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Thread: Halibut /one any size/one 29 inch or less.

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    Default Halibut /one any size/one 29 inch or less.

    Looking for feedback on new regulation for charter boats of one Halibut any size and one 29 inches or less. Those of you that have taken charters this year, will you charter in the future with the new regs in place?

    This pertains to area 3A central gulf, Homer,Valdez,Seward,Whittier, etc.

  2. #2
    Charterboat Operator kodiakcombo's Avatar
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    it is basically one fish unless you want to wound a lot of halibut sorting thru them for a 29 incher! I will not sort thru a bunch of halibut to get 2lbs of meat? terrible reg. Another example of gov at work!
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    I'll likely still fish, but it's getting tough to justify. Wish they could figure out a better way, but I don't have the solution.

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    It is a pain, but you still can go home with some meat. Get the small keeper out of the way 1st. Then you don't risk having to toss a big fish back. We had to leave a spot that were catching 40# plus fish to go chase <29" fish. Seemed backwards. Maybe a better rule would be to toss back everything over 90 or 100 lbs. Leave the breeders behind. Do something similar for the commercial guys as well

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I think the rule is going to prove to be counterproductive. My in-laws went on a half day charter out of Homer that hits the chicken patch. Even on a boat such as this, they still had to turn lose 4-6 halibut each to find a second fish under 29". I fear that the release mortality of such an increased number of caught and released fish is going to wipe out any savings to the biomass that the regulation was designed to achieve.

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    I am with Brian on this, I think the fish handling mortality is going to be high on the smaller fish. I know of at least one premium charter operator who doesn't even fish for the small fish. You book on his boat, you are looking for one fish and he's looking for a big one. (You can guess who that is)


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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    If it were legal to keep 4 fish under 32" I'd never keep one bigger.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    We took a charter this year. It was a pain because we caught a number of fish that were too big to be the small one and too small to be the big one. fortunately not that many for the 6 of us (I think 7?). He took extreme care of the ones we returned, not taking them out of the water if it was obvious it fit the above criteria. I don't know the answer, maybe keep less than 60 inches and let everything else go? Realizing letting the bigger ones go presents its own problems. I'll continue to do our once a year charter (myself and daughters so one trip is usually plenty of fish).

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    The way I saw it, the "1 under 29 inch" rule was to appease those that said that a 1 fish limit would kill the charter industry in SC. It's ridiculous, and just rip off the bandaid and go down to one fish.

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    There has been a lady doing a survey at the Anchor Point Tractor Launch. I do not know if she has been talking with the charters or not. She asks how many fish the boat caught and how many was released. When she was asked why she needed to know the release number, she was not wanting to respond. When pressured a little as to why that info was important she finally stated that they (unknown who they are) figure that 60% of the released fish will die. In my mind (twisted as it may be) they are going to add that 60% to the number of fish caught and say we are catching too many fish and they will cut the catch back to 1. I agree that we need some control, the 29" or less for the chartes is not a good thing. Maybe we need a halibut card, like the King and put a reasonable number on it so that people do not go out day after day and just keep limiting out. You can only eat so much halibut.
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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Thunder View Post
    Maybe we need a halibut card, like the King and put a reasonable number on it so that people do not go out day after day and just keep limiting out. You can only eat so much halibut.
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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    6% mortality rate not 60%……. The rule has a number of problems and I would venture to say that it will be fixed by next season.

    Problems include, increasing release mortality, by forcing more handling of halibut
    Anglers are keeping a larger first fish to balance out the old 12.5 average. So now the first fish in probably 20 pounds and rthe second in 10 pounds so more pounds of fish are being taken.


    The good news is it makes slaughtering a huge load of halibut much more difficult. With only one nice fish per angler possible, the days of deck loading a charter boat with hog halibut is impossible.

    Outside of Alaska, the charter ( for hire) bag limit is almost never lower than the private boat bag limit. The reason they avoid this else where is that they know that fishermen will just choose a private boat or rental boat for the better bag limit and conservation goals will not be met.

    Punishing charter clients for the fact that there are too many charter boats does not make sense.
    From where I am sitting if there is too much charter effort, then the effort should be reduced, not the bag limit
    Charter anglers and private anglers both use the same license and they are both fishing for fun and food.

    IF charter boat owners are the problem then restrict their efforts in some way but keep the bag limits the same for both.

    Annual limits really don't result in much savings on charter boats. There are only a small number of anglers who keep more than three limits or 6 halibut. Most of them were captains and crews, who are no longer allowed to keep any.

    I think if we had 5 or 6 "starts" a week in July for halibut, we would meet the conservation goals and fish salmon or something else a day or two a week in July and if that is not enough then look at the same for August.

    I would way rather have two fish of any size - a quality trip that had a high demand and just run 4 or 8 less halibut trips a year, than any other option.

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    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    I am with Brian on this, I think the fish handling mortality is going to be high on the smaller fish. I know of at least one premium charter operator who doesn't even fish for the small fish. You book on his boat, you are looking for one fish and he's looking for a big one. (You can guess who that is)


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    I agree with most of what you posted, though not this part

    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    Charter anglers and private anglers both use the same license and they are both fishing for fun and food.
    (

    Seems like you're implying that they should be treated the same, but in 3A, as I'm sure you're aware, charter anglers were ~2/3rds the sport catch in 2012 (2,284,261lbs vs 1,341,494). To me, it makes sense focus on that portion of the sport catch first before restricting private anglers. In 2C, it's a different story of course....

    http://www.npfmc.org/wp-content/PDFd...2_09-11-13.pdf

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    I like it that you did your homework. I agree that charters should be restricted first but I think the way to restrict them is not by a lower bag limit. The restriction should come by reducing effort of the charters. It is not our client's fault that our sector is taking more halibut than the Council would like us to. Screwing our clients is killing our business and not achieving conservation goals.

