April 26, 2013
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch. Should Alaska’s largest salmon fleet look into downsizing? I’ll tell you more after this.
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Should Alaska’s largest salmon fleet look into downsizing? That’s the question fishermen are posing in an informal buyback poll mailed to Bristol Bay’s 18-hundred plus driftnet permit holders.
Cut: We are not promoting it. We are wondering if it would be a good deployment of some of our time and effort – to learn more about it and how it might apply to the specifics of our fishery. The point is to learn more about the pros and cons and that is what we would embark upon if that is what our members encourage us to do.
Bob Waldrop is director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, run by the drift fishermen and funded with a one percent tax on their salmon catches. A permit buyback, he says, would retire 300 to 500 boats from the Bay fishery. That would bring things closer in line with the ‘optimum number’ declared nearly a decade ago by the state Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. A 2004 CFEC report
said that between 800 to 1,200 permits would represent a reasonable balance of economic, conservation, and fishery management concerns .
Waldrop says he expects results from the postcard mailer will trickle in over the next month or two.
Cut: There’s no deadline. This isn’t a vote it is just an expression of interest. No one is approving us moving into an advocacy position on this . We are simply looking into it and seeing how it might work in the Bay. 4
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In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.