Saturday, February 13, 2010

NMFS decides 100 M lbs isn't worth worrying about

IPHC's Steve Hare strikes out in 3-straight pitches at NPFMC meting in Portland
Sat, February 13, 2010 7:41:27 AM
Tom Casey
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Cc: Gary Painter

IPHC's chief scientist, Steve Hare, who told the halibut processors at January's IPHC annual meeting in Seattle that over 100-million pounds of "un-accounted-for-GOA trawl halibut bycatch" is missing from the IPHC's halibut abundance estimates these past 4-years, STRUCK OUT in three straight pitches at this week's NPFMC meeting.

STRIKE 1: The Council's industry Advisory Panel (AP) voted 11-7 NOT to investigate Steve's conviction. "Case Closed!" as far as they're concerned.

STRIKE 2: The Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) never even took up Hare's concern, even though IPHC has a permanent voting-member on the SSC. What up (as they say in the 'hood) on that? IPHC Executive Director Bruce Leaman is as vigilant as they come. How'd that one get by him and his man on the SSC?

STRIKE 3: Even after public testimony (Finally, thank God!), the NPFMC, itself, decided (as of Friday close of business) to IGNORE Steve Hare's conviction and DISMISS it as mere hearsay, NOT credible enough to cause any serious, scientific review at this time. So the ADFG Commissioner (Denby) , the NMFS Alaska Regional Director (Doug), all 3-Washington State voting members (Bill, Dave and John), representing the dominant sector of the Pacific halibut fleet, and even the voting-members from Homer (Sam) and Kodiak (Duncan), the two largest halibut ports on Planet Earth, simply blew-off Steve Hare's best attempt to explain the 100-million pound halibut "deficit" as a routine math error, I suppose. I mean, we all make them, right? What's the Big Deal anyway? Maybe Steve just misplaced a decimal point or 2 or 3. Things like that happen. You know?

Anyway, here's where the rubber meets the road, though. Alaska Governor Sean, who, recent polls show, is very likely to be re-elected (based on his current, over 2-1 voter approval ratings) in November, has chosen to run in Alaska's coastal communities on a "Maximize bycatch reduction in 2010" platform this year. Will Governor Sean take Steve Hare seriously or kick him to the curb as the NPFMC did this week in Portland? As I told you in January, I don't believe Governor Sean is that easy to bullshit or lead down a primrose path. I'll give you 2:1.

But, we must be harshly realistic. The GOA trawlers (Julie and Al) won HANDS-DOWN this week and halibut long-liners and sports fishermen lost their asses. Don't shoot the messenger, namely me, please. Maybe Arnie Fugulvog will get Lisa to intervene some how. He's never shown any fondness for a swift kick in the chops before (him and his Dad being halibut long-liners, themselves) and Lisa's way up there now in the U.S. Senate's Republican hierarchy, appearing on CNN, MSNBC and FOX almost every day now.

So, don't scuttle the ship yet. Maybe it's a twilight double-header we're playing here and we'll take the nightcap under the lights. Who knows? Just don't bet the farm on it yet. I wouldn't.

P.S. Forgive my vanity, please, but has it occurred to you that Lisa hasn't aged a single, goddamn day since her election to the Senate, while my hair keeps falling out like those curly, pink, polyethylene fibers on a cheap, Value Village bathroom rug? What up on that one, too? That girl's a genuine "Babe," with deference and respect for her intellect, judgement and her professional office. She knocks me on my ass. Seriously. Always has. Anyway. Whatever. You catch any kings off Chiniak lately or are you stuck on the beach cause Captain Courageous, Gunnar, is still chasing senioritas down in Argentina? Get a freakin' life, Wilhelm. This is pathetic. I remember when you used to be cutting-edge. Hell, I remember when I used to be cutting-edge. Nevermind. Call me when you lose your grip on the Crown bottle and give Huckins a generous ration of shit for me, as well. He deserves it! Call Denby, too. I'm sure he'll welcome your "input." He got hitched in December, you know. Laurie's got his ears pinned-back already, as far as I can tell. Ain't that just peachy? Anyway, adios.


P.S. What'd the Modoc say? Did he come up to Newport or did you go down there? We still have to exorcise him this year. Yes?

On another note, the intrepid Alaska Governor, Sean Parnell, decided that the crewmen aren't worth worrying about either. One commentator said that the official state statistics have that there are only three, (yes 3) crewmen in the anchor Gulf of Alaska community of Kodiak. Not a good way to get support for the many hundreds of crewmen there who got left out when 'catch shares' were passed out. Just officially pretend they don't exist, then their rights and role in Alaska society can be trivialized for the benefit of a few who will yield campaign contributions. Thanks for nothing, Sean.

This commentator intends to bring up the issue at about election time this fall. Right at the last week before the election when things stick in voters' minds. And I reckon I'll bring up the issue of the 'Alaska contingent' on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council not demanding an official investigation of the missing 100 million lbs of halibut. You gotta realize that this has been going on a lot longer than just the last four years too. And that it isn't just halibut, but tanner crab, king salmon, chum salmon, herring, squid, and unknown number of lesser species. A price tag on the lost economic value of this by-catch to the North Pacific economy? In the billions of dollars. This is not chump change. Stop protecting the villains, Sean. Unless you want to be labeled one yourself.