Saturday, December 23, 2006

Fleet Consolidation

Fleet Consolidation in SE

This has been a long time coming, gentlemen.
We finally have our loan and implementing legislation.
I guess you probably don’t need to be told that.

We have a lot of preparation work prior to the final plan and then the publishing in the Federal Register, et. al., prior to the permit holder vote. Just before summer if we’re lucky on the vote although the entire deal will take us well into next fall to complete.
Here are some excerpts from one of SEAS fleet consolidation letters:

SEAS ..”formally request(s) that the state of Alaska, CFEC, investigate the means and methods of initiating a buyback program to reduce the number of permits…..”
This would return …”economic vitality to the fleet”.
“There are numerous reasons for the present economic condition…this fishery require(s) the highest capitalization costs for vessels, gear and operational expenses in the state.” SEAS believes that we “have the smallest return on investment of any salmon net fishery in the state”.
“Increased fleet efficiency …. has increased dramatically. Through new and more efficient methods of gear recovery, advances in on-board electronics, and extended holding capacity through refrigeration, skippers now have means to higher productivity. Also a number of more effective skippers in the highliner category have entered the fleet…”

Guys.. This was a 1984 letter from the SEAS board of directors, signed by Mr. Bruce Wallace.

Our plan was set in motion at a November, 2001 meeeting of SEAS at the Sixth Avenue Inn in Seattle. But this has been a long time coming. Many of the conditions that existed in 1984 are even more evident in 2006.

From the onset limited entry in SE needed relimiting.
Many of the permits were issued to a increased bunch of us who were in SE because of the permit issue itself ( the 1969 “Alaskan”implementation had failed so more folks were keen to the issuance of permits) as well as the major influx of displaced Boldt decision folks from Washington state.
Boats hold 70% more product on average than in 1984.
Our gear is stronger, heavier.
We didn’t even have GPS in 1984…. Think about that.
Sonars are now on 20% of our boats. Back then we may have had 5%.
In 1974 we had no pumps. In 1984 many of us had no refrigeration yet. Any of you hand pitched a load lately.
And the list is pretty much inexhaustible. We’ve changed
Limited entry needed relimiting in SEAK seine.

Any questions over the holidays, call me on my cell. Should be in the office off and on but the cell phone will be better.

There's a great article on the SEAS fleet consolidation plan @

Merry Christmas


Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Board Members

Actually there are no new board members. The votes were counted by a board member and one witness in Juneau on December 12th. (Kind of slow on the trigger on this blog, eh?)

From Alaska, Brad Haynes and Dan Castle won uncontested 3 year seats that will expire in 2009.

For At- Large , Bryan Benkman and Jim Zuanich won their seats back in a 3 way election.
Their seats will be up in 2009 as well.

Congratulations to all of the nominees as well as to those of you who will have to continue to work for the rest of the fleet.

Although we are not yet --at this time-- soliciting nominations for 2007's Board of Directors vote, you are welcome to call in and nominate someone when you think of it so that you can be reminded when the actual nomination forms come out.... Be sure the nominee is willing to spend the time and energy to help make SEAS function as effectively as possible.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fleet Consolidation

The buyback implementing language and the loan passed both bodies of Congress last weekend as part of the Magnuson-Stevens Act Reauthorization.

Once again, as is always the case, many thanks to Senator Ted Stevens for the fantastic work done by he and his staff on behalf of Alaskan independent commercial fishermen and their families.

Although there remains a bit of clearing and a whole lot of work to do, this puts us on the map and now there will indeed be a buyback....


Friday, December 08, 2006

Task Force Short Report

November 28 Task Force Meeting.

The meeting was attended by over 50 people including ADFG personnel and SEAS board members. The Petersburg seiners, along with a few gillnetters were out in full force.
This was the best attendance we’ve ever seen at a Purse Seine Task Force meeting.
Last year in Ketchikan was the 2nd best attendance. Looks like we’re having the meeting in Sitka next year.

2007 Forecast: The ADFG prediction gets into the 40 plus million range, although the NMFS guys forecast falls to 38 million SE wide. Joe Orsi of NMFS just completed year 2 of sampling fry outmigration patterns in Clarence Strait. Icy Strait has several more years of sampling than Clarence.

McDonald Lake: The department laid out their plans to return more sockeye to McDonald Lake and it includes major reductions in time and area in lower and outer District 7B, late start on District 6 and then a closure of Lincoln Rock and Marsh and Screen Islands, and partial closures on Gravina Island as well as the Ship Island shore.
Weakness in McDonald Lake is going to reshape the 2007 Clarence Strait fishery.

Kanalku subsistence: Ben Van Allen from USFS joined us in Petersburg. Among his many claims are that upper Chatham is a new fishery with too much fishing occurring there since the late-1990’s. It is apparent that there is a major obstacle to sockeye salmon getting from the stream to the lake as over 60% of Mr. Van Allen’s tagged sockeye did not make it to the lake from the stream. It is also apparent that Mr. Van Allen’s statistics and science had no basis in fact but that won’t preclude the RAC from attempting to justify Extraterritorial Jurisdiction if they are so convinced.

Hatcheries: Exceptional 2006 contributions across the board, especially to the seine fleet from NSRAA and SSRAA.

Anita Bay: As it turned out, seiners and gillnetters caught a fairly even split of Anita Bay chums. However, the seiners caught most of theirs in the bay and the gillnetters caught most of theirs in front of the bay. Discussion was had regarding the mixed stock corridor fishery in front of Anita Bay.

4 on 1 off management: Discussion occurred about our most recent management regime. There was no move to revoke this management but the point was made several times that there should be a divide when one region of SE isn’t doing as well as the others, i.e., Clarence Strait and the south end. This point may be made for us with the closures for McDonald Lake.