Monday, January 20, 2020

New Study on Economic Value of Charter Sportfishing Sector in Alaska 2017

from: NOAA Fisheries:
Decisions about how to share the catch between recreational anglers and commercial fishermen are always a food fight. Federal law gives the vague guidance that decisions be "fair and equitable" and are based on assigning fish to each sector according to the economic benefit to the nation. 

Many studies have shown that more $ are generated per # of fish caught in the sportfishery.

Yet specific studies of the economic value of each state and each species are hard to come by and allocation decisions often don't look very hard for the data. 

NMFS has finally completed a comprehensive report on the money generated by the recreational charter fishing sector in Alaska, and it could not be more timely.

Looking ahead the North Council will be starting a federally-required review of allocation of halibut between recreational and commercial sectors. 

The data is clear in this fishery and the ACA will be highlighting some of the key findings in this new study, which should inform fishery managers on how to slice the halibut pie. 

We are posting a link at the bottom of this blog post to the complete document and we encourage everyone to review these findings. It is eye-opening.


"Costs, Earnings, and Employment in the Alaska Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Sector, 2017"
by D. K. Lew, and J. Lee

INTRODUCTION

In recent years Alaska’s sport fisheries have undergone substantial changes, particularly in the management of the Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) charter fishery. As a result of these regulatory changes, participation in the charter sector Pacific halibut fishery has been capped with a limited entry program, and charter vessel operators in some areas have been subject to size restrictions and bag limits on the catch of Pacific halibut during guided trips, as well as restrictions in recent years on which days of the week guided halibut fishing trips can occur. Additionally, a halibut catch sharing plan (CSP) formalizing the process of allocating catch between the commercial and charter sectors was implemented in 2014 (78 FR 39121). Most recently, a recreational quota entity that would be allowed to buy (and sell) commercial fishing quota shares as an additional means for cross-sectoral allocation is being implemented (83 FR 47819).

In spite of regulatory changes in Alaska’s sport fisheries over the last decade, information about how changes in fisheries management tools affect sport fishery anglers and charter businesses has generally been somewhat limited to date (Lew and Larson 2012, 2015, 2017; Lew et al. 2016). While some information on the Alaska charter boat sector has been collected through the Statewide Harvest Survey and Saltwater Charter Logbook program , data collection has generally been limited to information about angler participation and harvest. Information on vessel and crew characteristics, services offered to clients, and information detailing cost and earnings have generally not been available for study or use in policy analyses.

To address this gap in information, the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) developed and implemented the Alaska Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Business Survey to collect baseline economic information about the charter fisheries sector for use in understanding the economics of the charter sector and evaluating the effects of regulatory changes on the sector. 

Download the full report here: Costs, Earnings, and Employment in the Alaska Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Sector, 2017, by D. K. Lew, and J. Lee

Sunday, January 12, 2020

NMFS Charter Halibut Permit Annual Registration Form Available

The Council took action last year on an issue that would create an annual renewal process for charter halibut permits (CHPs) in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C and 3A. This application process would require CHP holders (including Community Quota Entities and U.S. Military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation groups) to submit CHP number, CHP holder name, address, phone number and/or email address, as well as any updates to the CHP ownership structure.

The intent of this renewal process is to provide more complete and useful information to evaluate whether changes to the CHP Program are necessary as a result of changes in ownership and participation of CHPs, to facilitate retirement of non-transferable permits when ownership changes, and improve the ability of enforcement agents to ensure valid permits are being used.

Note: Although NMFS is currently accepting applications, the new software applications that will allow RAM Division to process the annual CHP registrations and process the transfers of CHPs is still under development. Currently, any applications that RAM receives are being held in safekeeping until development and testing is completed. NMFS and the IT folks are very much aware of the February 1 opening of the sport fishery so that's our target for having everything in place. If anyone is in urgent need of obtaining their 2020 CHP (e.g. fishing winter chinook & halibut), I advise they contact RAM directly at 1-800-304-4846.