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Thread: New Halibut Rules for this Year

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    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
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    Default New Halibut Rules for this Year

    http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/...ibut030714.htm

    Looks like the feds will eventually regulate the charters out of business, if they keep it up. Glad I have my own boat, but I can see them targeting the private angler before long.

    "NOAA Fisheries is providing notice of the immediate effect of regulations of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). The commercial IFQ halibut season opens at noon local time tomorrow in Alaska.

    At its annual meeting in January, the IPHC recommended to the governments of Canada and the United States catch limits for 2014 totaling 27,515,000 pounds. The IPHC adopted area-specific catch limits for 2014 that were lower than 2013 in all of its management areas except Area 2C (Southeast Alaska). The halibut stock has been declining due to reduced recruitment, lower growth rates, and higher than target harvest rates, and is at risk of further declines. Conservation of the halibut resource will best serve the economic interests of both the charter and commercial fisheries over the long term.

    In 2014, advised by the Catch Sharing Plan recommended by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the IPHC set combined charter and commercial catch limits for Areas 2C and 3A (Southcentral Alaska). Voluntary annual transfers of commercial halibut individual fishing quota to charter halibut permit holders in Areas 2C and 3A will be available as "guided angler fish" for additional harvest opportunities in the charter fishery.

    In Area 2C (Southeast Alaska):
    Commercial catch limit (after deducting wastage): 3,318,720 pounds
    Charter fishery one-fish daily bag limit with a "reverse slot limit." Charter anglers may only keep a halibut that is less than 44 inches or greater than 76 inches in length.
    If halibut are filleted at sea, the carcass must be retained onboard until landing.

    In Area 3A (Southcentral Alaska):
    Commercial catch limit (after deducting wastage): 7,317,730 pounds
    Charter fishery two-fish daily bag limit: one any size / one less than or equal to 29 inches total length
    Trip limit for charter vessels: vessels are limited to one charter halibut fishing trip in which halibut are retained per calendar day (if no halibut retained, vessel may take an additional trip to catch and retain halibut that day). Applies to vessels only, not charter halibut permits.
    If halibut are filleted at sea, the carcass of the halibut that is less than or equal to 29 inches must be retained onboard until landing.

    Halibut operators must also observe other new regulations implemented this year under the CSP.

    Unguided halibut fishers in Alaska will observe a daily bag limit of 2 fish any size per person per day.

    The final rule to implement the management measures is in effect upon filing in the Federal Register, which happened today. The commercial fishery season dates are March 8 through November 7, 2014, for all areas in Alaska."
    “Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

  2. #2

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    If a private boat fillets at sea,does the carcass rules apply?

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    No, because there is no size limit for personal boats.

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    Have any of you heard how this has impacted charter bookings? I wonder if they have seen any cancelations or reduced bookings.

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    Heard of some cancellations. Talked to a charter guy who used to run double trips when possible out of Ninilchik - he wasn't very happy about it.

    I think that the new rules are necessary, but I wish the powers that be would do something more about the waste that happens - trawlers could tighten up a bit and that would help the resource from what I understand (or don't understand).

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    Charters in SE are absolutely booming. Booked solid, and turning lots of people away.

    Looking forward to GAF fish.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by homer View Post
    If a private boat fillets at sea,does the carcass rules apply?
    If you fillet your fish "at sea". Do NOT skin the fillets, or F&G will give you a hefty ticket. It's my understanding they want the skin on the fillets so they can count and determine you have the same number of white fillets as you do brown fillets..

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    Have any of you heard how this has impacted charter bookings? I wonder if they have seen any cancelations or reduced bookings.
    we have had 2 cancellations due to the new regs, but they are from outsiders whom have been comming for a long time. they are meat hunters, and both parties, agreed with the cuts, but thought they would sit out a summer. Many/most non-res folks dont seem to really mind. I think where most of us will see loss of numbers will be in the local clientel. just my thoughts...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    Heard of some cancellations. Talked to a charter guy who used to run double trips when possible out of Ninilchik - he wasn't very happy about it.

