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Thread: New/Proposed halibut reg's

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    Member Alan Sloka's Avatar
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    Question New/Proposed halibut reg's

    We have our '08 Alaska trip set for Craig and I was checking out the reg's because I know that for '07 there was a change in the halibut limits (2 in poss. but one must be less than 32"). It appears that there may be also a season limit (4 being proposed) or further reduction to possibly one per day. I don't understand all the governing bodies involved but there is a window for public comment on this issue. I should have added the link (duh!), sorry. Anyway, my point with this thread is I'm curious about others opinions about these proposals and is it important enough to send in comments (does anyone listen).

    Al Sloka

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Lets just make charter companies buy commercial quota like all other commercial fishermen
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    The International Pacific Halibut Commission oversees all Halibut fishing (commercial & sport fishing). Here is their link.

    http://www.iphc.washington.edu/halcom/default.htm

    I am sure there is a section for proposals there.

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    Here is another link for the NPFMC website on the halibut discussions. Links for comment are on this page.

    Also comments do work. Some just comment more than others.


    http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/curre...es/halibut.htm

  5. #5

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    May I request that a moderator move this thread to the Alaska Fisheries Management subforum? There is lots of discussion of halibut limits and similar issues over there.

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Sloka View Post
    We have our '08 Alaska trip set for Craig and I was checking out the reg's because I know that for '07 there was a change in the halibut limits (2 in poss. but one must be less than 32"). It appears that there may be also a season limit (4 being proposed) or further reduction to possibly one per day. I don't understand all the governing bodies involved but there is a window for public comment on this issue. I should have added the link (duh!), sorry. Anyway, my point with this thread is I'm curious about others opinions about these proposals and is it important enough to send in comments (does anyone listen).

    Al Sloka

    Hi AL,

    Here is what has transpried recently:
    Looks like there is a fair chance sport fishermen on charterboats in Southeast Alaska will be facing some unusually harsh halibut restrictions this summer.

    Without making this a lesson in Alaskan fisheries managment, unless there is a court injuction or some serious public comments to the govenrment, you will be looking at a one fish bag limit on halibut in area 2C which ranges from Ketchakan to Sitka to Juneau. You can still catch and release all you want.

    Yakutat, Prince William Sound, Seward, Homer, Deep Creek, Ninilcik, Kodiak and beyond WILL STILL HAVE A TWO FISH BAG LIMIT ON HALIBUT.

    If this matters to anyone (really, one decent halibut a day for a few days should be enough to take home) you might want to check with your lodge or guide service at the end of the month, when the final, final decision is made..

    IF ANY OF YOU WANT TO DO SOMTHING ABOUT THIS POLICY HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO:

    Letters Needed to Oppose 1 Fish Bag Limit and Support 6 Fish Annual Limit

    The Secretary of Commerce is taking comments until January 30, 2008 on a NMFS proposal to impose either a two fish daily bag limit with a four fish annual limit or a 1 fish daily bag limit with no annual limit on the Area 2C charter halibut fleet. It is critical that fishermen submit comments opposing the 1 fish daily limit and supporting the two fish daily limit with the modification to allow a six fish annual limit.

    Copies of your comments should be sent to the Governor of Alaska and the Alaska Congressional Delegation. The addresses are shown on the next page.

    Your comments do not have to be lengthy, but they should include the following:

    Your name and address


    An estimate of how much money you spend (in general terms) buying local goods and services (i.e., a rough estimate of how much money your business means to the local economy in terms of food, fuel, airplane charter services, etc.)

