Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 2:36 PM on Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Conservation of halibut resource should be everyone's burden

Anybody who does not think that area 3A halibut stocks are in jeopardy needs a wake-up call. Unfortunately it seems that many of the local charter fishermen are willing to wait until that call comes as a collapse of a fishery. If there was a book called "The History of Man and Fishing," it would be a sad read. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and the International Pacific Halibut Commission are working hard to reverse this trend and preserve Alaska halibut stocks. I applaud their efforts.

The commercial halibut fleet in area 3A has taken a nearly 50 percent reduction in IFQ pounds over the last six years. Luckily the laws of supply and demand have lessened the impact on the ex-vessel value of the fish. Charter operators should take note of this fact. If there was only one "open seat" in the Homer harbor on July 20th, what do you think it would sell for?

I can't agree more that the catch sharing program will hurt many businesses around Homer in the short term, but it should be seen as a bump in the road to a sustainable halibut fishery. Can I remind the Homer Chamber of Commerce that while Homer may be the "halibut capital of the world," halibut fishing is far from the only thing Homer has going for it.

As a commercial halibut fisherman I am ready and willing to take additional reductions in quota to ensure the sustainability of our halibut fishery. I would ask that charter and sport fisherman also share this burden when our mutual resource is depleted. If we all participate in conservation we can all enjoy the years of plenty.

Kyle Lints