The most interesting drama from this story regards the lack of ownership of what I also viewed (correctly or incorrecty) as a "Council" document. Here's a direct link to the paper that Deckboss called a "debunker", it has the web address for the Council and does also say "prepared by NPFMC staff" at the top.
Deckboss' brief story:
But perhaps most of the apparent drama is because Medred carries forth a selective quote from Deckboss. He takes directly from Deckboss' last bullet in his article: "Assertions that the plan will mean a one-fish daily bag limit in 2014 for Southcentral Alaska charter anglers are unfounded". Why be selective here? I don't know..it's only a 2-page paper and the important qualifier is only a few short sentences away. Here's the full point:
"Assertions that this management program establishes or will result in a one fish limit in southcentral
Alaska in 2014 are unfounded. If the Catch Sharing Plan had been in place in 2013, the charter
allocation would have been 18.3% of the combined catch limit in Area 2C (southeast), and would
have resulted in continuation of a one fish bag limit in that area. In Area 3A (southcentral), the
allocation would have been 17.5% of the combined catch limit for that area (slightly higher than the
2012 harvest), and would have resulted in NO change to bag limits (i.e., the limit would have
remained two fish of any size). Barring a significant reduction in halibut abundance in 2014, a twofish
bag limit is expected to continue in Area 3A (southcentral)."
I'm not sure what to make of this since I don't follow the issue closely on a day to day basis. I guess we'll have to see what kind of harvest levels we have going into the December Council meeting to know what we have to deal with. But the story shed light on a few options that might be getting kicked around if a cut in southcentral needs to be made. Personally, I feel that now the charter sector's potential for growth has been effectively limited via LLP, there's no need to cut their limit. If you're gonna feel the pain of the down, then it's only fair to share the gain of the upside and unless there's a mechanism to let them (charter anglers) have more than 2 fish a day when the biomass returns to the higher end of abundance ranges, then the commercial sector gets most (all?) the benefit of rebuilt halibut stocks.
However, the article mentions that:
The charters are floating other ideas for reducing the catch while maintaining a two-fish bag limit. Those could include:
• Seasonal limits for anglers, similar to rules in effect for some king salmon fishermen;
• One-day-per-week closures for charter operators;
• One-trip-per day limits on charters;
• Size restrictions on catch to allow charter anglers to continue to catch two fish per day. Size restrictions are already in place in Southeast Alaska.
Now, before I leap to conclusions from Craig's article, I wonder if first bullet is intended to include all sport anglers (guided and unguided)? As I've mentioned before, if limits are going to come at the expense of unguided anglers, then the Council needs to broaden their audience. I said as much to the Council in public testimony more than a year ago, but they haven't made any additional effort at outreach beyond the charter sector folks they have been working with, so far. I apologize if I appear to be jumping to any conclusions here but does anyone know what the intent is here?