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.

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