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OPINION: "Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics” -Mark Twain

On one point we agree with Mr. Dennis Moran of Fishermen’s Finest: inadequate cuts to halibut bycatch will not solve the ecological, economic or cultural devastation associated with bycatch, which in the Bering Sea includes halibut, salmon, crab, herring, sablefish and other species important to the ecosystem and to the fishing communities of Alaska. 

The bottom trawl (Amendment 80) fleet is the largest user of halibut as bycatch, which is otherwise known as Prohibited Species Catch and by law must be avoided. If caught, it must be thrown overboard. We don’t reward ...

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OPINION: Let’s At Least Try to Solve the Halibut Problems

“If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”- Zen Master or maybe Mark Twain.

As we get close to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s final action cutting the Amendment 80 sector’s halibut - yet again - we should pause and reflect on what this will accomplish. There are problems with halibut management, to be sure. The Pribilof Island community-based fleet needs bigger halibut allocations in times of low abundance. There is too much waste in the groundfish fleets forced by crushingly outdated regulations. Let’s try  ...

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OPINION: How to Advance Canada’s Wild-capture Fisheries Sector

During the current federal election, Canadians will be discussing and debating the merits of voting for one party or another. One broad topic that has been debated for generations is how to advance Canada’s wild-capture fisheries sector.

First, let’s start with stating the obvious. Seafood production is at the core of the blue economy for Canada, representing 90,000 jobs and $9 billion in GDP. The sector fuels the livelihood of the majority of Canadian coastal communities, and there is no other sector that is as renewable and stable...

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OPINION: Modern Misinformation, Pseudo-science and the Games “Scientists” Play

“Pseudoscience.” A collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.

Today I came across an interesting piece of pseudo-science written by a “Campaign Manager/Scientist” of a Big Enviro group (Oceana). He starts the piece by claiming to be a just “browsing the Fisheries Service database, ruminating about bycatch.” Right, the Big Enviro campaign manager was “just browsing.” The truth that is he was mining government records for data he could cherry pick to support a carefully drafted hit piece on a Big Enviro ...

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Opinion: Public Has Right to Want NPFMC, NMFS Manage Trawl Sector Better and Reduce Bycatch

Fishery management discussions are often complex, with acronyms and jargon that can cloud the conversation. Real-world outcomes of fishery decisions, however, are easier to understand and many members of the public are frustrated with the results. Take, for example, the following issues associated with industrial trawling in Alaska.  Any one of these could raise the ire of those who appreciate Alaska’s ocean ecosystems and rely on fish for their livelihoods or to fill their freezers:

  • Tanner crab fisheries remain closed off Kodiak, while ...

 

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Statement from Maine’s Fishing Community on Offshore Wind Development

Editor's Note: This opinion piece is written on behalf of Patrice McCarron, Maine Lobstermen's Association; Ben Martens, Maine Coast Fishermen's Association; Annie Tselikis, Maine Lobster Dealers Association; Rocky Alley, Maine Lobstering Union; Paul Anderson, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries; and Sheila Dassatt, Downeast Lobstermen's Association

Maine fishermen are deeply committed to clean energy and protecting the environment. We draw our livelihoods from the ocean and recognize the fragility of our shared marine environment. Maine fishermen understand and support the need to develop clean renewable energy sources, but do not share the...

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Opinion: Wrong Again, Oceana

In my role as Fishery Science Project Director for the Alaska Seafood Cooperative since 2008 I have worked with fishery managers, fishery scientists, and fishermen to find ways to reduce trawl bycatch and modify bottom trawl gear to reduce seafloor impacts. During my tenure, the Amendment 80 fleet has made significant progress on both of these fronts through longstanding participation in collaborative, peer-reviewed research, and steadfast commitment to deploying new fishing gear, new fishing methods, and new fishing technology borne out of this research.

Last week’s piece by Oceana is misleading and designed to mischaracterize ...

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OPINION: Modern Misinformation, Pseudo-science and the Games “Scientists” Play

“Pseudoscience.” A collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.

Today I came across an interesting piece of pseudo-science written by a “Campaign Manager/Scientist” of a Big Enviro group (Oceana). He starts the piece by claiming to be a just “browsing the Fisheries Service database, ruminating about bycatch.” Right, the Big Enviro campaign manager was “just browsing.” The truth that is he was mining government records for data he could cherry pick to support a carefully drafted hit piece on a Big Enviro ...

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OPINION: Trawling Costs Outweigh the Benefits, and Alaskans are Paying the Price

Late senator Ted Stevens was so disgusted by the wasteful bycatch of the trawl fleet in Alaska that he inserted a confidentiality exemption in his federal fisheries act that allows the National Marine Fisheries Service to publish the bycatch rates of halibut, salmon, and crab of individual trawling vessels. The thinking was that peer pressure and public shaming could instigate trawlers to be more mindful of avoiding bycatch. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working and some trawlers are even asking for more. 

I was browsing this Fisheries ...

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BC Salmon Farmers Association’s Youth Council Pens Letter to PM Regarding Discovery Island Farms

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau;

The BC Salmon Farmers Association’s Youth Council is reaching out to you today regarding Minister Bernadette Jordan’s announcement on the closure of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands, on December 17th, 2020 – putting potentially 1,500 families in limbo. The BCSFA Youth Council is comprised of and represents young professionals under 35 working across the value chain of salmon aquaculture in British Columbia, and we are concerned for our future.

Just before Christmas, Minister Jordan announced...

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The Winding Glass: How Last Night’s Muddled Election May Impact our Industry

[The Winding Glass is an opinion and commentary column by John Sackton, Founder of SeafoodNews]

I admit to wearing rose colored glasses. I thought yesterday would lead to a clear Biden win, a reset of our national conversation, and a new commitment to serious fiscal stimulus, aid to states, and governance by science.

This is roughly the type of policy we have seen in countries who have controlled the pandemic, and now have growing economies:  China, S. Korea, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Vietnam, for example. It is not what we are seeing in Europe or the U.S.

After last night, I no longer think we will see much change...

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