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Thread: SouthEast Charter boats get a reprieve on Halibut.

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    Default SouthEast Charter boats get a reprieve on Halibut.

    http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/432116.html

    Quote Originally Posted by From linked article
    A federal judge today blocked a new fishing rule cutting the number of halibut that Southeast Alaska charter boat anglers can catch each day from two to one.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
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    Thats just great. Resource in trouble, not enough fish period down there, and a JUDGE ignores science huh? I'll read his comments before I make any of mine. Maybe he's a trained bio or has problems with the new enumerations that IPHC is using.

  3. #3

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    Aside from not being in the correct forum (this is a management issue, hopefully the moderators will move it before it gets too long):

    That is a temporary,10-day, restraining order based on a "narrow procedural" issue; I doubt it will droves of people book out-of-state trips in the hope that the limit will change back to 2 fish.

    We'll see.....in 10 days

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akbrownsfan View Post
    Thats just great. Resource in trouble, not enough fish period down there, and a JUDGE ignores science huh? I'll read his comments before I make any of mine. Maybe he's a trained bio or has problems with the new enumerations that IPHC is using.
    You think the Secretary of Commerce's decision to reduce the charter boat limit was based on science (rather than politics?). Wow.

    Also, if you read the article, the judge only issue a temporary restraining order. This will allow the charters to continue with the 2-fish limit (and hopefully stay in business) while the court sorts out the actual merits of the lawsuit.

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    I wonder if the same Judge would allow us 2 stokers to use our boats for dipnetting this year...

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesch View Post
    Aside from not being in the correct forum (this is a management issue, hopefully the moderators will move it before it gets too long):
    I started to post it there, but felt it also pertained to fishing in that tourists looking for updates on the S.E. issue would most likely miss it elsewhere....If the mods deem it needs to be moved, not a problem.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
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    Good news!! now if they would ease up on the chinook limit maybe some of these guys could survive

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    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Default

    Just a side note... both the IPHC and the NPFMC have stated that the biomass for North Pacific Halibut is healthy - actually, the word used in the last report was "good" with "stock levels on the increase". We're actually on an "up-swing" cycle, and the 2010 numbers are forecast to be high once again.

    Sure, there's localized over-fishing in popular areas, but there always will be. This is not (and has not ever been) a resource protection issue. There are plenty for everyone. This is a political resource privatization issue and the argument is over allocation of fishing rights, not whether there are enough fish.

    In 2007, the Sec'y of Commerce wrote that a 1-fish guided-sport limit in 2C would not sufficiently reduce impact on halibut stocks. He also wrote that since the IPHC's data suggested that stocks were good, there was no need to cause harm to the charter businesses and coastal communities that depended on sport fishing for income.

    In 2008, the same Sec'y of Commerce went against his own ruling from the previous year and implemented the 1-fish restriction on guided sport anglers without any justification or reason given for going back on his previous statement.

    The TRO issued today is so that both sides in the case can further prepare their arguments for another hearing scheduled for next week. The Fed's defense was pretty funny to read, and very uninformed and poorly prepared to begin with.

    If this WERE a resource issue, I would be in complete support of very restrictive limits if they were applied across the board to all anglers. But like all legal issues, what you do for one group of people, you're supposed to do for all, so to only limit GUIDED anglers in 2C (while you and I can catch larger limits if we are on our own boats or up in another part of the state) is just plain unfair.

    At least that's my take on the matter for right now. Oh, and since it's a matter of public record and in the interests of full disclosure, I'm one of the charter operators who brought the suit in the first place.

    Happy Fishing!
    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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    Case, if it's not a resource issue, why have the commercial IFQ's been slashed by more than 40% over the past few years? I agree that the cut should be shared by all, not just chartered anglers, but to suggest that it's not a resource issue flies in the face of the cuts already made.

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    Question Not sure where to look?

    Sorry for the lack of effort on my part...but I am sure someone who reads these here forums that is very invested in this issue knows the answer to these questions....

    How man tons of fish does the commercial industry harvest in the SE area per year?

    How many tons of by-catch do the commercial industry have in the SE area per year?

    How many breading fish do the commercial industry harvest in the SE area per year?

    How man tons of fish does the Charter Industry remove in the SE area per year?

    How many tons of by-catch does the Charter Industry have in the SE area per year?

    How many breading fish do the Charter Industry harvest in the SE area per year?

    Not trying to prove a point...just asking for numbers.

    Thanks!
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    Also can, (I like you and think are a good poster and guide..........er charter)

    What Brian said.

    Also so do you think that NOTHING needs done with the charter fleet? That ulimited growth either in numbers of boats or fishing days or clients is not a problem? Or that it doesn't exist? I think you think something needs done don't you?

