Commercial fleet has faced hard quotas before

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2007

It is interesting to hear from the editor of a major Alaskan newspaper calling for a solution to the problem of the unregulated growth and over harvest by the charter halibut sector. It would have been a good thing 10 years ago. The solutions offered now to fix the problem of diminishing stocks were offered then. No one cared 10 years ago except the commercial fleet, which knew it would be the one to ultimately suffer.

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The Empire's comment that a hard quota would be "draconian" to the charter industry, sticks in my craw however, that it would be "death" to the charter fleet. We have been stuck with hard quotas since the advent of individual fishing quotas and it has been financial "death" to some of us. A lot of us lost out to these quotas. We had to target other species, went out of business - or to survive had to mortgage houses to buy shares.

I didn't hear the Juneau Empire call that "draconian."

The qualifying years where a commercial longliner's catch history could count toward IFQs was 1984-1990. IFQs didn't go into effect until 1995.

There were people who had boats and gear invested in the fishery for five years who got zero IFQs. And it wasn't even a sure thing that IFQs were going to happen or be the solution finally decided on by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council because, then, as now, other options were considered.

Mike Saunders


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