Alaska Crab Captains & Crews: Contracts Not Legally Binding?

North Pacific Fishery Management Council
206th Plenary Session – December 5-13, 2011
Anchorage Hilton Hotel

Public Comment (12/10/2011) by Stephen Taufen, Kodiak AK
C-4 BSAI Crab Stakeholder reports (5-year review issues)
(a) Crew compensation/active participation/excessive lease rates.

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SEC Complaint on Catch Shares revealed by Groundswell

Sometimes, I feel like a Ratz...

 Many true harvesters and participants (not the mailbox fishermen) in the fishing industry have expressed their concerns about the ‘asset commoditization’ of fish species, or Catch Share programs that create tradeable quota shares, owned by private individuals or institutions.

For the first time, a redacted copy of Groundswell’s formal complaint filed with the SEC on August 5, 2009 is made public.  SEC_FormalCOMPLAINT_Taufen80509{Jan2011}
This complaint was subsequent to discussions that began earlier, as we were preparing diagrams about the Ponzi-like schemes in Alaska’s Crab Rationalization program, involving the Community Development Quota entities’ banking/financing role in securing quota rights, tax exempt in some cases. 

Alaska Democratic Party 2010 platform recognizes fishery crewmember rights

May 7-9, 2010 – The Alaska Democratic Party held its 2010 State Convention in Sitka, Alaska  The following items were included on the Party Platform, just released.  You can visit the official website at

North Pacific Fisheries:  “We are committed to Alaska-based ownership and maximum local participation in North Pacific fisheries, with a fair share for crewmembers; the protection and sustainable harvest of wild stock fisheries, and the development and aggressive marketing of value-added seafood products.”

A big thanks goes out to Ray Metcalfe for attending the Sitka convention (at his own expense!) and moving the Party forward on behalf of Alaskans, in particular for its fishery crewmembers whose rights and jobs have been trampled on by wrongful federal fishery management plans and NOAA’s push toward giveaways of Public Commonwealth in Catch Share quota allocations.

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Catch Share Oversight Hearing: Crewman’s Assn. Comment 3/16/10

The Kodiak-based CREWMAN’S ASSOCIATION sent multi-species fisherman and vessel owner Shawn Dochtermann to Washington D.C. to attend Tuesday’s U.S. House Resources’ subcommittee meeting, of Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife.  Below is the body of his main public comments submitted for the official record regarding CATCH SHARES and their flaws. 

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Adjacent but Alienated by Catch Shares – Aug. 21, 2009 Crewman’s Assn.

 The following article by Shawn Dochtermann of the Crewman’s Association from Kodiak, AK is his public comment to the Interagency Oceans Policy Task Force, in Anchorage.  NOAA’s new director, Dr. Jane Lubchenco was present, and Shawn made sure she personally got a copy after she’d already heard the public testimonies.  There can be no plausible deniability that Lubchenco knew firsthand about some of the problems of Crab Ratz.  And that the example of Alaska privatization programs stands as a poor excuse for continuing any more corrupt privatizations (i.e. Catch Shares) that take public commons resources and convert them to private ownership through giveaways that are unfair and inequitable to other stakeholders.

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Gubernatorial Candidate Sarah Palin on Crab and GOA Rationalization (2006)

  On February 24, 2010 several Alaskans may join fishermen in Washington D.C. on the mall to protest Catch Shares and MSA stock rebuilding regulation, along with what should be a good-sized crowd of East Coast fishermen.  Groundswell wanted to remind folks that when running for office, Sarah Palin issued a strongly worded news release on problems caused by Crab Ratz and why she believed the NPFMC should be careful about rationalization in the Gulf of Alaska.

 But at the Portland, Oregon meeting this week, the Council is busy forwarding a plan to extend the Rockfish Pilot Program into a regular FMP, and keep the march of GOA Ratz moving toward eventual Catch Shares. 


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Bonsai #9: Irrational Commoditization – One Species at a Time

No. 9 in a Series by: Stephen Taufen, Groundswell Fisheries Movement
Shortened version (2009) — The Fishermen’s News – November 2002 Edition


This 2002 Bonsai piece anticipated the Crab Rationalization (privatization) regime being considered by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and outlines how it is a form of Asset Commoditization (commodification), resembles similar resource economies in Hawaii and the Banana Republics, the enactment of Debt Peonage for USA fishermen and related thoughts…

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