Tuesday, November 29, 2016

IPHC issues Blue Line recommendations today:


The IPHC is holding its Interim meeting and this is a screenshot of the Blue Line recommendations.
More info at: www.iphc.int

Friday, November 18, 2016

Lineup for Important Upcoming Public Hearings



Meeting Schedule

Nov. 29, 5pm:
Deadline for public comment for RQE program at NPFMC

Nov. 29-30:
IPHC Interim Meeting in Seattle -
Blue Line recommendations released

Nov. 30th:
Homer Charter Association Meeting: 6pm at Chamber of Commerce

Nov. 30-Dec 3:
Board of Fish Meeting Oceans & Islands Center Homer

Dec. 6-15:
North Pacific Fishery Council Meeting, Hilton Hotel, Anchorage

Dec. 6, 9am-12pm:
Charter Halibut Implementation Committee

Dec. 6, 1pm- 5pm:
Recreational Quota Entity Committee

Dec. 7, 8am- 5pm:
Advisory Panel (RQE testimony)

Dec. 7, 6-8pm:
ACA Hosts Recreational Reception with NOAA Staff in connection to the 40th Anniversary of MSA: Historic Anchorage Hotel, Will Smith Room, 330 E St.

Dec. 9
RQE Public Testimony to the full Council;
Also: Discussion of White Paper on Charter Halibut Permit Leasing

Boards of Fish & Game Appointments - for 2017 apply now


Greetings,

Please allow this group message to serve as notice that the Governor’s office will be reviewing applicants for the 2017 appointments to the Boards of Fish and Game in the next several weeks. Anyone interested in applying for one of these appointments should insure a current application is on file (note: applications received within the last two years remains active).

See the following link for the online application:

http://aws.state.ak.us/CrmForms/Home/Apply

Anyone interested in providing endorsements or other input should send that information to the following email address:

Boards and Commissions: boards@alaska.gov

For more information about the Boards of Fish and Game please go to:

http://gov.alaska.gov/services/boards-and-commissions/fact-sheet/?board=037

http://gov.alaska.gov/services/boards-and-commissions/fact-sheet/?board=040

Appointments to the Boards of Fish and Game require Legislative confirmation. As such, 2017 appointments will be presented to the Legislature at the next Legislative session beginning in January. Therefore review of applicants will begin on November 25, 2016.

Best Regards,

John

John F. Hozey III
Deputy Chief of Staff
Director of Boards and Commissions
Local Government Liaison

Office of the Governor
907-465-3500
Juneau, Alaska

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Recreational Quota Entity - Comment Letter Guidance

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will be making decisions on the best chance we have to regain halibut quota in a fair and equitable manner.

The Council will meet Tuesday, December 6, and continue through Tuesday December 14, 2016 at the Hilton Hotel, 500 W. 3rd Avenue, Anchorage, AK.

Don’t let this opportunity pass without weighing in with your support.

Comment deadline: Deadline for written comments is 5:00 pm (AST) on Tuesday, November 29, 2016.



Chairman Dan Hull
North Pacific Fishery Management Council
605 W. 4th Avenue, Suite 306
Anchorage, AK 99501-2252

Re: Recreational Quota Entity (RQE)

Dear Chairman Hull,

1. Introduction: Who you are.
Provide information about yourself (name of your business, number of employees, type of clients you have, where you are located, how long have you been in business, etc.).


2. Problems you are having with current halibut regulations.

Have these regulations affected your business and clients? How? Explain it like they are five years old, with specific examples and stories, how these new rules have (or rather, have not) worked for you, your clients and your business:

Area 3A:

a. Annual limits?

b. Weekly closures?

c. 2nd fish “minnow rule”?

d. What about even more restrictions?


Area 2C:

a. Reverse slot limit?

b. One fish?


3. The RQE (Recreational Quota Entity) will provide a market-based, willing seller and willing buyer, tool by which commercial IFQ can be purchased to add to guided angler allocations — thereby decreasing the pain of strict harvest rules during times of low abundance. How will this improve conditions for your business, clients, and the resource? How will more allocation improve the success of your business? And the other businesses dependent on guided anglers in Alaska?


4. Closing.

Thank Council for their work and encourage them to pass the RQE into regulation.

Regards,



Your Name

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Sport Halibut May Depend on Good Angler Cents!

