Friday, October 20, 2017

ADF&G Informational Handout for Charter Management Implementation Committee October 10, 2017


Mixing of Guided and Unguided Halibut Final Council motion

The Council recommends releasing the analysis for public review after making the following revisions to the purpose and need, alternatives, and analysis. The preliminary preferred alternative is shown in bold.

Purpose and Need

Different regulations apply to guided and unguided (i.e., chartered and non-chartered) halibut fishing trips. Possessing halibut harvested from both guided and unguided trips on the same fishing vessel at the same time presents challenges for accountability and enforcement that cannot be adequately addressed by current regulations. Mixed guided and unguided halibut can occur on multi-day fishing vessels and mothership charter fishing and floating lodges, and to a lesser extent on fishing vessels that are owned by self-guided fishing operations that also provide sport fishing guide services to their clients. The potential for mixing guided and unguided halibut exists on every fishing vessel floating lodge and mothership that services halibut harvesters. The number of these operations and the associated halibut harvests remain unknown. The mixing of guided and unguided halibut could expand in the future as charter operators look for ways to maximize halibut harvests for guided and unguided anglers on their fishing vessels.
Once guided and unguided halibut are mixed aboard a fishing vessel, it is difficult to determine which halibut were harvested under the guided regulations and which halibut were harvested under the unguided regulations. The current regulatory structure allows guided and unguided halibut to be mixed on a fishing vessel but does not provide the regulated public or authorized officers with a mechanism to ensure compliance with the more restrictive guided halibut regulations. A regulatory change could ensure proper accounting of guided and unguided catch.

Alternatives
Alternative 1: Take no action

Alternative 2: Prohibit the possession of guided and unguided halibut simultaneously on any fishing vessel
Alternative 3: If halibut harvested using sport fishing guide services is possessed with halibut harvested not using sport fishing guide services on Convention waters in Area 2C or 3A, the IPHC annual management measures for guided sport fishing for the area that the halibut was harvested apply to all halibut onboard the fishing vessel.
Suboption 3.1: Include “other fishing facility” as well as “fishing vessel”. The Council recommends that the analysis be revised to:
  1. Include the revisions suggested by staff and the Enforcement Committee, except the recommendation to include a new suboption 2.1.
  2. An expanded discussion of the changes in guided and unguided halibut fishery management measures that led to an increase in multi-day, and mothership and floating lodge operations and increasing potential for mixing halibut caught by guided and unguided anglers.
  3. An expanded discussion of the regulatory history of current prohibitions on mixing halibut in the commercial, subsistence, and sport fisheries.
  4. Available information on mothership and floating lodge sport halibut operations in areas 2C and 3A (i.e., number of operations identified, description of services offered, whether operation holds CHPs, etc.) 

North Council's preferred alternative on CHP registration

Here's the motion that passed at the October NPFMC meeting regarding an annual registration of Charter Halibut Permits:


Alternative 2. Implement an annual registration process for transferable and non-transferable charter halibut permits (CHP). A CHP holder must submit the following information to NMFS on an annual basis to register a CHP:
  • CHP number,
  • CHP holder name (individual or non-individual entity), and
  • CHP holder address.
  • CHP holder phone number and/or CHP holder email address.
    If a CHP is not registered with NMFS, the CHP would not be valid for use during the applicable fishing year.
    Options for additional requirements could include (options are not mutually exclusive):
    Option 1. CHP ownership (e.g., ownership holdings for the CHP by individual(s), partners, or a corporate entity). 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

RQE Rule Published in Federal Register



NOAA has published the proposed rule for the Recreational Quota Entity, a buyback program for compensated reallocation of Pacific halibut.

https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2017-20894?utm_campaign=subscription%20mailing%20list&utm_source=federalregister.gov&utm_medium=email


Comments are due on or before November 17, 2017


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: 0648-BG57

Authorize Recreational Quota Entity to Participate in the Halibut IFQ Program

FR Document: 2017-20894

Citation: 82 FR 46016


Abstract: NMFS issues a proposed rule that would 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 would be authorized to purchase and hold a limited amount of commercial halibut quota share that would yield additional pounds of recreational fishing quota on an annual basis to augment the amount of...


