When Groundfish Forum was formed in 1996, harvests of yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, Pacific cod, and other groundfish species fell far short of the amount managers and biologists set as sustainable fishing limits. This occurred because the Head and Gut (H&G) sector caught the incidental catch limit of halibut or crab before the target quota was taken. To combat this issue, Groundfish Forum began working to develop methods of reducing incidental catches of prohibited species so that more of the target species could be harvested. Our bycatch reduction projects resulted in improved harvests and longer fishing seasons for the trawl fleet. This resulted in literally hundreds of thousands of metric tons of flatfish and other groundfish left unharvested annually. For instance, for the very first time ever, instead of being closed early for halibut bycatch, the industry caught the entire yellowfin sole catch quota in 1997.
Groundfish Forum also developed methods of avoidance of low-valued species so that discards were reduced. In addition, Groundfish Forum worked with regulators to answer questions on the effects of fishing gear on habitat and the transition to ecosystem management. Groundfish Forum’s ability to be effective and to devote resources to improvements on fishing methods depended on funding from both Member and Associate Member companies. The funding by Associate Member vendor companies was used to increase our efforts and in turn, paid large dividends back to those companies through longer and more prosperous fishing seasons and economic health in the fishing industry.
Since the H&G fleet became rationalized in 2008 under Amendment 80, Groundfish Forum’s mission is to inform state and local government officials of the contributions made by the H&G fleet to the economies of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. It has been critical that officials in the Pacific Northwest, especially Alaska, recognize the magnitude of the economic impact generated by our industry to also understand the potential loss of jobs, revenue, and the ripple effects on service and public sectors if forces controlling the fishery management system continue to promulgate regulations that needlessly attack our sector. Groundfish Forum also recognizes the importance of resource conservation and continues to keep an open approach to working with regulators, government officials, and the public in order to keep our industry economically viable.
The Groundfish Forum would like to invite all vendor and service sector companies who depend on or support the Amendment 80 sector to join our Associate Member Program. Associate Members will receive a list of Groundfish Forum Members and contact personnel, as well as summaries of North Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings describing Council decisions affecting our industry. Groundfish Forum also sponsors an annual Associate Member party which provides an opportunity for Associate Members to meet with Members to socialize and discuss issues affecting the industry. Annual dues are $550 per year.
If you are interested in joining our Associate Member Program, please fill out the form fields below.
Contributions or gifts to Groundfish Forum, Inc. are not tax deductible as charitable contributions. However, they may be tax deductible as ordinary and necessary business expenses.
Thanks in advance for joining our Associate Member Program.
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