Thursday, April 14, 2016
North Council Decision on RQE:
RQE Passes to Public Review
April 10, Sunday, Anchorage: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council passed the RQE (Recreational Quota Entity) on to its next step, public review, today. This charter industry proposal has taken eight years to get to this point and will tentatively be scheduled for final action in December. When implemented, this will allow guided anglers a mechanism to return to traditional bag limits. Creating a common pool of funds for the guided angler sector will provide the ability to purchase IFQ quota from the commercial fishery to use, together with IPHC allocation, as a new basis upon which to set annual guided angler bag limits.
Council member Andy Mezirow was instrumental in working with other council members to support this action. He passes on his thanks, along with the ACA, for all the public comment letters received by the Council and the many members of the charter fishing industry that took time out of their schedules to come to Anchorage and testify in person. It was nice to see young, second-generation charter operators at this meeting. The angling public that uses charter services also showed up, which helped give a perspective the council rarely hears.
On the downside, commercial fishing interests, seeing they could not stop the RQE from going forward, lobbied council members to add stricter transfer limits to be added to Mr. Mezirow's original motion for an RQE. Ranges that go down to half a percent annual cap on transfers, 7 percent total cap on transfers, prohibitions on purchasing any blocked quota shares, aim to cripple the RQE by making it harder to find quota to purchase. We will be soliciting charter sector support in December, to help ACA lobby for less transfer restrictions. The motion as amended and passed unanimously can be read here: Motion
RQE Passes to Public Review: CORRECTION
The RQE Council Motion linked in the previous newsletter was actually the Initial Motion that was made by Counsel Member Andy Mezirow. The final Motion approved by the Council is linked below. Notice how changes have been added to allow the commercial sector an opportunity to derail the efficacy of the program. We will need to support those options that provide the least restrictive environment in which to find quota shares to purchase.