Comments sought on IPHC applicants

The Juneau-based Halibut Coalition is putting out a last-minute call for people to send comments to the International Pacific Halibut Commission regarding the appointment of two commissioners.

At issue is a list of 11 applicants, only four of whom are longliners: Don Lane (incumbent), Linda Behnken, Jeff Kauffman and Dan Hull (applying as alternate only). Bob King (former fish advisor to former Sen. Mark Begich, KDLG news reporter in Dillingham and a long-time fisheries historian) has also applied.

The remainder of the applicants represent the trawl sector, sport sector or are unknown to the longline sector.

The sport applicants are Doug Vincent-Lang, Karl Johnstone and Richard Yamada. Stephanie Madsen, executive director of the At-sea Processors Association which represents trawlers, has also applied. The final applicant, Hunter Harrison Mann-Dempster, is of unknown affiliation. The Halibut Coalition urges fishermen to write in support of the longliners, and indicate any preference among the four.

The coalition emphasizes that the longline industry has been a careful steward of the resource, even before the IPHC was founded in 1923, and is best positioned to advocate for this historic fishery. The coalition notes that longliners have a historical dependence on the fishery.

The deadline is Friday. Email comments to: IPHC2015comments@noaa.gov.

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Federal fisheries managers took final action at their October meeting in Anchorage to assure a minimum delivery of 5,000 metric tons of Pacific cod to shore plants in the Aleutian Islands, a move proponents said was needed for economic survival, according to Fishermen’s News.

The move was directed at a moth-balled fish processing plant in Adak, in hopes of getting it re-opened. 

It contains provisions to remove the restrictions on delivery of non-CDQ P-Cod to plants west of 170 degrees longitude if the fish are not delivered in a timely manner.

Fisheries politics veteran Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove, a consultant for the Aleut Enterprise Corp., and Dave Fraser, of the Adak Community Development Corp., applauded the council’s action. “We were very pleased,” Fraser said. 

“If they had done it earlier, we’d still have a fish plant at Adak,” Tillion said, but seven years late, the action was still welcomed, he said. “It will take months to get through the federal bureaucracy, but we can start planning,” he said. “It will be in effect by next year.”

There is also a small plant in Atka that would benefit from the move.

Cristy Fry can be reached at realist468@gmail.com

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