DATES: Submit comments on or before November 17, 2017.




FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kurt Iverson, 907–586–7228.


Friday, September 22, 2017

ACA Comment letter on Annual Registration of Charter Halibut Permits (NPFMC agenda item C1)

For reference, visit the North Pacific Fishery Management Council for the agenda, and each item has links to the discussion papers from Council Staff, public comment etc.

Agenda: 


C1 – Charter Halibut Permit Renewal

The measures under consideration include implementing an annual
renewal process for the Charter Halibut Permit (CHP), which is a component of the
Charter Halibut Limited Access Program. The information collected in an annual
registration process would update and/ or expand on the CHP data, providing more
complete and useful information on the charter halibut users.


ACA Position

Support Alternative 2.  Implement an annual registration process for transferable and non-transferable charter halibut permits (CHP). A CHP holder must submit the following information to NMFS on an annual basis to register a CHP:
• CHP number,
• CHP holder name (individual or non-individual entity), and
• CHP holder address.
If a CHP is not registered with NMFS, the CHP would not be valid for use during
the applicable fishing year.

Option 1.  CHP ownership (e.g., ownership holdings for the CHP by individual(s), partners, or a corporate entity).


Non–Support for Alternative 2. Options 2 and Option 3.


ACA believes there is merit in updating CHP ownership and contact information as this information may have changed from original issue and having this done annually is prudent.  However, gathering information as to how one intends to use a permit, goes beyond the intended purpose of a limited access program.  If there is a need to further restrict access to the guided halibut fishery, then this problem statement needs to precede any action to identify who, what, and when such permits should be restricted.

ACA Comment letter on the Mixing of Guided and Unguided Halibut (NPFMC agenda item C2)

For reference, visit the North Pacific Fishery Management Council for the agenda, and each item has links to the discussion papers from Council Staff, public comment etc.

Agenda: 




C2 – Mixing Guided – Unguided Halibut

The first alternative under consideration is the status quo. The second alternative would prohibit the possession of guided and unguided halibut simultaneously on any vessel. Under the third alternative, if any halibut harvested using sport fishing guide services is possessed with halibut harvested not using sport fishing guide services in Area 2C or Area 3A, the IPHC annual management measures for guided sport fishing for the area that the halibut was harvested apply to all halibut onboard the fishing vessel.

ACA Position

Support Alternative 1 – Status Quo

ACA would like to continue discussions on alternative enforcement methods, other than those proposed, that would have less economic impact to floating lodges, motherships and other potentially affected operations.  The use of zip tie halibut tags for identification of guided caught halibut may still have merit for those operations that mix guided and unguided halibut.  Most of charter record keeping is based on the honor system, so why should a tagging system be less trusted.  

The analysis mentions a “benefit” to the guided sector allocation, as there would be a decrease in unguided removals, which are taken off the top before the total allowed catch is set under the Catch Sharing Plan.  The analysis fails to mention that the assignment of unguided to guided removals will increase the guided catch by 100% for each pound of fish, versus only approximately 18% under the Catch Sharing Plan for every unguided fish removed.

Defining floating lodges, or for that matter a “floating dock” that many land based lodges use to process guided and unguided catches, as “fishing vessels” would also have further consequences not mentioned in the analysis.  On Convention waters, fishing vessels are limited to a possession limit of two daily bag limits as well as skin and carcass requirements if there is a size restriction on the halibut.  The economic impacts on floating lodges have not been analyzed under this broader definition. ACA recommends possibly adopting the US Coast Guard definition for a “vessel” as a watercraft capable of being used as a means of transport on water (more liberally defined as needing to have a means for propulsion).   


The vaguely identified risk of misidentifying guided versus unguided catch created by anecdotal enforcement reports do not rise to the level of taking any action. While realizing it may take enforcement addition time to enforce, it does not warrant the potential economic impact to businesses that have operated under existing regulations for many years.  Ultimately all fish are being accounted for, so taking no action will not negatively impact the halibut resource.