Halibut Deck Sortin on Track to Deliver Substantial Mortality Improvements This Season

Release of halibut with accelerometer tag, Port Frederick, AK courtesy of Paige Drobny

Seafoodnews.com, December 3, 2015
By John Sackton

Release of halibut with accelerometer tag, Port Frederick, AK courtesy of Paige Drobny

Release of halibut with accelerometer tag, Port Frederick, AK courtesy of Paige Drobny

Halibut deck sorting has helped flatfish catcher-processors reduce halibut bycatch this season. The fleet also used halibut excluders and changed locations to avoid halibut hotspots. The net result is that the flatfish trawl fleet is making progress on its commitment to achieve halibut bycatch reductions…. Continue Reading

O’Hara Corp Christens First New Amendment 80 Vessel in Nearly 30 Years

Araho, O'Hara Corporation's new vessel

undercurrentnews.com, August 11, 2015
By Jeanine Stewart

Araho, O'Hara Corporation's new vessel

Araho, O’Hara Corporation’s new vessel

The O’Hara Corporation christened the first new vessel to join Alaska’s flatfish sector in nearly three decades this summer, marking a major milestone for the aging fleet and sending waves of excitement through the industry.

A video posted on the company’s Facebook page shows the hull of the new vessel — named the Araho — being launched into the water, in time for completion by the Alaska Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands flatfish fishing season’s start in late January. In a rare move, the company had it built on US soil. Eastern Shipbuilding Group constructed the 194-foot freezer trawler at its home-base in Panama City, Florida…. Continue Reading

Halibut Anger Lands on Wrong Target

JuneauEmpire.com [Letters], July 7, 2015
By Lori Swanson

In Tuesday’s ‘My Turn’ feature, Mr. Grutter states that the North Pacific Fishery Management Council halibut bycatch reductions approved in June are a ‘non-action.’ He may be disappointed with the outcome, but the 25 percent reduction imposed on the Amendment 80 sector is an extremely significant action that will have huge effects on fishermen and their families, who are likely to see their incomes and quality of life suffer greatly from this decision. The cuts follow the 25 percent reduction in bycatch already achieved by the Amendment 80 sector through gear innovation and changes in fishing behavior. The additional cuts will require reduced overall harvest…. Continue Reading

Fears Mount Over NPFMC Halibut By-catch Quota Vote

Council’s decision is likely to cost Alaskan jobs

Alaska Business Monthly [Op-Ed], May 19, 2015
By Andrew Murphy

I have been an Alaskan since 1996. I live and work in Dutch Harbor and have built a labor and equipment company providing services to the Amendment 80 vessels. The North Pacific Management Council is meeting in June to decide whether to adjust the Amendment 80 fleet’s allowable halibut by-catch. The Council’s decision is likely to cost Alaskan jobs…. Continue Reading

In Their Own Words: How Both Sides Frame Halibut Bycatch

Halibut Bycatch in Groundfish Fisheries

SEAFOODNEWS.COM, May 5, 2015
By Peggy Parker and John Sackton

Note: Peggy and John come at the halibut bycatch issue from different perspectives and backgrounds. Peggy, in addition to being Science and Sustainability Editor for SeafoodNews, is Executive Director of the Halibut Association of North America, and has been an advisor to the IPHC for many years. John’s background is with trawl fisheries in Alaska, as his first ten years in Alaska involved putting fish processing equipment on board catcher processors. His inclination as Publisher of Seafood News has been to strongly value trawl fisheries. We come at this issue from different backgrounds, as do the industry advocates in Alaska as well. We decided to just be up front about our reporting, and state our perspectives directly as that impacts or influences an article. Continue Reading

Amendment 80 Captain Gives His Take on Halibut Bycatch Issues in 2 Part Op-ed

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Opinion], March 31, 2015
By Bill Hayes (part 1) 

Bill Hayes is captain on the Vaerdal, a 124-foot catcher processor owned by United States Seafoods, one of the larger companies in the Amendment 80 Coop.  As the Council begins working on draft documents about halibut by catch, a number of Amendment 80 Captains have been publicly testifying about their need for halibut and their view of the history of their halibut bycatch allocations.  The Opinion piece below, which we will run in two parts, is based on Bill Hayes’ testimony before the council in January. 

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How Alaska’s Amendment 80 Fleet Has Managed Halibut Bycatch

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Opinion], February 16, 2015
By Capt. TJ Durnan

Folllowing is a letter to the editor by Capt. TJ Durnan, skipper of the the F/V Constellation a member vessel of the Amendment 80 fleet. Capt. Durnan writes about the measures the fleet has taken to reduce its halibut bycatch levels. Capt. Durnan’s letter is in response to some scrutiny the Amendment 80 fleet has faced with the halibut bycatch issue currently before the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. – MRContinue Reading