Anyone else hear about this? I know it has been brought up in the past, but it seems as resurfaced. From what I have read it only applies to the charter fleet and will not affect recreational anglers who are unguided.
The Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) will further separate the guided from the unguided anglers in the recreational fishery. Guided anglers will be sharing catch limits with the commercial longline sector under the CSP. When managed by the Guideline Harvest Level (GHL), guided anglers were treated the same as unguided anglers and subsistence users. Their allocation was deducted prior to setting the commercial fishery catch limits. When the US established its 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone, NOAA was given the responsibility to manage this public trust fishery. Under the Halibut Act, the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program permitted the commercial longline sector to harvest a portion of the fishery for the benefit of a private sector. If the guided angler is placed on this side of the equation, they will no longer be participants in a public fishery, but receive an allocation after the unguided sector gets their allocation. As a result, a sector motivated by the high expectations of recreational fishing becomes split based upon how they elect to go fishing.
The CSP Problem Statement is no longer valid
The Problem Statement Adopted by the Council reads:
"The absence of a hard allocation between the commercial longline and charter halibut sectors has resulted in conflicts between sectors, and tensions in coastal communities that are dependent on the halibut resource. Unless a mechanism for the transfer between sectors is established, the existing environment of instability and conflict will continue. The Council seeks to address this instability, while balancing the needs of all who depend on the halibut resource for food, sport, or livelihood".
Since this problem statement was adopted in 2008, a Charter Limited Entry Program was established in 2011 that capped the growth of the charter fleet. Furthermore, the recent guided angler harvest has fallen below its GHL. The Council's proposed transfer mechanism, called the Guided Angler Fish (GAF), has received poor support from the charter sector because of legal, administrative and enforcement challenges. The Council's problem statement is no longer valid. It is time to stop trying to force a square peg in a round hole.
1) Maintain the Status Quo (management under the GHL).
2) Work towards a compensated re-allocation transfer mechanism through purchase, instead of leasing, that would benefit all recreational anglers. This would voluntarily retire commercial ownership of halibut, and transfer it back to the public sector through a market-based, best economic value approach.