Sunday, September 30, 2018

ACA supports KRSA in calling a time-out on expanding pink salmon hatchery production

The Kenai River Sportfishing Association has requested a review of potential overproduction at pink salmon hatcheries in Alaska. Many of us are concerned that hundreds of millions of pink fry are outcompeting other species, especially king salmon, in ocean waters.

Biologists confirm a correlation between high pink years and low king years. While this doesn't prove the cause, it is time to pause the increase in pink salmon hatchery production until we better understand the relationship.

The ACA has submitted a comment letter for the AK Board of Fish meeting in Anchorage October 16, and you can sign a similar letter of comment by October 3rd by using KRSA's handy email form.

Here's the letter ACA submitted:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

NOAA: New Program Gives Alaska Halibut Charter Operators More Flexibility

New Program Gives Alaska Halibut Charter Operators More Flexibility

From NOAA Fisheries: 

Some charter fishing operators in Alaska will soon have more flexibility to offer their customers additional halibut fishing opportunities through a unique new program.

NOAA Fisheries is implementing a final rule that authorizes the formation of a non-profit recreational quota entity (RQE), which may purchase and hold commercial halibut quota shares for use by charter anglers in International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) regulatory Areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Southcentral Alaska).

Under this regulatory amendment, the RQE may obtain a limited amount of commercial halibut quota shares under a willing buyer-willing seller model. The harvest pounds associated with the quota shares will become recreational fishing quota (RFQ) that is used to augment the amount of halibut available for harvest in the charter halibut fishery under the Alaska halibut catch sharing plan.

In recent years, restrictions on charter anglers have become more stringent as halibut abundance has dropped and catch limits have been reduced. Typical restrictions include daily and annual limits on the number of fish retained, fish size limits, and closures on specific days of the week.

If the RQE obtains enough quota share, restrictions on halibut size and bag limits could be relaxed for charter anglers in years of low abundance, up to a point where charter anglers could potentially retain up to the daily limit for unguided anglers—currently two fish of any size per day.

This rule implements restrictions on the purchase of quota shares by the RQE. The restrictions vary by regulatory area. In Area 2C, the RQE may purchase no more than 1% of the commercial quota shares in any year, and no more than 10% of the total commercial quota shares for that area. In Area 3A, the RQE’s annual limit of commercial quota share purchases would be 1.2%, with an upper limit of 12% of the total quota shares in the area.

The RQE may hold quota shares indefinitely, but is also allowed to transfer the shares back to the commercial halibut sector—a provision that adds flexibility and contributes to the market-based approach of the program.

This rule, which was recommended by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, is implemented 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.

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on September 26, 2018

Council to review state of rules for unguided halibut anglers

From the Alaska Journal of Commerce:

"The North Pacific Fishery Management Council may consider more registration requirements for motorized rental boats for halibut fishing, though a staff report concluded it will put more burden on either the federal or state government to do so.

At its upcoming meeting from Oct. 1-9 in Anchorage, the council is set to review a discussion paper on further registration requirements for boats available for rental to unguided halibut anglers in Southcentral and Southeast Alaska, known by the International Pacific Halibut Commission as regulation areas 3A and 2C, respectively.

In recent years, some have raised concerns that as guided fishermen are restricted to one halibut per day, some turn to self-guided rentals for fishing, where fishermen are allowed to keep two halibut of any size per day." ... read the rest of the Elizabeth Earl's article here

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Juneau charter fisherman appointed to ‘Supreme Court’ of halibut

Juneau charter fisherman appointed to ‘Supreme Court’ of halibut

Richard Yamata takes seat historically filled by commercial interests
By Kevin GullufsenTuesday, September 4, 2018 9:46pm

"A Juneau lodge owner and charter fisherman has been named to the International Pacific Halibut Commission, becoming the first charter fisherman to be seated on a body normally dominated by commercial fishing interests." read more here

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

State, Commerce Departments Appoint Recreational Fisherman to International Pacific Halibut Commission

The Commerce and State Departments have appointed Richard Yamada to the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

The Commission makes rules and sets catch limits for halibut harvest and the gear types allowed for the US and Canada.

The two nations signed a treaty in 1923. It created the IPHC to provide sustainable fishery management for halibut.

There are six Commissioners. Each country appoints two fishery industry reps and one agency rep. They meet every January to set rules for fishing seasons and harvest limits for the two countries.

Yamada has 40 years experience as a guide, lodge owner and sportfishing advocate.

He serves as President of the Alaska Charter Association. He serves on the board of the National Association of Charterboat Owners (NACO), and on the Secretary of Commerce’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC).