    I think that the new rules are necessary, but I wish the powers that be would do something more about the waste that happens - trawlers could tighten up a bit and that would help the resource from what I understand (or don't understand).
    The comercial guys have more lobby and special interest backing than the charter and private fishermen. Lobbying in DC makes decisions and regulations. It wouldn't surprise me that sometime in the future, only the commercial guys will be able to fish or it will become so expensive that only the biggest charters and rich private fishermen will be able to fish. I can also see the charters consolodating so they can compete with the commercial industry. I do agree that the fishery needs to be managed, but I think the management is lop sided.
    “Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

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    The commercial longliners have been taken cut backs for a few years now. My numbers might be a little off but I think they have been cut back about 70% or so. I'm seeing it as lop sided too but it's probably the opposite of your lop sided

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiak kid View Post
    The commercial longliners have been taken cut backs for a few years now. My numbers might be a little off but I think they have been cut back about 70% or so. I'm seeing it as lop sided too but it's probably the opposite of your lop sided
    I think 70% is right for the longliners. I think this Catch Share Plan is a crappy deal but it does serve to manage the charter sector, We are taking a big reduction this year and will continue to do so to meet harvest goals set for our sector. The charter sector got hosed on the allocation number but other than that, the concept of sharing in the conservation burden is fair and necessary. IT would have been a lot easier with an extra million pounds we lost to the longline sector.

    One of the reasons we are in this mess is that the IPHC allowed the longliners to catch way, way, more than they should have for a long period of time and this effort contributed to the decline we are seeing now, so the cuts of 70% were based on an unrealistically high Totally Allowable Catch. During this same time period the charter sector stayed within their reasonable allocation or GHL in our area(3A).

    So you see both sides have made huge sacrifices for the resource and now it is time to look at the Trawlers and ask how it is possible to have 13% of their trips observed and believe that on the other 77% they are counting their by catch of halibut and chinook salmon accurately. They should have observers on their boats 100% of the time. The are taking a 15% reduction on halibut by-catch over 5 years and laughing all the way to the bank!

    The way the restrictions are set up, charter guys like me, who specialize in catching larger halibut, take the majority of the burden because by nature,I attract clients that want big fish. Generally we never keep 29" halibut or smaller and so my clients have reacted worse about this than a lot of others I have talked to.
    I would imagine I will make a little less money this year, but thats the way it goes.

    I don't see consolidation or only commercial guys being able to fish. As a matter of fact, if things continue on the downward trajectory I would imagine that the commercial allocations will get so small, that you will consolidation among longliners and fishing for halibut to become hardly worth the effort.

    I think the public will accept the bag limit reductions just like they did in Southeast Alaska. Shoot they can't even keep one halibut of any size and they are booked up…..I think if we get to a one fish limit, we will lose more clients but we all attract more new ones too. If necessary we can do the sportsman show circuit and compete with the Southeast lodges and take some of their clients too. The bag limits are just way more generous in 3A for almost all species and will likely be that way for a long time. I have passed on the sportsman shows for years because it has not been necessary to fill my boat but I can easily dust off my display and do them again….

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    AK CAPT, I read a little about the Guided Angler Fish (GAF) Program. If charters participate, their clients can retain 2 halibut of any size. (I'm sure this comes with a hefty fee, but might be worth checking out)

    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    The way the restrictions are set up, charter guys like me, who specialize in catching larger halibut, take the majority of the burden because by nature,I attract clients that want big fish. Generally we never keep 29" halibut or smaller and so my clients have reacted worse about this than a lot of others I have talked to.
    I would imagine I will make a little less money this year, but thats the way it goes.

    ….
    "What is it about a beautiful sunny afternoon, with the birds singing and the wind rustling through the leaves, that makes you want to get drunk?” --Jack Handy

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post

    I think the public will accept the bag limit reductions just like they did in Southeast Alaska. Shoot they can't even keep one halibut of any size and they are booked up…..I think if we get to a one fish limit, we will lose more clients but we all attract more new ones too. If necessary we can do the sportsman show circuit and compete with the Southeast lodges and take some of their clients too. The bag limits are just way more generous in 3A for almost all species and will likely be that way for a long time. I have passed on the sportsman shows for years because it has not been necessary to fill my boat but I can easily dust off my display and do them again….
    Lots of factors why lodges are booked up. Good economy for most, really good salmon fishing the last 4 years, AK airlines literally dumping them on our doorstep, and full service lodge style fishing. Here in lower SE AK, halibut fishing is important, and we do it daily to the best of our ability, but most of our clients come for the salmon fishing. They do love bringing home 30-50lbs of halibut each from 3 days of fishing though. We'll get punished when the salmon fishing drops off. Some lodges stay booked up and the guides go to the chicken patch and catch (1) 10lb halibut in about 20 minutes after salmon fishing. Not how I do it, but they have the business model and the clientele to make it work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly Man View Post
    AK CAPT, I read a little about the Guided Angler Fish (GAF) Program. If charters participate, their clients can retain 2 halibut of any size. (I'm sure this comes with a hefty fee, but might be worth checking out)
    Here in SE, each GAF fish is worth 26lbs of IFQ in 2014. Every longliner wants dock price to lease. ($6 a pound) So, we are looking at $156 a halibut. I expect that average to move up to about 60lbs of IFQ in 2015.

