Thursday, March 29, 2012

Relimiting Limited Entry to the number we were supposed to be @

Another recycled article but since it was one of our most-read articles I thought it would be good to recycle this.

SEAS formally requests 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 numberous reasons for the present economic condition... this fishery requires 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 electgronics, and extended holding capacity through refrigeration, skipers now have means to higher productivity."

"Also a number of more effective skippers in the highliner category have entered the fleet..."


Imagine that
How many of you were in SE in 1984. No one broke the million pound mark until 1989. No one broke the 2 million pound mark until 1996. No one broke the 3 million pound mark until 2011.

I know of not one boat that could have handled a million pounds in 1984, even if they were catchable.

I began running the Pamela Rae in 1983. It was one of the larger boats in the fishery. Sure isn't anymore.

There are many, many economic, stability, environmental, fuel economy, etc., reasons to have a buyback but simply put, our fleet has changed from the fleet we began with in 1974.

I hardly recognize 3/4 of the fleet from my first year in 1983.

And why? Because they weren't in the fishery.

Think on this list. The Jackie A, Binky, Veribus, Oregon City, Marysville, Floretta, Jerry O, Fidalgo 1 and 2, The Libby 6, 8 12, and the rest of the Libby boats, the old St Peter, Cherokee Maid, Mermaid, Sonar, Martlye, Peppermint John, New York.....

This is not the same fleet as the boats that replaced them. The replacement boats were 2-5 times bigger, more efficient, etc.

Even my old 1949 jalopy isn't at all the same boat as it was in 1983. Or 1984.

It's almost all new except for some planks and the keel. Double the horsepower. Skiff has 3 times the pulling power. Net is twice as heavy and big.

No GPS back then. Didn't have refrigeration until 1987, so had to go back to Petersburg every 2-3 days to get ice.

I know there are ideas out there that take time to catch and this is one but remember the massive reasoning that went behind this fleet consolidation program before you jettison the program because some a-hole put in a high bid or because you have some idea that we should just let everyone buy cheap permits to get their feet on the ground.

If that's the case, then let's throw all the permits out the door and while we're at it, we can jettison the IFQ program as surely we should level the playing field for all fisheries while we're at it.
Of course we do not believe the preceding paragraph to be true but think on it. Limited entry never was meant to be the be-all to end-all. Too many permits came out in the first iteration.
Too many for the fish.. Too many for the fishermen.

Now with all the changes SEAS witnessed from 1974-1984 as mentioned above, those seem diminuitive in comparison to the changes we've seen since that time.

The biggest and most productive 20-30 boats always catch their share whether the fleet is large or not. They have other fisheries to back them up even if they don't catch a single humpy.

But for the majority of the fleet, the average guy, the fleet consolidation provides a level playing field where a guy automatically has a market-- he's not bound to any single processor, if he doesn't like his price or the way he's being treated, he can go to another.

The average guy isn't up front on the reef with the tide running 3 knots and the wind blowing 50. He's in a 3-4 boat lineup, comfortably making a living in 2011.

How would that living have looked had there been 6-7 boats in that lineup.

The biggest and most productive 20-30 boats caught 40-55 million pounds of salmon worth 25 million dollars in 2011. So those 10% would be paying 25% of the buyback costs.

Thats one of the fairest parts of the 3% (which could drop to as low as 1.75% in future years, but can never be raised).---- that the guy who has a break down doesn't pay==the guy who has an off year doesn't pay as much.

The burden to pay for this thing comes from the highliners. The guys who would catch alot of fish and make alot of money anyways. They are paying for the average Joe to have a manageable sized fleet.


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