    IT would be like the USDA determining that there are too many cattle ranchers, so they decide the best way to restrict their activities is to allow for some rancid meat to be sold and then the demand for a good healthy product would go down, because consumers didn't like the product anymore and there would be less ranchers grazing cattle. Twisted logic.

    In our case, I think we should preserve the quality of the trip and reduce the number of trips to meet the conservation goal. Then there would be a high demand for our service and when we fished halibut, the boats would be full and clients much happier
    .
    At least then we could offer a good trip, equal treatment for all recreational fishermen on any given day

    I am sure there will be time to look at this is the fall and have a good discussing about how to proceed but this is the lesser of two evils as I see it right now. I am sure I will get a chance to hear from everyone in the charter industry when the season is over. I am too tired and busy to have this discussion here and now.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.No View Post
    I agree with most of what you posted, though not this part

    (

    Seems like you're implying that they should be treated the same, but in 3A, as I'm sure you're aware, charter anglers were ~2/3rds the sport catch in 2012 (2,284,261lbs vs 1,341,494). To me, it makes sense focus on that portion of the sport catch first before restricting private anglers. In 2C, it's a different story of course....

    http://www.npfmc.org/wp-content/PDFd...2_09-11-13.pdf

  16. #16

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    In SE, I would be very upset if they ever went back to even 1 halibut, any size. I'd probably get out of the business. There are so many big halibut around now, that the first 3 years would be a slaughter, and then we'd be right back where we started... all pounding the chicken patches for 12lb halibut with the occasional big one. I wouldn't mind the reverse slot shrinking a bit though.

    Right now, this time of year, a guy can get a 25-30lb average easily (under 2 hours soak time) for six clients, within a few miles of where he gets his limits of salmon. It was never that way 5 years ago. If I don't have at least 2 halibut right at 44", I'm scratching my head. You really have to see what reduced limits does for the fishery to appreciate it.(I'm talking both commercial and charter) I wouldn't go back to the old days of 2 halibut, any size. I just know where that leads. I hope that in the next 5 years, we'll be able to drop our salmon rods down and get a 30lb average, like they said you could do 30 years ago around here.

    Granted, most charters down here don't even want to put in the effort to chase a nicer grade of halibut, so our average size is pretty low.. and that's fine with me.

  17. #17
    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    I am glad to hear that you guys are making that reduction work out. Here in 3A with so many resident angler clients - the next two weeks are all Oil Field company exclusives - The lower bag limit is going to result in a huge shift for our resident clients to going on friends boats or buying one or taking a rental boat out instead of a reverse slot limit trip on a charter or it is going to force me to limit on rockfish, lingcod and salmon in addition to the one halibut.
    This year our fishing is much better than it has been in the last eight years and our bag limit has been two fish of any size, so it is hard to say that this is a result of any change in our behavior. With the consistency of the 2C salmon runs, massive marketing from lodges to out of state clients and the cruise ship clients that we do not get, it is really hard to compare 2C and 3A management measure and how they will work out.

    Most of us up here feel like we NEED to offer the same limits are private boat anglers, for the resasons I stated before. The 2C charter fleet has grown faster, is connected to big dollar lodges, and had a long history of exceeding their allocation. The 3A fleet is mostly year round resident, owner operators that cater to Alaskan fishermen and out of state "meat fishermen".

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    Member redleader's Avatar
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    The Charter limits needed reduced, now just get rid of the 29" mess and go to 1 fish or change it to 45" or so.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Something along the lines of

    The bag limits for halibut are 3 fish per day, 6 in possession with a seasonal bag limit of 9 fish for residents and 6 for non-residents.
    All halibut under 50" must be retained and recorded on the angler's licence before either resuming fishing, or getting underway.
    The seasonal bag limit for halibut over 50" is two fish per resident and one fish per non-resident.
    Once a halibut of 50" or more is retained angler's must cease fishing for the day.
    In areas where filleting at sea is permitted, the carcasses must be kept whole and retained until they can be disposed of on shore. Carcasses and fillets must be presented to LEO's upon request up to the point of legal disposal.

    Make the halibut limit sensible. Allow/encourage people to keep smaller fish that have a higher post-catch mortality while retaining the option of bigger fish. Structuring the limit this way essentially prohibits catch and release but allows for the release of large females that have a much lower post-catch mortality. A limit structure like this would also make charters economically more attractive for residents.
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  20. #20
    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redleader View Post
    The Charter limits needed reduced, now just get rid of the 29" mess and go to 1 fish or change it to 45" or so.
    The problem with going to one fish is that it changes our clients behavior. If we go to one fish, clients will want to keep one decent sized fish, at least 25 or 30 pounds. before when we had two of any size, the average was 12.5 pounds. If we go to one fish, and the average goes to 25 pounds…..The harvest will not be reduced.
    If we go to a reverse slot, like 2C that can control that behavior ( it has in 2C), what is left is a regulation that local resident anglers will not pay to do on a charter, thus killing the charter industry or shifting effort to slower growing fish like rockfish or lingod…..
    This is a very complicated issue. Erin in AK brings a different and interesting suggestion though….While we can't directly manage different halibut limits for resident and non resident anglers, and a 3 fish per day limit will never fly, the idea of a fish of a certain size having a low annual limit is interesting.
    Two fish of any size, with an annual limit of 6 halibut and allowing one fish over 45" per year per angler is an interesting option that none has analyzed yet.

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