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Fish Factor Project: Limited Entry

my comments

New study out on what's happened to our missing younger fishermen.

"Pacific Fishing" reporter, Laine Welch, in July 2016 issue summarizes a recent study (Jennifer Meredith, Univ of Wash.) that shows the troubling side of 1975 'limited permitting", which spread from AK and the Northwest to cover all of our coasts. (See her article also here at Alaska Journal)

The Limited Entry Permit protected Alaskan salmon fishermen from a flood of boats north for a time, but the ugly side gradually came out: the loss of boats from the smallest fishing communities, and the youth, who couldn't afford the inflating cost of the permits, along with them--lost to fishing, lost to their little home ports. Welch quotes the effects on the Bristol Bay salmon fleets (no surprise to those in the industry) as an example: of the original 1372 permits awarded to BB residents in 1975, by 2007 "735 permits remained under local ownership."

   I have a chapter on this dynamic in my book "Rough Waters" (Far Eastern Press, 2015) with my trolling cousin describing the effects he saw in the Northwest. He had no trouble getting a limited permit; it was the effect on young would-be fishermen he soon recognized.

   Our federal managers, somehow oblivious to this history, ten years later were promoting IFQ/Catch Share for the federal waters fleets, and sure enough it was Alaskans hurt among the first and most. Local people who fished crab, halibut and groundfish can tell how this strategy, far worse than the LEP, finished the job for their communities and youth.

    The North Pacific Council worked hard to privatize its fisheries faster than any other regional council and get rid of those inefficient smaller boats while at the same time supporting scientific management, and ironically, also developed the CDQ program, geared to help some of the hardest up coastal communities--but far too many got left out.

    Now, (with new blood among its voting members maybe helping?) the Council scrambles to save what's left of non-CDQ local small fisheries off Alaska. I haven't read any official statements from NOAA as to its responsibility for the damage done to them through IFQ. But more and more people, especially Alaskans, are speaking out and getting heard.

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