I just returned from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Portland.
Here are the facts:
1) The Council is moving forward with a limited entry program as expected.
2) The allocation between charters and longliners is a discussion that is back on the table for the stakeholders group. Therefore the GHL is not a hard cap as has been discussed and discussion is open for some increases to help the charter industry get out of the situation they are in.
3) The IPHC rules for commercial vessels are going to be moved through the NMFS quickly but the rulings against charters are not. They are being looked at legally and other alternatives are being considered to those suggested by the IPHC.
What the heck does that mean? Well I take that to mean one of two things
1) NMFS thinks it is either legally unadvisable or politically unadvisable to pass those regs on
2) NMFS is going to wait until people stop focusing some much attention on the ruling and then sign off on it and pass it when we forget about it in a few months.
So obviously the public’s effort to oppose it has slowed things down, on that decision.
The political pressure is going to stay high as the charter industry is sending representatives, to DC every week from now until June 15th….
Finally, I did see both commercial and charter industry members and the council acknowledging that there is an end to this mess and that everyone agrees on several steps needed to get to that end. There are some points that are going to still be a nasty battle but there are others that both sectors can agree on.
Allocation - nasty fight
Moratorium - Friendly agreement
Long term solution of some kind - Friendly agreement
Future representation on Council + IPHC by charters- ? Nasty fight?
Council’s need to move rapidly on all of these issues? Friendly agreement
I am only delivering this information to this forum,.......don't shoot the messenger!