg
John Barry- Sitka
Troy Thomassen- Petersburg
Alan Jacklet-Carnation
Randy Stewart-Burlington
Jeremy Jensen-Petersburg
Gary Haynes-Ketchikan
Nik Nebl-Ketchikan
Sven Stroosma-Bellingham

This board continues in the tradition of excellence that has been put forth from SEAS boards from as long as I can remember and as long as I have been associated with SEAS.

We will be meeting in Petersburg at the Purse Seine Task Force meeting and the following day as well with the SRA board. NOVEMBER 28th and 29th. SEAS members are welcome to join us for one or both days. All seiners are welcome to join us on the 28th at the Task Force meeting.

Petersburg members. This is obviously your chance to air your views on the buyback.....

Indeed if we have any issues with the buyback that make it impassable this winter then it's going to be the old heave ho to the buyback as we have no mandate from the board to continue hiring Trevor McCabe as our lobbyist and consultant on the buyback-- nor anyone else for that matter--past the end of the year. Without a nearly automatic lock on the loan in very very early 2007, this dog ain't a huntin.

That would indeed be tragic if we couldn't get the buyback through but I guess that'll at least give us more guys to get in lineups and we can then watch more movies and take more naps. As if the 19 boat lineup at Long Island wasn't enough this past summer. I keep imagining 19 International Harvesters running down the same row of corn in Iowa because they hadn't figured out how to do it otherwise.

good day and good luck to those of you who are at Point Roberts or the Salmon Banks fishing chums right now.....


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Puget Sound

Commercial fishing in Puget Sound has fascinated me for as long as I can remember.

Where else can you fish in plain view of Qwest field and the Space Needle. Folks tried again and again to run us off in 1995 and 1999 and we beat back both attempts with million dollar campaigns. Folks sometimes say this fishing stuff isn't about money but when your states' residents vote to take away your livelihood you're happy to have a checkbook to write that check that saves your job.

Many of the issues that we face in Puget Sound and many of the struggles we've survived are a harbinger of things to come in Alaska. Puget Sound has more resource issues although the chums have had a great series of runs lately on the Nisqually, Puyallup, Skokomish, Skagit, Snohomish and other wild rivers.

But we've got the resource in great shape in Alaska and especially Southeast. The ADFG track record these past 30 years is incredible. Streams near Petersburg, where my great-grandfather Loui Martens began fishing in 1903,( he moved there for good several years later) are generally at the healthiest levels of abundance that they've seen since the 1930's. Certainly there are systems that wax and wane with regime shifts.

But one thing is for certain, we've got a great resource to work with and we've been commercial fishing for salmon for 130 years in SE Alaska and we have more fish than we started with in some cases. Now certainly we may have more fish if no one ever fished, but wouldn't that then sort of defeat the purpose. I mean, what are fish for, if not to catch and eat. Certainly the brood stock always needs to be maintained, but we should righteously be entitled to catch, sell and eat that part of the fish stocks or runs that are surplus to escapement needs. I have to admit, with all the time I spent outside between residencies (1990-2003) as an Alaskan, I got soft and I do immensely enjoy just seeing jumping salmon in a river or lake or school upon school of bright red sockeye on their spawning grounds. But fish need to be more than just watched.

One other important aspect of Puget Sound is its proximity to SE. Certainly the permit numbers in SE were inflated in 1974, right after the Boldt decision hit Washington state. That leads to another buyback point, that the swelling permit numbers in 1974 need to be taken back a few notches. There were an unsupportable number of permits issued due to the Boldt decision and therefore we need to have the buyback.

Yet another very instructional idea here supporting buybacks is that Puget Sound has only 75 permits rather than the 282 available at the time of the 2001 buyback. The benefits of less nets for public viewing runs hand in hand with the benefits of having a hookoff where you can share with a couple others rather than having lineups with over a dozen boats, engines idling, with 60 guys waiting aboard to do the job that 2 boats could have done.

Good fishing and hunting and hope it's not raining where you are.
I'm feeling like a rainmaker this year. I even missed the 5 day mini-heat wave in Juneau in June.

Oh. And one last question that defines why many of SEAS members come south to fish Puget Sound in the fall. Where else in North America can you find salmon available to harvest between Alaska Day and Thanksgiving.

Only in Puget Sound.


Thursday, October 12, 2006


Well it's UFA week again. Dropped the boat off at 630 am yesterday to get ready for Hood Canal chums and flew in for the UFA semiannual meeting.

Although my UFA duties as chairman certainly clear out a larger circle than just my SEAS duties, it has been SEAS belief for decades now that UFA is an integral organization. We need UFA to deal with statewide issues, board of fish, adfg funding, subsistence, marketing, choosing a fish-friendly governor, and all of the important core issues that affect SEAS that we can join with other likeminded groups across the state.

The atmosphere here in Anchorage is electric. UFA will endorse for Governor tomorrow- those of you who know us easily will know whom that is - and the buzz surrounding her and the 2 other exceptional gubernatorial candidates and their running mates is phenomenal.

We have another new group and rep at UFA, Linda Kozak of Kodiak. She will be a very valuable asset to the group as she brings a ton of experience in the council process. Certainly not everyone shares that perspective at UFA and I wouldn't expect them to. Likewise, being from Kodiak, she is likely to be predisposed to disliking yours truly but that will change in time as it always does at UFA.

Meaning either she will really, really like me in a couple of years or really really hate me.

Never seems to land on lukewarm for anyone.

Next annual meeting for both SEAS and UFA is JANUARY IN JUNEAU.
Come if you'd like if you are a UFA member. We'll figure out a place to put you up.

Thanks to those of you SEAS members who are also UFA members. YOU are the best represented group in terms of total numbers at UFA. Keep up the good work and keep writing the $150 check to promote and protect the commercial fishing interests of your neighbors in Cordova, Kenai, Sand Point, Kodiak, etc.. as well as your fellow fishermen from SE.

Keep the faith. And remember, don't believe anything you read on the internet unless you read it here


Tuesday, October 10, 2006


The subsistence issue is boiling again.

Seems the US Forest Service's chief scientist for the northern SE region, Mr. Ben Van Allen, is insisting upon managing upper Chatham Straits for us. -- Managing used loosely here to mean-- shut down.... Oh. And if you like to fish MacNauti (sp) by the Sitka airport-- forget it.

The precedence is hardly a surprise, since the SE RAC has been in the forefront of pushing for Federal takeover of state management ability.

So folks. One more big one to add to the list this winter.

Look for the results and news of the SE Regional Advisory Council from Sitka later this week. The meeting is the 11th through the 13th, Wed. through Friday.... I'd imagine it's at the Centennial Hall if any of you from Sitka can make it.

SEAS believes that the Federal interpretation of "need" based management is seriously flawed.
And the United States Forest Service has no track record of managing salmon fisheries. Alaska should not be the experimentation grounds.

Fisheries can only be managed by one entity-- the STATE. And any fishery that is managed upon a constituent's needs rather than based upon the very best available science is doomed to extinction.

Be certain to alert your local city council members, state senator and representative-- Bert Stedman, Kim Elton, Beth Kertulla, Bill Thomas, Peggy Wilson, and Albert Kookesh.

good day and thanks to those of you whom have responded positively and constructively both emails and in person throughout Southeast.