Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 3:29 PM on Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fish council to take up bycatch; now is time to speak out on issue

The Homer City Council recently passed a resolution encouraging the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to adopt measures that would reduce halibut bycatch in Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries. The 2,300 metric ton cap on prohibited species has not been adjusted since the 1980s, yet in the last decade, the exploitable biomass of halibut has declined by 50 percent in areas 2C, 3A (Homer), and 3B. For the prohibited species catch limit for the trawl fleet to remain the same while all other user groups suffer is an inequity that must be dealt with.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will vote in early June on this issue at their meeting in Kodiak. It is important that we as stakeholders in this fishery speak out and let the council know we want something done about this waste.

There are many ways to effectively have your voice heard. You could simply write your comments out and fax or mail them to the council. The website is at www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/

New this year is that you may submit your comments via email and the staff will make sure they get included in the meeting packets. The address and fax number is also on the website.

I guess the best way to have your voice heard is to attend the meeting and sign up to testify. Kodiak is beautiful in June and there will be many people there to help you navigate the system and get your testimony written. If you know one or more of the members of the council, a phone call or e-mail to them expressing your outrage of this waste will go a long way. There is contact information on the council website. If you want to talk about this, call me.

Pete Wedin