    How you get to your lodge/vessels (i.e., do they use Alaska and feeder airlines, just Alaska, or come by cruise ship, so they can see the impact on local transportation)

    Your comments need to be addressed to:

    Sue Salveson
    Assistant Regional Administrator
    Sustainable Fisheries Division
    Alaska Region
    National Marine Fisheries Service
    Attention: Ellen Sebastian
    Re: RIN 0648-AW23


    Your comments can be submitted electronically to

    [url]http://www.regulations.gov

    or by fax to (907) 586-7557

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Default My thoughts on the halibut issue

    This issue has been my winter job/hobby for 12 years. It is really a tough one; obviously if it were so simple as to make charterboat operators buy IFQ then that would have been done long ago.
    It is a complex issue that is straining costal communities thoughout Alaska. The bottom line is that if it were simply a matter of the charter industry reigning itself in, they would have done that. If it were a matter of the longliners reigning in the charter fleet BELEIVE ME they would have buried the charter fleet long ago.

    The problem it that it is the governement's job to regulate fishermen and it is fishermen's job to catch every fish that they are allowed by the government to catch. The five thousand giudes through out the state for the most part are doing their job. As are the 2200 longline IFQ share holders.

    Who is not doing their job? The regualtiors, legislators, and fisheries managers.

    The charter industry should make an effort to except some measure of responsiblity for their actions but....If it is legal to take people out fishing then can you really fault them for doing so? Furthermore the options have almost always been fight or be put out of business.

    My point is that I have spent a significant amount of time finding weakness in the commercail arguments in this battle...Mostly because this has been a battle for the survival of my industry and because it has been an interesting experiment in fisheries management.

    I think our industry is realizing that there is not going to be a resource giveaway and that the guided sector MUST come up with some restrictions that reduce harvest while maintaining as much of what we are currently offering as possible.

    The idea that guides are part of a larger recreational fishing group and that they should not be regualted is an argument that has been largly abandonded as has the idea that the IFQ program can work for the guided sector ( 27 dollars a pound for Q's kind of kills that concept)

    Just my two cents....

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    Unhappy 220swift

    If any one thinks the halibut regulations are harsh now the IPHC recommended a cut for area 2c halibut quota by 27% for 2008 I would asume that all halibut fisherman in this area will be affected.

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    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 220swift View Post
    If any one thinks the halibut regulations are harsh now the IPHC recommended a cut for area 2c halibut quota by 27% for 2008 I would asume that all halibut fisherman in this area will be affected.
    Just go buy your own boat and fish for personal use and sport only.

    Subsistence users can still take their 20 halibut per day, and non-guided folks can still take their 2 fish of any size with no annual limit. It's only the commercial sector that's taken a 27% cut and the guided charter folks who will (very likely) be taking an over 50% cut...

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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    Default Commercial is commercial is commercial is . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by CanCanCase View Post
    . . . It's only the commercial sector that's taken a 27% cut and the guided charter folks who will (very likely) be taking an over 50% cut...
    -Case
    More accurately said, it's end-users who buy their halibut in markets and restaurants who will take a 27% cut—and who will pay more—and end-users who use commercial charters—hopefully subsidizing the cost of the trip with fish—to get their halibut who will maybe take a 50% cut.

    Long-liners (read "commercial") and charters (read "commercial") are simply means for end-users to get fish. . .


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    The charter fleet in 2c is looking at a 50% reduction in bag limit to mirror the 47% reduction that the longliners have taken in the last two years in 2C. With that said, a reduction in longline caught halibut will likley raise the x vessel price.
    A bag limit reduction in the charter fleet will serve to reduce demand and the product is less desirable and this could cause the price of a trip to go down.

    Thus the law of supply and demand in the commercail sector is not necessarily proportional to the charter sector.
    So commercail is not necessarily commercail when comparing the result of a specific managment action.

    One way or the other all users are feeling the pinch except it seems the subsistance users....

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    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    ...Long-liners (read "commercial") and charters (read "commercial") are simply means for end-users to get fish. . .

