From: UFA Julianne Curry <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: February 16, 2014, 8:33:32 PM AKST To: Jerry McCune <jmccune59@hotmail.
com>, email@example.com Cc: Mark Vinsel <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: FW: Termination of the Weathervane Scallop Fishery Limited Entry Program Reply-To: email@example.com UFA Board, The following email was sent to the members of the Free Conference Committee, the entire legislature, and Governor Parnell. The UFA Executive Committee has a draft press release ready to send based on the decision of the Free Conference Committee. It is highly probable (we are estimating about 99.9% certainty) that scallops will be stripped out of HB 71 which will leave the hair crab limited entry program intact. This means that the scallop limited entry program will be eliminated unless we can find another way to pass the bill this session. The scallop permit will be the first limited entry permit to ever be eliminated in the 41 year history of the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC). “Hair crab / scallop fishery renewal, removal of sunset” is one of UFA’s priorities. If you have any questions about the scallop program, UFA board member Jim Stone of the Alaska Scallop Association would be happy to answer them. UFA President Jerry McCune and I are also available to answer legislative questions about the complicated scallop issue. We will give a detailed synopsis of this action at the upcoming UFA meeting. Julianne From: UFA Julianne Curry [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Sunday, February 16, 2014 8:05 PM To: Representative.Mike.Hawker@akleg.gov; Representative.Kurt.Olson@akleg.gov; Representative.Andrew.Josephson@akleg.gov; Sen.Bill.Wielechowski@akleg.gov; 'Sen. Cathy Giessel'; Sen.Mike.Dunleavy@akleg.gov Cc: email@example.com; Jerry McCune; Julianne Curry Subject: Termination of the Weathervane Scallop Fishery Limited Entry Program ATTACHED: UFA resolution of support for the weathervane scallop and Bering Sea hair crab limited entry program. Other letters of support can be found at http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_documents.asp?session=28&bill=SB54. RE: Termination of the weathervane scallop fishery limited entry program. Members of the Free Conference Committee on HB 71, You are currently preparing to discuss issues surrounding the passage of HB 71 which includes
the continuation of the limited entry program for the weathervane scallop fishery and the Bering Sea hair crab fishery. The continuation of the vessel-based limited entry program for scallops and hair crab was attached to HB 71 due to the stand-alone bill HB 156 being stalled in the House Fisheries Committee. In addition to HB 156 being stalled in House Fisheries, the Senate version of the bill SB 54 is also stalled in House Fisheries after sailing through the Senate side in 2013 on a vote of 18 to 1 (with one excused member). First established in 2002 by the state legislature and then extended in 2008, the limited entry program for the weathervane scallop fishery and the Bering Sea hair crab fishery is currently facing a third renewal. The previous open access fishery was unsustainable, unmanageable and did not have a large enough scallop biomass to support the influx of vessels participating in the fishery. The establishment of these permits passed both bodies in 2002 and the continuation of these permits in 2008 passed both bodies with overwhelming support. The establishment of these permits was passed on a vote of 18 to 2 on the Senate side and 31 to 7 on the House side in 2002. In 2008 the stand alone bill to continue the scallop and hair crab fishery permits was stalled in committee by the same chair that is currently holding HB 156 and SB 54. After being joined with the ARDORS bill in 2008, the scallop and hair crab limited entry program was extended with a 17 to 2 vote in the Senate and a 35 to 4 vote in the House. If the scallop limited entry program is divested from HB 71, then that limited entry program ceases to exist unless HB 156 or SB 54 are passed out of House Fisheries and then pass both bodies this session. Without passage, the scallop permit will be the first limited entry permit that has been eliminated in the 41 year history of the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC). We ask that you consider the impacts of this action prior to voting. UFA strongly supports the continuation of both the scallop and hair crab vessel based limited entry program. The reasons for the development of a vessel based limited entry program are as valid today as they were in 2002 and 2008. Background on the scallop fishery: In Alaska there are 9 scallop vessels that have (or had) Federal and/or State scallop permits. In an effort to ensure the continued sustainability of the scallop stocks, ADF&G has systematically and conservatively cut the harvest to nearly 1/5th of what it was at the scallop peak in 1992. In order to economically survive these huge cuts, 6 of the vessels joined together forming a voluntary coop in the year 2000 and now currently fish 3 vessels as partners. The other 3 vessels that elected to stay outside of the coop have come in and out of the fishery (normally one at a time) year to year depending on economics and try to make a go of it in these years of low harvests. Total vessels typically fishing these reduced quotas in the last ten years is 4. Scallop harvest levels are so low that simple economics will not allow more vessels to harvest. The three vessels that currently fish inside the cooperative are owned by six fishermen via three LLC partnerships. No one natural person owns more than 65% of these vessels in total or more than 25% of a single vessel. The scallop vessels in the cooperative have all partnered with each other to survive these extremely reduced levels that managers have decided is safe to harvest
sustainably. The Alaskan weathervane scallop beds that are commercially harvested are spread sparsely over 1,200 miles from Yakutat to Dutch Harbor. Approximately 15% of these beds are in State waters and 85% in Federal waters. All scallop vessels carry 100% observers that monitor all catch of scallop and crab and report daily to ADF&G. This observer program is fully funded and paid for by the scallop vessels that participate in this fishery. Management is so effective with the development of the cooperative fishing and observers that these fishing areas are frequently closed within 50 pounds of their quotas being reached. This level of management accuracy is unheard of in any other fishery. Most scallop areas in Alaska also have very restrictive crab bycatch caps, if these small crab caps are reached the entire area is closed to all scallop fishing. The vessels working together via the cooperative are able to avoid areas of crab bycatch in order to maximize the available scallop quota set by ADF&G. The scallop vessels working together in Alaska have been able to market and self-promote their weathervane scallops to the culinary world. The scallops harvested in Alaska’s weathervane fishery are fast becoming highly prized for their exemplary sweetness both worldwide and locally here in Alaska. This self-financed effort has helped in a near doubling of the price per pound of Alaska Weathervane scallops in the past decade. By terminating the limited entry program for scallop permits, the fishery is now open access. This means that additional vessels may enter the fishery without the same regard to stewardship, product quality, or sustainability of the current scallop fishery. The carefully managed scallop quotas may be caught so quickly that the fishery is no longer viable which will force some out of business and threatens Alaska’s sustainable fisheries reputation. A limited entry program is the basis for stability in the fishing industry. Resource abundance constantly fluctuates, market value and demand changes frequently, weather delays fishing time, and breakdowns mean loss of fishing time. Any additional stability that can be provided may help a fishing business survive. Thank you for your time and attention to this important issue. Feel free to contact us if you need any further information. Jerry McCune, President Julianne Curry, Executive Director United Fishermen of Alaska http://www.ufa-fish.org
UFA MISSION To promote and protect the common interest of Alaska's commercial fishing industry, as a vital component of Alaska's social and economic well-being.
Resolution 2013-02 Support Scallop Hair Crab fishery 02.22.13.pdf 138K