Sport Halibut May Depend on Good Angler Cents!

by Richard Yamada, President, Alaska Charter Association


(appeared in Fish Alaska magazine, Oct.-Nov. 2016)


A proposal is coming up before the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in December to allow the transfer of commercial fishing quota to guided recreational anglers in an open market, between willing sellers and buyers. The additional quota would supplement annual guided angler allocations, thereby lessening recent restrictive bag limits. A Recreational Quota Entity (RQE) that would raise funds to buy quota would represent guided recreational anglers in a common pool. The preferred fund-raising option would be a guided angler halibut stamp, similar to the state of Alaska’s King salmon stamp. The stamp would have to be approved by the Alaska state legislature. The difference between the king salmon stamp and the proposed RQE halibut stamp will be that the halibut stamp will directly fund more fish for recreational anglers.

Since 2014, guided anglers, through the sport charter sector, have shared a common allocation set annually by the International Pacific Halibut Commission with commercial fishermen. Recent declines in harvestable abundance have meant each sector has seen drastic reductions in allocations. For guided anglers in Southcentral, this led to a reduction in the size of a second fish in a two halibut daily bag limit, to 28 inches in 2016 as well as an annual limit of four fish. This was in addition to a fishing closure on Thursdays and charter operators limited to one trip per day carried over from 2015. For Southeast Alaska, a reverse slot limit on a one fish per day bag limit of 43 inches or less or 80 inches or more is in effect.

Proponents of an RQE argue that this is what commercial fishermen have always demanded in the past 20 years, that is, a “compensated” means to transfer allocation rather than the uncompensated transfers that happened in the past and commercial fishermen would not be forced to sell any quota they do not want to. Guided anglers would be investing for future increased access to the fishery and thus make them better stewards of the fishery. On the commercial side, having a larger pool of buyers may help those fishermen who wish to exit the fishery but haven’t been able to find a buyer either with the capacity to buy more quota or the means to fund a large quota purchase.

Opponents of the plan argue it would increase quota prices and hinder new entrants into the fishery. While the market might adjust to a new buyer in the marketplace, it has already seen quota prices that have doubled in five years. No stockholder would be complaining if they saw their stocks double in value in such a short period. With halibut in high demand and selling at record high prices, why wouldn’t it make sense to buy into a fishery that seems to be increasing in value each year?

Ultimately an RQE would provide a means to return guided angler bag limits back to historic levels enjoyed for over thirty years. This will not only be good for anglers that want to put fish in their freezers for the winter, but also the businesses that depend on a community’s success as a sportfishing destination. Letters of support for this program that is scheduled to go to final action in December can be written to Chairman Hull, North Pacific Fishery Management Council, 605 W 4th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501 or emailed to: npfmc.comments@noaa.gov. You may wish to comment on how restrictive bag limits have effected your decisions to take a charter fishing trip or lodge vacation and how a program like an RQE would benefit you as a sport angler. Please contact the Alaska Charter Association for more information at info@alaskacharter.org. Taking all things into consideration, this program just makes good cents!












Wednesday, November 2, 2016

IPHC Press Release on New Requirement for Commercial Landing Weights



COMMISSION STAFF RECOMMENDS HEAD-ON LANDED WEIGHT REQUIREMENT FOR COMMERCIAL FISHERY

In 2013, the International Pacific Halibut Commission staff began a study to evaluate the relationships used to convert Pacific halibut length to weight, dressed weight to head-off weight, and the adjustment made for washed vs. unwashed weight. Collection of these data were integrated into all commercial catch sampling in 2015, as well as included in select survey operations during 2016. Pacific halibut head weight removed during processing, as a percentage of the dressed body weight, has historically been assumed to be 10%; however, results from this study indicate that the average current head weight removed is around 12%, with a range from 9-18% among different ports and regulatory areas (see report link below). The range comes from variations in where the head is cut off, and, to a lesser degree, in the proportion of the head to the body for smaller versus larger Pacific halibut.

Regulations for the commercial fisheries require the initial accurate scale weight of Pacific halibut at the time of offloading to be reported on the landing record (fish ticket – USA, validation record – Canada) with the delivery condition code. Currently, when the fish ticket notes that the fish were weighed with the head on, reporting systems apply a 10% deduction for the weight of the head. Cutting larger heads than the assumed value, on average, and reporting weights after these cuts have management implications. This practice reduces the estimated net weight, potentially allowing more individual fish to be harvested within the catch limits. Landing records show that, coastwide, 67-71% of catch by weight is reported head-off, so the potential effect of head proportions that differ from assumed values is large. For example, in recent years we may have underestimated the coastwide landings by 2-3%, with some individual regulatory areas more inaccurate than others. In order to improve the accuracy of estimated landings, the Commission staff is recommending that all commercially landed Pacific halibut be required to be landed and weighed with the head attached for the landing record (fish ticket – USA, validation record – Canada).