Fishermen's News - The Advocate for the Commercial Fisherman

From the Fleet

 


When VMS tracks deviate from reported stat areas, GOA trawl violators must get NOVAs –

not friendly insider reminders

To: James W. Balsiger; Ph.D., Regional Administrator, NOAA Fisheries’ NMFS Alaska Region

Enforcement Section, NOAA, Office of General Counsel

Penny Pritzker, Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce

Monday, 18 October, 2016

Dear Sirs & Madame Secretary:

As a local longtime fisherman in the GOA, invested in my F/V North Point and F/V Stormbird who fish GOA halibut, crab, and tender salmon – with a significant investment in vessels, pots, gear and quotas for those grounds – I am gravely concerned when NOAA OLE brushes over violations like that referred to in the unbelievably shocking, and infuriating AGDB advisory below.

When I have even so much as a few pounds over an inflexible quota limit, or were we to have similar logbook versus VMS discrepancies, you can bet I’d receive a NOVA and heavy fine. Why not for the far greater volume hard-on-bottom trawlers and their processors?

When is OLE going to cite these violators & General Counsel prosecute them?

Trawl Fleet and Processors:

Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) called this morning and has expressed concern about the mismatch of reported stat areas for fishing locations and VMS tracks for fishing vessels that are participating in the pollock fishery. OLE has been doing a high level look and have noticed some pretty divergent VMS tracks compared to reported stat areas – in some cases there is no overlap at all of the two data sources. Correct reporting is required per regulation. OLE is requesting that the fleet and processors correct this problem immediately.

Please call the office or OLE if you have any questions or concerns.

Alaska Groundfish Data Bank

Kodiak, AK

We once had a very small poundage infraction by F/V Stormbird, which resulted in a substantial fine. Yet, serious violators shaved millions of dollars off the largest NOVAs in NOAA’s history. Can you even begin to imagine how upsetting this situation is? The trawlers getting away with this are the very ones who wantonly waste our crab and halibut and other non-trawl species as they roam wherever they desire to plow the ocean’s bottom with total disregard.

It is time you also investigate AGDB’s conflicts of interest; and whether or not they truly conform to the Data/Information Quality Act under Pub.L. 106-554 – Commerce’s agreement version – or find another, trustworthy, independent third-party to comply.

Ludger W. Dochtermann

Captain/Owner

F/V Stormbird, F/V North Point

Kodiak, AK

 
 

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