Representative Sarah Vance House District 31
To: North Pacific Fishery Management Council
RE: Agenda Item – C2 BSAI Halibut abundance-based management (ABM)
November 30th, 2021
Dear Chairman Kinneen and Members of the Council,
Never before have Alaskans from all regions come together to support council action to protect our fisheries and communities in this way. Alaska is famous for its bountiful resources and sustainable stewardship of abundant fisheries. We represent Alaskans across regions and communities of the state who have compelled us to strongly support Alternative 4 in the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Abundance-Based Management (ABM) of Halibut Bycatch action.
One of the most iconic and valuable of our resources – Pacific halibut – is facing a crisis that threatens the way of life for commercial, subsistence and sport halibut fishermen, and the economic driver for communities of coastal Alaska. Alternative 4 is the only choice that would provide meaningful benefit to the State’s halibut fisheries and halibut-dependent communities.
Meaningful abundance-based management creates badly needed conservation incentives. These incentives are lost entirely under the current non-constraining prohibited species catch (PSC) limits because the Amendment 80 fleet feels no effects at times of low abundance—and has no incentive to reduce halibut mortality or take steps to conserve halibut—because the impacts of low abundance are felt entirely on halibut commercial, subsistence and sport fishermen. Equitable management of halibut bycatch ultimately fulfills social and ecosystem priorities that impact our fishery for generations.
As a bipartisan group of state legislators, we ask the Council to uphold the principles of wise resource management and to protect the fisheries that benefit the people of Alaska. It is imperative the Council take steps to restore equity for Alaskans and Alaskan businesses in the harvest of these critical resources by implementing Alternative 4.
Representative Sarah Vance
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins
Other Representatives include: