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Halibut, Sablefish and other fixed-gear commercial fishing

Seattle's Halibut/Sablefish Community Challenges Claim of Outflow of Alaska's Fishing Rights

In a letter (below) submitted to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, Bob Alverson of the Fishing Vessel Owners' Association challenges the underlying assertions made by the suspect publication Turning the Tide – A Review of Programs and Policies to Address Access Challenges in Alaska’s Fisheries.

Bob Alverson is one of the principal architects of the Halibut/Sablefish Quota Share (QS) program. The quota share program was implemented in the North Pacific Fisheries Halibut/Sablefish fisheries in the mid-90s and essentially provides qualified fishermen a share or portion of the total amount of a particular fish species (i.e. Halibut/Sablefish) that fishermen are allowed to harvest in any given year.

Seattle’s historic Halibut/Sablefish fishing community has been harvesting about half of the permitted harvest of these artisanal fish varieties for years and certain elements from outside the Puget Sound Region have been calling for the end of Seattle’s fishing community’s right to harvest Halibut and Sablefish as it has done for well over 100 years.

In his letter below, Alverson provides salient critique and accurate data regarding the geographic movement of Halibut and Sablefish QS units inside and outside of Alaska.

Alverson rightly points out to the Council that the movement of Halibut/Sablefish Quota Share units is a natural feature of a market economy and despite claims made in Turning the Tide, Halibut/Sablefish quota fished by Alaskans is bucking the trend of Alaskan exodus and is not in fact departing Alaska along with many other of its people and assets.