In 2010, the Alaska Charter Association and the Southeast Alaska Guides Organization were awarded a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to research the feasibility of a recreational fishery getting involved in catch shares. The project was named " CATCH" standing for Catch Accountability Through Compensated Halibut. Simply put, charter clients, guided anglers, were to form an organization to purchase IFQ quota shares from willing commercial fishermen, then add this purchased quota to their annual regulatory allocation upon which sport fishing regulations are based, thus providing the ability to lessen the otherwise more restrictive regulations.
In 2018, after many years of working through the regulatory process, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) and the National Marine Fisheries Service adopted the formation of a Recreational Quota Entity (RQE) in the Pacific Halibut IFQ Program. The Alaska Charter Association is currently working on federal legislation to allow the NPFMC the authority to create a means to fund the RQE.
NMFS Summary Final Rule
NMFS issues regulations that authorize formation of a recreational quota entity (RQE) that could participate in the Pacific Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota Program in International Pacific Halibut Commission Regulatory Areas 2C and 3A in the Gulf of Alaska. The RQE is authorized to purchase and hold a limited amount of commercial halibut quota share that will yield additional pounds of recreational fishing quota on an annual basis to augment the amount of halibut available for harvest in the charter halibut fishery. The RQE will provide a mechanism for a compensated reallocation of a portion of commercial halibut quota share to the charter halibut fishery. This final rule is necessary to promote social and economic flexibility in the charter halibut fishery, and is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, and other applicable laws.