    I want you and other charters protected. I don't think we need new charters in business. I think if you limit how many there are you could charge more and make more money. (that is a joke as I've heard it said before regarding the commercial guys)

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    Default

    Also CanCan would you provide a link about your comment is not a resouce issue? Cause everything I've read from NMFMC to NMFS to IPHC says it is. I would like to be informed on this issue and am sure others do to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akbrownsfan View Post
    Also so do you think that NOTHING needs done with the charter fleet?
    I think nothing needs to be done. The economy, fuel prices, and a low abundance of kings is going to regulate the growth of the charter industry.

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    Default calm down...

    when the price of diesel levels out ...someday... there will be fewer charters and fewer commercial fishermen.
    the biggest difference will be that the charter catch will go down as a result, but the commercial catch will simply shift to those that buy the IFQ's off the "losers" and become "winners".
    Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
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    Default Nothing needs to be done?

    I would think that anyone familiar with the problems in 2C would say that something needs to be done but the problem is that the Council and IPHC are so stacked against the Charter industry and are so heavily influenced by the commercial sector that getting a fair and equitable solution like other fisheries in other states is unlikely. So it looks like the only reasonable action is to look to the judicial system for what is really fair.

    I concede that there are a lot of charters, catching a lot of fish in a small area but until the options for managing the industry are not ones that will cause financial ruin, I think we will be making decisions in court. Without representation and transparancy in the process the lawyers will be deciding.

    This decision just goes to show that there is some merit in the arguments that were presented to the Judge by our side. TRO's for federal fisheries decisions are not that common. Should be interesting to see what happens in the next few days. If I were a member of the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association I would be mad. Since I am not, I am very happy that my brothers in SE Alaska can have a season this year.....

    Go get um Case!!! Make sure you get two for each person every day, you paid for the privilige. Congrats!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Case, if it's not a resource issue, why have the commercial IFQ's been slashed by more than 40% over the past few years? I agree that the cut should be shared by all, not just chartered anglers, but to suggest that it's not a resource issue flies in the face of the cuts already made.
    Brian: I've not been involved in the commercial side of the halibut fishery much over my lifetime in the state, so maybe my understanding of the IFQ is overly-simplified (or maybe just wrong.)
    As I understand it, your "Quota Share" (QS or IFQ) represents a percentage of whatever the IPHC says is "Total Allowable Catch" (TAC). So theoretically, if the biologists say, "Go catch 10 million pounds this season" and you have a 1% QS, you go and catch 100K lbs. of fish to fill your quota. In a nutshell, does that work as a basic explanation of how that segment works?
    If so, that raises my question: Was your IFQ "slashed", or was the TAC reduced? I don't think anyone told you, "okay, last year you had a 1% share, but this year you only have a .6% share." My understanding is that in a small, localized area (2C) there are less fish available, so overall catch probably needs to be reduced.
    Now for the "deep" part of the argument: in a year or two, when TAC increases again, a commercial guy with his IFQ can go back out and catch a historically high number of fish. Meanwhile all of my clients have gotten the message that "you can keep 2 fish in Homer and only 1 in Elfin Cove - fish in Homer!" We all have to take a hit when TAC decreases, but when it increases again, it's nearly impossible to rebound if your business relies on clients rather than fish. (If California opened up a 3 fish per day limit on sport caught halibut, how many sportsmen do you think would line up for that fishery which has a reputation for small fish few and far between?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Akbrownsfan View Post
    Also can, (I like you and think are a good poster and guide..........er charter)

    What Brian said.

    Also so do you think that NOTHING needs done with the charter fleet? That ulimited growth either in numbers of boats or fishing days or clients is not a problem? Or that it doesn't exist? I think you think something needs done don't you?

    I want you and other charters protected. I don't think we need new charters in business. I think if you limit how many there are you could charge more and make more money. (that is a joke as I've heard it said before regarding the commercial guys)
    No, guides/charters need to be limited for sure. Somebody is going to get cut out, and I honestly hope it's the newest entries into the fishery and the non-residents to begin with. Did you know this is supposed to be a qualifying year for the Federal moratorium on halibut charters? How great is it that I have to log a given number of halibut trips this year or else I won't be able to take clients fishing for halibut next year and into the future? Oh, wait... 2/3 of the halibut trips I had booked for this summer just cancelled and went to Homer and Ninilchik! Unless I hustle up several more trips in the next 3 months (rare to find a short-notice halibut trip leaving from Juneau) I don't get to qualify in 2008!

