Friday, March 13, 2020

Poll Results on Coronavirus Impacts on Charter Fishing Industry

Thank you to those that responded to our Coronavirus Poll, recently posted in our Alaska Charter newsletter.

The intent was to gather some information on perceptions and plans surrounding this now classified Coronavirus pandemic. There were 33 responses of which 53% were lodges.

Reactions were mixed regarding whether or not people felt bookings would be affected this summer with 57% saying yes.

It is still early in the game to judge exact impacts, but operators that serve cruise ship passengers definitely feel their businesses will take a hit. Results also are mixed on how this outbreak will impact operations and hiring of staff. Most indicate they will have to increase efforts in sanitation and implement policies regarding dealing with employees and clients that show symptoms of cold or flu if not already addressed in their operations. We will be discussing how operators plan to address issues of self isolation if staff or guests get sick via twitter.

The majority of respondents felt getting supplies this summer will not be a problem. A trip to Costco today may say different, but maybe supplies will catch up before our season starts. Most operators, 79%, are not planning to screen clients for illnesses and only 41% are planning on sending out a pre-arrival notice of how they are planning to address the coronavirus in their operations. This may change as this is a fast evolving situation and ACA will be sending out another poll next month to see if attitudes and plans have changed.

Let us know how you plan to address potential cancellations due to the Coronavirus and tell our community about it by posting a reply to this blog post.

Most travel insurance policies have exclusions for virus related cancellations unless you are diagnosed and in hospital care. These exclusions may also apply to business interruption policies that some operators may have. Check with your insurance provider.

Depending on your deposit and full payment policy deadlines, you may already be facing hard decisions with your loyal and repeat guests. How do you plan to handle this and still keep good relations with your guests?

We would like to hear from you!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Alaska Charter Association Working Committees

At last month's board of director's meeting, ACA moved to form Working Committees to focus on specific areas of concern for all recreational fishermen in Alaska.

Our board, with nine members who volunteer to steer the organization, tracks state and federal legislation, Coast Guard regulations, the Board of Fish, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, the Halibut Commission, State Parks rules, permitting, environmental threats and international allocations of fish.

There's a lot on our plate.

Our association is built with the support of charter operators who collectively hold more than 200 Charter Halibut Permits, and these businesses employ nearly 1000 workers.

ACA is reaching out to our membership across the state to form Working Committees to study upcoming tasks and make recommendations for action to the full board.

To start, we're asking members to consider volunteering for one of the following Committees:

Legislation: the Alaska State House is considering changes to guide licenses and increases in fees; the  federal government is considering changes to the Magnuson Stevens Act that sets the methods for making fishing regulations; we are working on a funding mechanism for the Recreational Quota Entity (RQE). Issues like these need our attention. Our board member Grant Moore has volunteered for this Committee.

Fundraising: Keeping the lights on, providing travel expenses to members who testify at the public hearings, staff to handle the paperwork and public communication - all of this costs money. We have a Gaming Permit and look for ways to ensure the future viability of our industry. Fun fundraisers like raffles, diners and derbies are some of the projects under consideration. We might end up playing a role in the new Homer Halibut Derby!

North Council & Halibut Commission: the rubber hits the road at these two intergovernmental agencies, with the federal rules coming through the North Council and international rules for Pacific Halibut coming through the IPHC. ACA has been pressing the North Council on trawl bycatch and our President, Richard Yamada, is completing his term as the first recreational Commissioner in IPHC history. This promises to be one of the more active working committees. Board member Daniel Donich has served on the Council's Advisory Panel for many years and will serve on this committee as well.

Board of Fish: Politically appointed, with broad power, this board sets policy and approves state fishing regulations for a number of recreational and commercial fisheries.

Each board member will be participating in a Working Committee and the Board will receive reports on their work at each monthly meeting.

With this system, we won't be reacting to the news about things that are too late to change and get in on the ground floor when it matters.

If you have been looking for a way to get more involved with fishery management and help the ACA improve its work, reply in the comments and we'll be in touch.