alaska's relaxed regulations for halibut fishing now in effect
"To preserve and protect the rights and resources of Alaska's recreational angler."
Liberalized Halibut Regulations that passed the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and the International Pacific Halibut Commission,now passes final regulatory review in DC.
Effectively immediately, regulations are revised for halibut sport fishing from charter vessels in International Pacific Halibut Commission regulatory Areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Southcentral Alaska)
The revised regulations are as follows:
The ACA hopes everyone is staying healthy and wishes all a good season under these trying times.
From the Small Business Administration:
"We know you are facing challenging times in this current health crisis. The U.S. Small Business Administration is committed to help bring relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the CARES Act, which provided additional assistance for small business owners and non-profits, including the opportunity to get up to a $10,000 Advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This Advance may be available even if your EIDL application was declined or is still pending, and will be forgiven.
"If you wish to apply for the Advance on your EIDL, please visit www.SBA.gov/Disaster as soon as possible to fill out a new, streamlined application. In order to qualify for the Advance, you need to submit this new application even if you previously submitted an EIDL application. Applying for the Advance will not impact the status or slow your existing application.
Also, we encourage you to subscribe to our email updates via www.SBA.gov/Updates and follow us on Twitter at @SBAgov for the latest news on available SBA resources and services. If you need additional assistance, you can find your local SBA office and resource partners at www.SBA.gov/LocalAssistance. If you have questions, you may also call 1-800-659-2955."
Anchorage, February 7. The IPHC (International Pacific Halibut Commission) adopted catch limits for 2020, which included harvest measures (bag limits) for Areas 2C and 3A.
2C - One fish daily bag limit, Reverse slot limit: Less than or equal to 40 inches, or greater than or equal to 80 inches.
3A - Annual limit of 4 halibut per charter angler, Limit of 1 charter trip per vessel per day, Limit of 1 charter trip per Charter Halibut Permit per day, Tuesdays and Wednesdays closed to halibut retention all year, Daily bag limit of 2 halibut with one fish of any size and one fish less than or equal to 26 inches.
96th Session of the IPHC held in Anchorage, AK
ACA's Work is Crucial to the Viability of the Sport Fishing Sector in a Commercially-Driven Industry
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council took action last year on an issue that would create an annual renewal process for charter halibut permits (CHPs) in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C and 3A. This application process would require CHP holders (including Community Quota Entities and U.S. Military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation groups) to submit CHP number, CHP holder name, address, phone number and/or email address, as well as any updates to the CHP ownership structure.
The intent of this annual registration process is to provide more complete and useful information to evaluate whether changes to the CHP Program are necessary as a result of changes in ownership and participation of CHPs, to facilitate retirement of non-transferable permits when ownership changes, and improve the ability of enforcement agents to ensure valid permits are being used.
Note: Although NMFS is currently accepting applications, the new software applications that will allow RAM Division to process the annual CHP registrations and process the transfers of CHPs is still under development. Currently, any applications that RAM receives are being held in safekeeping until development and testing is completed. NMFS and the IT folks are very much aware of the February 1 opening of the sport fishery so that's our target for having everything in place. If anyone is in urgent need of obtaining their 2020 CHP (e.g. fishing winter chinook & halibut), I advise they contact RAM directly at 1-800-304-4846.
Decisions about how to share the catch between recreational anglers and commercial fishermen are always a food fight. Federal law gives the vague guidance that decisions be "fair and equitable" and are based on assigning fish to each sector according to the economic benefit to the nation.
Many studies have shown that more $ are generated per # of fish caught in the sportfishery.
Yet specific studies of the economic value of each state and each species are hard to come by and allocation decisions often don't look very hard for the data.
NMFS has finally completed a comprehensive report on the money generated by the recreational charter fishing sector in Alaska, and it could not be more timely.
Looking ahead the North Council will be starting a federally-required review of allocation of halibut between recreational and commercial sectors.
The data is clear in this fishery and the ACA will be highlighting some of the key findings in this new study, which should inform fishery managers on how to slice the halibut pie.
We are posting a link at the bottom of this blog post to the complete document and we encourage everyone to review these findings. It is eye-opening.
from: NOAA Fisheries:
"Costs, Earnings, and Employment in the Alaska Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Sector, 2017"
by D. K. Lew, and J. Lee
In recent years Alaska’s sport fisheries have undergone substantial changes, particularly in the management of the Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) charter fishery. As a result of these regulatory changes, participation in the charter sector Pacific halibut fishery has been capped with a limited entry program, and charter vessel operators in some areas have been subject to size restrictions and bag limits on the catch of Pacific halibut during guided trips, as well as restrictions in recent years on which days of the week guided halibut fishing trips can occur. Additionally, a halibut catch sharing plan (CSP) formalizing the process of allocating catch between the commercial and charter sectors was implemented in 2014 (78 FR 39121). Most recently, a recreational quota entity that would be allowed to buy (and sell) commercial fishing quota shares as an additional means for cross-sectoral allocation is being implemented (83 FR 47819).
In spite of regulatory changes in Alaska’s sport fisheries over the last decade, information about how changes in fisheries management tools affect sport fishery anglers and charter businesses has generally been somewhat limited to date (Lew and Larson 2012, 2015, 2017; Lew et al. 2016). While some information on the Alaska charter boat sector has been collected through the Statewide Harvest Survey and Saltwater Charter Logbook program , data collection has generally been limited to information about angler participation and harvest. Information on vessel and crew characteristics, services offered to clients, and information detailing cost and earnings have generally not been available for study or use in policy analyses.
To address this gap in information, the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) developed and implemented the Alaska Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Business Survey to collect baseline economic information about the charter fisheries sector for use in understanding the economics of the charter sector and evaluating the effects of regulatory changes on the sector.
Download the full report here: Costs, Earnings, and Employment in the Alaska Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Sector, 2017, by D. K. Lew, and J. Lee
Say goodbye to yelloweye: Southeast Alaska waters closed to harvest of rockfish species
January 10, 2020 by Robert Woolsey, KCAW - Sitka
"Fishing for a popular species of rockfish has been closed for the entire year in Southeast Alaska.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game closed the sport, commercial, and personal use fisheries for yelloweye rockfish effective 12:01 a.m. on January 1.
The ban includes all six species of “nonpelagic” rockfish, however, the yelloweye, often called “red snapper,” is by far the most prized.
Bob Chadwick is the sportfish coordinator for Southeast Alaska. He says the populations of nonpelagic species are down dramatically, despite years of restrictive bag limits.
“Despite conservative management actions that we’ve been taking to reduce the harvest of nonpelagic rockfish, we’re seeing a decrease in abundance of 60-percent,” said Chadwick.
The nonpelagic species include the quillback, tiger, silvergray, copper, and china rockfish.
It's time for our clients to be counted! With the formation of a Recreational Quota Entity just around the corner, we will need a means for guided anglers to get engaged in the regulatory process. Please encourage your clients to sign-up now and support our efforts to improve recreational fishing in Alaska.
As a benefit to becoming an ACA member, get an opportunity to get inside views on current issues and get an opportunity to comment in a members only forum.