    Quote Originally Posted by Akbrownsfan View Post
    Also CanCan would you provide a link about your comment is not a resouce issue? Cause everything I've read from NMFMC to NMFS to IPHC says it is. I would like to be informed on this issue and am sure others do to.
    I don't have my research notes handy... I'll work on digging up specifics while my boat's in the yard getting a new lower unit.
    The way I see it (personal justification of my comment) is that there are plenty of fish for everyone. King Salmon up and down the Pacific Coast - now THERE'S a resource issue! There just flat out aren't enough of them to go around this year, so commercial fisheries are being closed in some states, sport fisheries are getting severely reduced limits, dams are being torn down to rebuild habitat, etc... now THAT'S a "resource issue".
    With Halibut in Alaska, there are still plenty to go around, and sport limits aren't being reduced. Commercial halibut fisheries aren't being closed down, and neighboring areas still get to fish.
    I guess another way of putting it is that this is an allocation battle rather than a resource or "conservation" issue. It's not the supply that's too low, it's the demand that's too high. Can anyone show me anywhere else in the nation where commercial fishing accounts for more than 80% of a fishery involving a popular sport fish?

    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    ...Go get um Case!!! Make sure you get two for each person every day, you paid for the privilige. Congrats!
    I hope my clients who cancelled were able to book with you... I've been referring as fast as I can! (Maybe I could stay in business as a broker and collect commissions for all the trips I'm selling in 3A!) ;-)

    Time to go train my new deck hand. Good fishing to everyone!
    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Default well said

    I would agree with everything Case has said and another interesting point I I was a halibut IFQ share holder and long line fishermen for many years) is the ex vessel price. If the TAC goes down the long line sector will often see a price increase in response to increased demand with a limited supply. Conversly when the charter " oppertunity" is cut in half the supply of clients goes down and the price will have to go down too. Since there are less fish to be caught on a given trip.

    In 3A we are not seeing an increase in out of state clients, instead I have a girl in our office explaining to the few that are traveling up here to fish that in fact all of Alaska is NOT under a one halibut bag limit. That seems to be the public's preception, except for the clients that Case is sending up my way.

    So this regulation has hurt the entire industry and now looks like it will not hold up to legal scrutiny. My feeling is it is time of the Longline and Processing sectors to come back to the table with some more " fair and equitable" alternatives to allow the charter industry to be able to survive - or - We will all spend out last dollars seeing them in court.

    I would way rather default on my federal boat loan and spend the boat payment in court than I would fish under a one fish bag limit. I would take a slot limit for two fish - or - a limited entry program - or- some kind of reasonable allocation based on angler days - or -one fish any size and one giant - if you can catch it....There are plenty of options without killing our industry.

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    Default

    So if it hurts you it's bad if it hurts someone else (commercial fishers) it's ok? That kind of logic or lack thereof makes no sense to me.

    CanCan your thoughts on how IFQ works are pretty much right. Still I don't see how you don't think the commercial sector was cut? You are correct that each IFQ holder gets X % of the overall qoata whatever that is. Since the overall TAC was decreased by 40% that means each IFQ holder in 2C has had his catch reduced by 40%. Simple math.

    I love hearing Charters talk about how if the commercial guys get less fish they will make more money. Like a commercial fisher tells the buyer what the price is. From what I hear, Brian would know more, is that this year the price has fallen even though the catch is less. So that theory doesn't hold water really. That's as simple an idea as me saying well, if there are less overall charters the pool of clients would be the same so you could charge more and make more money so why don't you want to do that? From your end (charters) that more than likely sounds dumb. The issue is way more complicated than that.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default question for the charter operators

    What happens if client hooks onto a halibut greater than 32" in length if it is his/her second fish? Is it released without much difficulty or harm? Line cut? Just wondering what goes on in reality out there...do you guys have clients who are after a monster and they want to let smaller fish go and thus technically they are catching more than two fish anyway?


  20. #20

    Default Commerical Quota's

    Math has never been my strong suite but from what I see, the COMM folks in 2C started with 2389 initial entrants into the IFQ plan, or should I say given a natural resource. Then to date there are 1302 with IFQ's.

    Now my math has that as 46 percent drop in people fishing IFQ's in 2C. So if they started with 2389 people fishing for 9,000,000 pounds in 1995 then today we have 1302 people fishing for 6,210,000 that equates too:

    31 percent drop in allocation from 1995 to 2008
    45.5 percent drop in IFQ holders from 1995 to 2008

    So the people left to fish haven't lost any they have gained 15 percent by buying people out, and that was their choice to do so.

    When they were initially given our resource, didn't the permit say that they could be taken without compensation at any time?

    Everyone has to give and take equally when it comes to this resource.

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