Friday, December 02, 2005

Aleutians East Borough opposes processor quotas

This is right from the Aleutians East Borough web site and makes it official that they oppose processor quota shares.

(Bob Juettner wrote me: "The Senate will do its markup on the bill on December 15th! Any help and input people make now will be timely. We are striving for two things: no obligatory relationships between fishermen and processors and a double referendum on any rationalization plan. You need a majority of the affected parties for a council to start a plan; you need a majority of the affected parties to approve it when it is done.")

To whit:

Calling competition among seafood processors a cornerstone to maintaining economically viable fishing communities, the Aleutians East Borough assembly last week officially opposed processor quota shares.

“Processor quota shares are contrary to one of the guiding principles of Alaska’s history, that of promoting the independence of Alaska’s commercial fisherpeople by insuring that processors could not hold Limited Entry Permits after banning fish traps,” reads the resolution.

The resolution was drafted as harvesters and fishing communities around the country prepare for a pair of events that could have a profound effect on coastal communities—reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and consideration of a fisheries management plan for the Gulf of Alaska by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

Many fear that language in the reauthorization will encourage processor quota shares, or a guaranteed portion of the harvest to existing processors. Granting quota shares to processors locks competitors out, giving a balance of power to the processors over individual fishermen and local families, according to local harvesters.

“In a rush to make the processors happy, we’re leaving out the skippers and crew,” said Aleutians East Borough Natural Resources Director Beth Stewart. “Our towns have one processor each, leaving our families and residents nowhere else to go.”

The State of Alaska is currently taking public comment on reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens act. A stakeholder’s meeting will be held in Girdwood October 14, 2005 on the issue.


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