Story last updated at 4:26 p.m. Thursday, August 15, 2002

Processor quotas not fair
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is recommending to Congress that the Bering Sea crab fisheries be managed under a quota system in which fishermen are allocated individual fishing quotas (IFQs) and seafood processors are awarded individual processor quotas (IPQs) to buy and process the catch.

This system locks fishermen forever to deliver their catch to specific processors.

There is already a strong push from groundfish and salmon processors to get IPQ.

The City of Homer, Seldovia, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Port Graham Corporation and the North Pacific Fisheries Association all passed resolutions opposing IPQ.

More than 100 local individuals have signed an open letter opposing IPQ. Rep. Scalzi was asked to sponsor a resolution opposing IPQ. He refused.

In a June meeting with me, Rep. Scalzi rationalized his refusal saying he did not believe that it was the Legislature's roll to get involved in fish issues.

The state of Alaska was formed around fish issues! The first Alaska Legislature meeting in 1959 enacted Senate Bill 4, which outlawed processor-owned fish traps. Senate Bill 4 released the chokehold that processors had on the resources, communities and independent fishermen. IPQ is a full circle back to territory days.

Independent fishing families should have the right to sell their catch to the buyer of their choice, and it is appropriate for the Legislature to be involved.

The entire Kachemak Bay region would be heavily impacted by IPQs. I strongly urge our representative in Juneau to not only sponsor a resolution in opposition, but to lead the fight against IPQs.

Michael Yourkowski