    ...
    I'll go for that. Now, what is it called when a subsistence permit holder sets a skate and bags 20 fish per day? It seems to me, that's a "means for end-users to get fish." How about a lodge that gives their clients a bare-boat? That, again, is the end-user getting their fish. And the life-long Alaska resident who wants meat in their freezer so they go spend $200K on a nice boat and some gear to go catch their own fish. Once again... end-users getting their fish. The real question is if we're all just "end users getting fish", why don't we all have the same rules to fish by? 9 out of 10 times my boat leaves the dock, I'm not even allowed to fish since I'm driving the boat for some other "end-user to get fish." When may I put out a line with 1000 hooks on it to get my fish?

    Oh, and I don't want to argue semantics here, but if the "end-user" were truly getting their fish, wouldn't they have to be the ones holding the rod or gaffing the fish as it comes from the water? A long-liner catching a fish doesn't seem like an "end-user" no matter how we spin the definition...

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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    Default Free market, rising prices, and more. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by CanCanCase View Post
    . . . A long-liner catching a fish doesn't seem like an "end-user" no matter how we spin the definition...
    -Case
    An end-user, regardless of how he got his hands on the fish, is the person who eats the fish. "Commercial," whether long-liners or charters, subsistence, private anglers, etc. are nothing more than means employed by end-users to get their fish.

    CAPT: That's the free-market in operation, adjusting price in terms of supply and demand. Incidentally, the reason a trip might be less desirable with a one-fish limit has nothing to do with the fish—halibut is halibut. The reason a trip might (probably) be less desirable is because the price per pound would go up—same as what the folks who want to get halibut in stores and restaurants will have to endure when the long-line catch is/was reduced.

    Let's face it—rising energy prices and depleted resources are going to end up costing us all. You gotta wonder at what point there won't be any people who can afford or afford to get to the commercial charters or for how long the public will absorb rising prices for halibut in stores and restaurants. Farmed catfish, anyone? . . .


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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    An end-user, regardless of how he got his hands on the fish, is the person who eats the fish. "Commercial," whether long-liners or charters, subsistence, private anglers, etc. are nothing more than means employed by end-users to get their fish....
    I have to disagree here (I DO still have that right, yes?)
    A supermarket or restaurant is a means employed by end-users to get their fish. A long-line boat is a means employed by a seafood processor to get their fish which is then passed along a chain of product and value-addition before it does, eventually, get to the end user.

    On a charter boat, the guy holding the rod and actually catching the fish is the one who eats it... the "end-user."

    I don't know where the line of distinction lies, but calling a long-liner an "end-user" seems to make about as much sense as reasoning that a hard-rock miner assigned my kids' school homework because the miner got the steel that made my mini-van that took the kids to school in the first place.

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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    I guess one could look at this problem as more of a symptom of the human condition than a current problem effecting the livelyhood and open access right of Americans. Either way it is too bad that things have become what they are . Especially for those of us like Case and Myself who have been doing this for a long time, invested in the industry and have the best interest of the recreational fisherman at heart.

    Spin the issue however you want, I would have rather seen the last 20% of the operators who got in/ get cut out of it and allow the 80% who have been doing this be allowed to offer our clients a decent day of bottomfishing. Now everyone gets to stay in the this great business and only the guides in South Central can offer a full halibut trip....
    It is just a shame anyway you look at it.

    Like I said blaming the longliners would be easy but really the State and Feds are to blame for not controlling what as happening to our industry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CanCanCase View Post
    . . . calling a long-liner an "end-user" seems to make about as much sense as reasoning that a hard-rock miner assigned my kids' school homework because the miner got the steel that made my mini-van that took the kids to school in the first place.
    -Case
    Case, if you think I'm calling long-liners "end-users," you are mistaken or I worded something badly. Long-liners are not end-users, they are a means of getting fish to end-users—the consumers.

    CAPT: Of course you do. . . that's called self-interest, and it may, in fact, be the fairest thing to do. . . don't know.

    As for spin, there's no spin, just what is. Too many people have too quickly climbed aboard a slow-moving train, hoping for an easy (relatively speaking) ride, and now the engine's bogging down. Simple as that.