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    AKCAPT...and anyone else: How does AK residents using commercial take methods for subsistence fishing fit into this? I have personally observed private individuals setting up longlines for halibut and pulling in multiple fish (subject of this thread) and commercial gillnetters for salmon (sorry, offthread but relevant to rules discussion), and when asked they said they could do this under subsistence rules, with no limits. I've brought this up on several forums here several times and never get any responses, am I the only one observing this (in eastern PWS)? This can have a significant impact, especially in inside waters (like PWS) on the halibut population, and the salmon gill-netters are going inside commercial fishing boundaries and blocking/catching entire wild runs of salmon...BTW: I have no problem with subsistence fishing for personal use or proxy for legitimate individuals such as village elders, physically handicaped individuals etc. I have a BIG problem with selling fish caught under subsistence rules, which I have also observed happening to commercial tenders...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    Here in SE, each GAF fish is worth 26lbs of IFQ in 2014. Every longliner wants dock price to lease. ($6 a pound) So, we are looking at $156 a halibut. I expect that average to move up to about 60lbs of IFQ in 2015.
    So, cost to a charter operator is on a per fish basis. Do charter operators have the freedom to charge clients on a per pound (or other) basis? That would allow for a much more appealing cost for most of the clients, and a better return to the operators for the investment risk they are taking on by purchasing quota. It would also favor the taking of smaller fish, which would keep the jump in weight in 2015 from being quite so large.

    Is it a free market for GAF fish pricing, i.e. can longliners charge whatever the market will bear, up to and beyond dock price?

    Big_E

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    Here in SE, each GAF fish is worth 26lbs of IFQ in 2014. Every longliner wants dock price to lease. ($6 a pound) So, we are looking at $156 a halibut. I expect that average to move up to about 60lbs of IFQ in 2015.
    A GAF fish is not 26 pounds it is 12 pounds

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Ron View Post
    AKCAPT...and anyone else: How does AK residents using commercial take methods for subsistence fishing fit into this? I have personally observed private individuals setting up longlines for halibut and pulling in multiple fish (subject of this thread) and commercial gillnetters for salmon (sorry, offthread but relevant to rules discussion), and when asked they said they could do this under subsistence rules, with no limits. I've brought this up on several forums here several times and never get any responses, am I the only one observing this (in eastern PWS)? This can have a significant impact, especially in inside waters (like PWS) on the halibut population, and the salmon gill-netters are going inside commercial fishing boundaries and blocking/catching entire wild runs of salmon...BTW: I have no problem with subsistence fishing for personal use or proxy for legitimate individuals such as village elders, physically handicaped individuals etc. I have a BIG problem with selling fish caught under subsistence rules, which I have also observed happening to commercial tenders...
    Subsistance is not included in the CSP

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    Quote Originally Posted by vaaler View Post
    So, cost to a charter operator is on a per fish basis. Do charter operators have the freedom to charge clients on a per pound (or other) basis? That would allow for a much more appealing cost for most of the clients, and a better return to the operators for the investment risk they are taking on by purchasing quota. It would also favor the taking of smaller fish, which would keep the jump in weight in 2015 from being quite so large.

    Is it a free market for GAF fish pricing, i.e. can longliners charge whatever the market will bear, up to and beyond dock price?



    Big_E
    The GAF is based on the average sized halibut landed on a charter in your area. in 3A it is 12.6 pounds l believe.
    The lease agreement between charter and commercial is negotiable. If I took my IFQ and went on a chartered commercial longliner they charge 40 - 60% to fish it and I get the balance. I still have to go out on the boat and do some work. For a GAF lease the Shareholder doesn't even have to leave their house and they get the money. So leases range from 50% of the dock price all the way up to the dock price, I guess. I wouldn't pay more than 50% and I know a half dozen longliners or sure holders that would be happy to lease to me. It just depends. It is impossible to determine what next years GAF price will be until we see if anyone uses it. For me, I am going to make sure that I put some smaller fish on the GAF that I use, to balance it out to not be 60 pounds. Same goes for the other guys using it in Seward. If everyone takes a little responsibility for using it and doesn't just use it for 200 pounders, it will work but if we just use it for huge fish, then it is not going to be good to use.
    A charter operator, just like a commercial guy can charge what the market will bear for the GAF.
    in most cases, the regulation bag limit in 3A will be fine. The only time I will use it is on the long range trips where I have 6 guys for three days and they paid a ton of money for their shot.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    A GAF fish is not 26 pounds it is 12 pounds
    I was told it's 12lbs for 3a, and 26lbs for 2c. I wish it was 12lbs. I think the difference is that we are going from "zero", and you are going from a 29" halibut to 2 fish.

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