Ocean FAD Articles > Pacific Fisheries Management Council, 2013

OceanFAD request to the PFMC to ban driftnets in California
16 Mar 2013

         

                                                                                                                     Agenda I. 2. C
                                                                                                                  Public comment
                                                                                                                   March 2013
 
Captain John Harder
F/V OCEAN JOY
P O Box 2463 
Monterey CA. 93942
John-boy@sustainabletuna.com
 
RE: Swordfish Management report on potential changes to the turtle conservation area and take limits
 
TO: Pacific Fisheries Management Council
Dear council members and to whom it may concern,
I am not shocked to hear, but saddened, that NMFS would have the nerve to ask for more fishing area allocated to such a profoundly destructive fishery. I thought it was clearly stated last year to end this fishery. To find an sustainable alternative method of fishing Swordfish such as buoy gear, or promote the harpoon fishery that is free of by catch.
 
NMFS’s continued attempts to modify this fishery is a great example of how our government authority sides with the industry instead of acting to protect our ocean environment. This is a no brainier. It was common sense 30 years ago. This fishery never should have started, being there was a viable, sustainable, fishery in use. The harpoon fishery has been around for years & years. Go back to that!
 
California, join with Oregon & Washington with a BAN on driftnets! Why should you be any different? Unite us please. Show the world that you can be environmentally sound too. The whole world is looking at you. Don’t be foolish. This is shameful…
 
The tuna purse seine fleet must have 100% observers. Driftnets are far more harmful than purse seines. They have nice cameras for cheep these days…
 
Please council, I beg of you, demand that NMFS end this fishery here and now. That not one more whale be killed on our coast by driftnets. That not one more dolphin be killed, ever again, by a net on our coast. Most of all, that not 1 more turtle will ever be killed in a driftnet. Please tell the NMFS to come clean! Do not blemish the name, SUSTAINABLE. It’s time to turn the tide & think SUSTAINABLE.
 
Thank you for the moment of your time. 
I hope and pray you do the right thing.
Regards, John-boy
 
 
 
 
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   
 
                                                                                                                   Agenda Item I. 3. C
                                                                                                                  Public comment
                                                                                                                      March 2013
  
Captain John Harder
F/V OCEAN JOY
P O Box 2463
Monterey, CA. 93942
John-boy@sustainabletuna.com
“The Big Picture”
 
RE: US - Canadian Albacore Treaty
TO: Pacific Fisheries Management Council
 
Dear Council members, my name is John Harder & I am a long time albacore fisherman with lots of history as it is my heritage…
I ask you to step out of the box for just a few moments and take a serious look at the overall Tuna situation regarding international affairs & our albacore tuna treaty.
 
There is a Tuna Treaty called the South Pacific Tuna Treaty (SPTT) that is also being renegotiated, and in trouble. This Tuna treaty started in 1988 and allowed 40 US Super Purse Seine Tuna vessels access to all Pacific Island nation’s waters for 21 million dollars for rent and aid. This seems like a lot of money but is only a drop in the bucket compared to what other nations pay for the rights to fish in territorial waters of the Island nations. This was a great advantage to the US tuna seine vessels as they could go from one country to the next without having to stop fishing. This also allowed tuna caught in foreign waters full access to the US markets bearing our US brand names, and the “dolphin safe” label. None of these purse seine vessels target Albacore tuna.
 
In 1982, a group of 18 Island nations formed Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) to help develop and promote local fisheries. By 1990’s the PNA fisheries were facing collapse of two out of four major tuna species, Big-eye & yellowfin. Early efforts to control fish catches in the 1990s by limiting the number of fishing vessels were in vain as the vessels got larger & the size of nets increased with production.
 
In 2007, the PNA developed a new strategy to combat over fishing by establishing the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS). Each PNA member receives a fixed number of fishing days according to its share of biomass of tuna. Each member can reserve the days for its domestic fisheries, or sell them to outside fishing nations. Over all this VDS conservation measure has been largely successful & in 2012 received a sustainable certification from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The PNA is now the largest sustainable tuna fishery in the world.
 
In May, 2011, Papua New Guinea announced it was giving 1 years notice to withdraw from the treaty. 18 parties have scrambled to give new life to the agreement.
 
The biggest problem with the SPTT treaty is that it has not adopted the FDS and seems stuck on capping number of US vessels at 40. The Pacific Islands rightfully complain that the system could contribute to over fishing. The US purse seine fleet has dwindled to 14 registered vessels, but the US has made the controversial decision to allow 25 Taiwanese vessels to purchase the right to use the US as a “flag of convenience” in order to get around the FDS. This is not in the best interest of conservation!
 
Another problem is about the money. As everything is now equated to “fishing days”, US pays $1,800 per fishing day under the FDS witch comes from the 21 million dollars. This sum is greatly undervalued compared to the $6,050 per day paid by Japan. The imbalance is magnified because US ships can follow the fish across international borders. In recent talks, US offered 58 million dollars for 9,000 fishing days but the Island nations want 60 million dollars for 7,000 fishing days…
 
Even though this treaty says nothing about albacore tuna, albacore tuna is the leading seller of tuna in our US market today. US purse seine vessels do not target albacore tuna. 99.9% of all albacore sold in the US under US major brands comes from foreign countries that benefit by this treaty. The Major US brands, “Chicken of the Sea”, “Starkist”, and “Bumble Bee Tuna” are now owned by foreign countries. One of these countries being Canada. These brands have stopped buying any major amount of albacore tuna from local US fishermen since 1985.This is in direct competition to our US albacore fisheries and forces us US albacore fishermen to market our fish on our own & in foreign countries like Europe.
 
On the other side of the spectrum, after the United Nations requested a BAN on driftnets in international waters in 1989, US joined up with 4 other nations to form the Northern Comity (NC). The NC formed a task force to stop this destructive method of fishing. The only draw back was that the NC did not use enforcement equally between the catching of Salmon as to the catching of Albacore, making the latter a lesser crime and therefore not to seize the offending vessels, or press charges against the offenders with albacore, but to simply release them to their flag state authorities. The US then entered negotiations with China, the leading known offending nation, to make up a “moratorium” on driftnets. As it stands today, this moratorium continues, and has not deterred the IUU driftnets from fishing for albacore tuna. This “moratorium has killed our US & Canadian “off shore” fishery…
 
The US department of state, threw international treaties, and agreements, have taken away our US markets, & our fish.
 
Council members, please send a strong message to our US department of State to make a treaty that will benefit the US albacore fishermen like the SPTT does for our US purse seine vessels. Compensation, subsidies, & proper protection is needed for our off shore albacore fleet. If the main goal in the US & Canada albacore treaty was to promote sustainable fishing (MSC), as both nations share this new eco-label instead of trying to figure out the number of vessels allowed to fish inside the EEZ’s, there would be unity instead of division.
 
I hope I have made the intentions of the US dep. Of states clear. It is to benefit other nations, as international trade is for the industry that is abroad, and only takes away from our local economy and fishermen.
 
It is urgent that we stand together to support sustainable fishing! We have the MSC label. It is the best option available and should not be criticized, but honored!! Save the criticism for the “dolphin safe” standard, as it must be replaced.
 
If there is Canadian vessels fishing in US waters this year of 2013 without some kind of “off-shore” aid for both US and Canadian vessels, there will not be peace on the water front! I hope I have made myself clear.
 
Thank you for your time and attention in this matter.
Regards, John-boy
 
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John Harder