    Personally, I could care less. . . halibut is dry and tasteless to my palate. My theory is nobody eats halibut, one eats what is put on the halibut—beer batter, mayo, etc., etc. . . . Heck, I much prefer sockeye or even ocean-caught, canned pinks to halibut.


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    Default for capt, and cancan

    I have a question....how many of your charters in that area are from cruise ships? Or just plain tourists? Give us a good guess if you would.

    Capt we've discussed this issue before and I believe limiting participants is the only real way to go. I just hope in the end it's as fair as possible.

    I ask the above question in regards to your idea of not a one day/one fish limit but a 6 per year. My guess is the majority of the commercial charter clients would never get 6 per year and that it would then impact either
    a) alaskans
    b) no one really. and therefore do no good at all.

    Also are the restrictions to be time based? By that I'm meaning are they for a month or all year?
    Thanks for the conversation!!

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    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    It's a good question that will have a different answer depending on which charter you're talking to in any given year. For me, and in recent history, only 2% of my bottomfish trips (2006 and 2007) were cruise passengers. The rest were a (roughly) 60/40 split... 60% Alaska residents and 40% non-resident visitors.

    The majority of cruise ship passengers don't want to spend more than $100 per person on an excursion, and unless you're in Hoonah, there isn't good halibut fishing that close to town. The ships are also shortening port times every year (all the better to profit in the casinos!). If we were talking about salmon fishing, however, nearly 100% of the 1/2 day salmon trips would be cruise passengers and non-residents.

    The annual limit debate has 3 sides... Lodge clients can very easily reach a 3 or 4 fish annual limit in a one week trip... at least with a 6 fish annual they can keep fishing each day. If the bulk of one's business is 1-day (or 1/2 day) trips, the annual limit could be smaller in exchange for higher bag limits. On the other hand, I'd like my Dad to come out and fish with me as often as possible. With a line limit, he can't fish an open seat on my boat unless he pays for the charter. Fine. Last year he went on 12 charters that cost him $1 each. Now if we have an annual limit, he'll quickly reach that limit, and be technically prohibited from fishing halibut near home.

    I think the intent is to make the restrictions last the full year. With such a short tourist season here, many operations cried (loudly) when a 1 or 2 month closure was proposed since it killed a good number of existing bookings. I know last year, when the 1-fish limit was announced (and later changed to 1+1 under 32") I had to refund almost $12K when pre-booked clients called to cancel their trips.

    -Case


    Quote Originally Posted by Akbrownsfan View Post
    I have a question....how many of your charters in that area are from cruise ships? Or just plain tourists? Give us a good guess if you would.

    Capt we've discussed this issue before and I believe limiting participants is the only real way to go. I just hope in the end it's as fair as possible.

    I ask the above question in regards to your idea of not a one day/one fish limit but a 6 per year. My guess is the majority of the commercial charter clients would never get 6 per year and that it would then impact either
    a) alaskans
    b) no one really. and therefore do no good at all.

    Also are the restrictions to be time based? By that I'm meaning are they for a month or all year?
    Thanks for the conversation!!
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Case, if you think I'm calling long-liners "end-users," you are mistaken or I worded something badly. Long-liners are not end-users, they are a means of getting fish to end-users—the consumers...
    Marcus-

    I'll share the blame with ya... Perhaps I was mistaken in my interpretation of your alleged "badly worded" statement. Sound fair? ;-)

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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    Default Thanks!!

    Thank you Case! I would have thought you'd have more cruise ship passengers as up here in Anchorage that is usaually where the "blame" on the increasing # of charters placed.

    Also your dad doesn't actually have to keep a halibut to have fun does he? I would think one a day or even 6 per year is more than enough for most people. Can you target Rock sole? (that is just my curiosity there as I LOVE to eat rock sole. and always wondered how easy/hard they would be to catch)

    Thanks for the reply.

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