Friday, October 20, 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.

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.) 

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