Yamada will be the first recreational fishing stakeholder to sit on the Commission in its 95 year history.

Contact for more info about the Alaska Charter Association, visit:

For more info about the IPHC:

Richard Yamada

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Partisanship shouldn’t undermine our fisheries

Rep. Don Young:

FAIRBANKS — Partisan rancor may be standard operating procedure for most of Washington, but let’s not allow it to unravel the progress we’ve made for our country’s vital fisheries. As my colleagues and my state know, I’ve been on the frontlines for the fight for our fisheries for over 40 years — and I have no intentions of letting up. After creating an initial framework, former Rep. Studds and I collaborated with former Senators Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Warren Magnuson (D-WA) to enact the original Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) in 1976.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Alaska Charter Assn Proposal to Board of Fish: Allow Friends and Family to Fish Subsistence Together

The Alaska Charter Association submitted a request to change regulations to Subsistence Fishing today. 

Code section:
AAC: 5 AAC 75.077

Issue: Recreational Charter Fishing Passenger Vessels and Subsistence Fishing.

Under current rules, Federal regulation states that “once a charter vessel is registered with the ADFG, only the vessel owner and/or immediate family may be on board the vessel while subsistence fishing for halibut." Many charter boat owners with SHARC cards would like to take friends with cards as well. The problem is that many family members with SHARC cards may be unable to fish, and friends with SHARC cards may not have a safe vessel to use to provide their winter pack of halibut. Using multiple vessels when a charter boat is available is inefficient, wasteful and presents serious safety concerns. There is no similar prohibition of friends fishing subsistence on commercial vessels; this would provide parity and fairness to make the change we are proposing.

We propose to allow charter vessels to de-register their vessels in the winter and then re-register them the next spring, to conform with federal rules and still be able to take family AND friends with SHARC cards to subsistence fish. Friends can help out on the trip when family is unable or unavailable to make a trip.

Changing federal regulations to allow for this fix would be much more cumbersome and time consuming, and as the state registers the vessels, this seems like a more direct solution. Without this change, charter boat owners and their friends will be denied safe access to their subsistence rights. THANK YOU for your serious consideration of our proposal, and thanks for all you do! - The Alaska Charter Association. 


We propose a simple fix to allow Charter Vessels to be de-registered prior to the end of the year, and then re-registered with ADFG the following calendar year to allow for the vessel owners to bring friends for subsistence fishing. Here is our proposed draft language to 5 AAC 75.077:

Web link for 5 AAC 75.077 is:

(Proposed additions to the code are Bolded and Underlined.)

(a) Before being used to provide sport fishing guide services, a vessel must be registered annually with the department. A business owner, or the owner's authorized agent, shall register each individual vessel operated by the business to provide sport fishing guide services by completing a form provided by the department. At the time of registration, the business owner, or the owner's authorized agent, must provide the current division of motor vehicles boat registration number, issued under 2 AAC 70, or the current United States Coast Guard vessel documentation number of each vessel being registered. 

(b) A person may not engage in sport fishing guide services from a powered or unpowered vessel unless the vessel is registered under (a) of this section and displays a sport fishing guide vessel decal with a current annual sticker issued by the department as follows: 
  • (b)(1) upon initial registration of a vessel, two sport fishing guide vessel decals will be issued by the department for that vessel; one decal must be securely affixed on each side of the vessel and must be displayed in plain view at all times the vessel is used to provide sport fishing guide services; 
  • (b)(2) for the years following the year of initial registration of a vessel, two current year renewal stickers will be issued by the department for that vessel; one current year renewal sticker must be securely affixed on each decal over the previous year renewal sticker and must be displayed in plain view at all times the vessel is used to provide sport fishing guide services. 
  • (b)(3) De-registration of a sport fishing guide vessel is allowed prior to Dec. 31st. This would be permanent for the rest of the year and vessel could not be registered to sport fish charter guided anglers again until after Dec. 31st, of current year. [OR see (e)]
(c) If a decal or current year renewal sticker is lost or damaged, a replacement must be obtained from the department and affixed and displayed as required in this section before the vessel is used to provide sport fishing guide services.
(d) A float tube used to provide sport fish guide services is exempt from the registration and decal requirements of this section. For the purposes of this subsection, "float tube" means a tubular floating device designed to support one person in the water and propelled only by power from the arms or legs of the operator.
(e) De-registration of a sport fishing guide vessel is allowed prior to Dec. 31st. This would be permanent for the rest of the year and vessel could not be registered to sport fish charter guided anglers again until after Dec. 31st, of current year. 

Name: Alaska Charter Association
Address: POB 478
City: Homer
State: AK
Zip Code: 99603