Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This is very important! Please send your comments to NRFMC right now!

Don’t make us do this! Cap bycatch at 32,500

By anonymousbloggers

Send your comments to NPFMC asking them to cap salmon bycatch before March 25!!

fishsand3Factory-owned trawlers fishing for pollock in the waters off Alaska’s coast cater to America and the world’s growing appetite for fast-food fish sandwiches, fish sticks and imitation crab (Krab) and lobster.

Sadly, tens of thousands of salmon are snared in the huge nets of pollock trawlers and don’t live to make their right of passage – a courageous trip against the pristine river currents of Alaska, and some all the way to spawning grounds in Canada to reproduce and guarantee the survival of their species.

Rural communities in Alaska depend on a healthy salmon run each year. Subsistence fishermen fish throughout the summer, under strict regulations, and normally harvest enough salmon to preserve for the winter. The local commercial village fishermen also use their catch to pay for their families’ need for cash items like fuel, help support local businesses and pump cash into local economies that help others support their families.

Commercial pollock trawlers are intercepting and killing these same salmon upon which rural fishermen depend. Since 2002 the bycatch, salmon caught in pollock nets, has been as high as 121,000 – many of which should have been preserved and stored in our neighbor’s winter pantries.

Native Americans living in villages in rural Alaska depend on an abundance of salmon. This winter’s scarcity brought to the forefront just how important a healthy salmon fishery is.

salmonsafePlease take a few moments to let the North Pacific Fishery Management Council know the world is watching. Demand that they cap salmon bycatch at 32,500 so more Chinook salmon have a chance to swim upstream next summer.

It took a worldwide boycott to make tuna dolphin-safe. Self-regulation has not been working in the pollock fishing industry. Add your voice to the cry for a salmon bycatch cap, send a comment to the NPFMC here.

The salmon bycatch cap and why it’s important…

Send comments to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council before March 25, 2009 demanding a 32,500 bycatch cap!

The demand for pollock to produce fish sticks, fish patties, imitation crab and many other fish products is threatening the health of a huge fishery off Alaska’s coast. Huge factory-owned trawlers capture tens of thousands of salmon in their nets. This “bycatch” in thrown back, dead after hours of being dragged in a trawl net

Fishermen in rural villages depend on a healthy salmon run each year. For thousands of years, Native American villagers have relied on an abundant salmon run to preserve for their winter diet. The salmon run was so bad this year that rural Alaskans are struggling to feed their families.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet April 1-7, 2009 in Anchorage to choose a management measure to reduce Chinook salmon bycatch. The Council is considering a hard cap on salmon bycatch, which would close the pollock fishery down once the cap was reached. The Council is considering a range of hard caps from 29,000 to 87,500. Many Western Alaska groups are recommending a hard cap of 32,500 or lower. This 32,500 cap is based on the average bycatch prior to 2002, when the Yukon River Salmon Agreement was signed. The Agreement requires bycatch reduction and meeting escapement goals into Canada every year. Since 2002 bycatch has gone up, with over 121,000 Chinook salmon killed in the pollock fishery in one year!

The Chinook salmon that die each year in pollock nets would make a huge difference in the life and wellbeing of hundreds of rural Alaskan families in coming years. In these hard times for our communities and our Chinook salmon runs, every single salmon makes a difference.

Please join us in our effort to protect the Chinook salmon that Alaska’s Native peoples depend upon. Send a comment to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council asking them to protect salmon from pollock fishing bycatch.

They will be accepting written comments for consideration until March 25. You can also provide comments in person at the meeting in Anchorage, April 1-7. Please take a moment to request the bycatch cap be set at 32,500 for Chinook salmon.

Key points to include in comments are:

• The importance of Chinook salmon to you and the people of your region for subsistence and/or commercial fisheries;
• The impacts recent years of low Chinook runs have had on you, your family and your community;
• The Council and NMFS should adopt a hard cap of no more than 32,500 Chinook salmon immediately to protect Western Alaska Chinook salmon.

You can submit written comments to the Council.

Send to: North Pacific Fishery Management Council
605 West 4 Avenue,
Suite 306
Anchorage, AK 99501-2252
Fax: (907) 271-2817

One Response to “Don’t make us do this! Cap bycatch at 32,500”

  1. Mark Springer Says:

    Excellent post, and a very critical issue.
    You might want to also address the nexus between our CDQ companies and the salmon bycatch issue. Their comments to the Draft bycatch EIS shed a little light on their own thinking on the matter and are well worth reading.

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