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Thread: Don't cancel your June Charter yet again!

  1. #1
    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Default Don't cancel your June Charter yet again!

    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

    OR

    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!
    Last edited by Daveinthebush; 02-10-2007 at 16:43. Reason: language

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for the update. This will only get worse before it will get better.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  3. #3

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    "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." QUOTE

    I'll add my .02 worth

    Allocation - nasty fight with some teeth from the sport side for once, AK sportsfishing Allinance, ACA hiring a lobbist, and RFA with their lawyers.

    Moratorium - Friendly agreement because commercials did not lose anything.

    Long term solution of some kind - Friendly agreement until it gets to item 1 "Allocation"

    Future representation on Council + IPHC by charters- ? Nasty fight? Yeah

    Council’s need to move rapidly on all of these issues? Friendly agreement, This was so the Moratorium date is not put in Jepardy by delays. This could be a problem if the council decides on a high minimum trip threshold, If it decides on the 10 trip threshold, a total of 213 businesses and 243 boats will be cut. My guess would be that a lawsuit would be filed, because these operator's were in before the Dec 09, 2005 control date.
    Frank
    Alaska Wildrose Charters and Cabins
    www.wildroselodge.com

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Default Opinions

    I have been attending these meetings since this issue first came up and I can tell you that the commercial industry wants this issue resolved ....now. The charter industry is closer to consensus on how things need to go than ever and I would think that baring any meltdown in the process, there is light at the end of a very, very long, dark tunnel.

    As a long time participant in the process, I have never seen more unified support for any plan before the Council.

    While ACA and the RFA have spent many years and thousands of dollars on this issue
    (charters and sport fishermen, should be thankful for their hard work on this issue), but allocation will not be decided by lawyers.

    It will be decided within the framework of the Council, beginning at the stakeholders group. It should be an interesting discussion and debate. I would think the charter industry will get some more fish but not a lot.

    As far as lawsuits, there have been moratoriums in other areas that excluded vessels based on lack of participation and they withstood legal challenges. The 10 trip number will reduce the fleet but the excluded vessels that ran less than 10 charters in a year. However those permits would end up being used much more and therefore increasing the harvest in the future well beyond what the current fleet is catching

    If they want to get back in that bad, I doubt a 6 pack charter permit is going to be worth that much money. I guess we will see if that will happen, but I doubt it

    When I studied fisheries management in college, I learned a good fisheries management decision was often one that was the least worst decision. Not the best decision.
    If everyone is a little pissed off about it, it is likely that kind of decision.

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    I am sure you guys can guess my opinion on all of this.

    Myself and everyone in my network is for the Moratorium with the 20 plus trips for each of the two years required to qualify.

    I agree with AKCAPT that just because there is a moratorium doesnt limit the growth. Like I have said before that rewards a new guy who meets the original qualifying criteria because he was doing 21 or more trips for each of the two years. But it doesnt stop him from averaging 100 from then on. Thus my arguement that the Moratorium is a step in the right direction but ultimately without a real plan has no teeth and just rewards the new comer with no consideration for the long term participant.

    Once again reviving my arguement for an IFQ/Angler Days/or whatever you want to call it giving preference for years of involvement through some kind of leveling plan.

    I sure as heck hope the Stakeholders and the Council recognize this issue and deal the cards accordingly.

    Of course the concept of a law suit for what has happened to date is gaining momentum. We are tired of this issue being drug out. The long term guys have suffered big time. Of course guys like our local capitalist who had one 6 pack during the original qualifying years and now owns 4 inspected boats running 8 passengers twice a day destroying the chicken holes. The guys who have added most to the problem will come out big winners. Makes me sick.

  6. #6
    Member Mel Roe's Avatar
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    Default Blah Blah Blah

    HH, all I hear from you on this forum is greed. It is all about you. I wish there was a way to put you in the shoes of a "New Guy" who had done only 9 trips and invested thousands of dollars only to be told sorry you have not done as many fishing trips as the "Old Guys" so you can no longer conduct your business. This should not be a fight between charter captains. It should be a fight for a fail allocation between sport fishing community and the commercial sector. Oh by the way with 10 trips I am in but I still don't think it is right to push out guys who were conducting a legitimate business.

  7. #7

    Default Common Goals

    Mel,
    The only answer you will hear from the old-timers is their godsend "IFQ'S and if you were not in business for the 1998-1999 logbooks you will always be the "new guy", or "newcomer" and therefore not worthy of their consideration.

    I will add a few letters from other unnamed operaters about coming together for a common goal.


    We need to fight for the right to sport fish and the rights of sport fishermen! This fight won’t be won worrying about the poor charter boat guys who are losing out. It’ll be won fighting over the property of the American sportsman that has been stolen by commercial interests.

    As charter boat operators we don’t have a unified voice, we don’t have much money and we don’t have any congressmen in our pockets. But we have millions of uninformed sport fishermen, who once educated, become a formidable force (voice)! I believe the law and the people are on our side, especially if we fight along side and BEHIND the interests of sport fishing. A very real perspective exists that as commercial charter operators we look no different than the comfish guys, but as fighting as sport fishermen we are recreational sportsmen.



    I don’t know how much any of you know about the AFSA, you all may know more than me and frankly there isn’t much to know. I’m not an officer or board member, this organization doesn’t have any. I’m just a **** concerned fisherman who is now a contributor. My take on the AFSA is, it’s a fund established to fight the fight, the correct fight, that must take place and I have contributed $1000 along with numerous others who believe that a new, different, more direct approach is needed to overcome the comfish cabal that owns the boards and commissions entrusted to manage our halibut fishery. Sport fishermen are getting screwed, we happened to be on the same end of the drill. We cannot loose sight of the fact that without sport fishermen, we have no purpose, no clients, no future.

    I have no agenda other than seeing the sport halibut fishery managed as an equal participant (at a minimum) to the comfish sector. No IFQs, no moratoriums, no allocations for charter boats, no anything based on fictional data.

    I truly believe that what is good for sport fishing is good for me. I don’t deserve special consideration beyond that which all sport fishermen are allowed. I think that is the road the AFSA is following.

    end


    IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!

    THIS IS TO THE WHOLE CHARTER FLEET & PASS THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW AND LET’S UNITE AS ONE FLEET AND NOT HAVE ANY MORE FIGHTING AMONG OUR SELF.

    IT DOES NOT MATTER WHO IS IN CHARGE AS LONG AS WE FIGHT FOR THE SAME THING AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER. RIGHT NOW WE NEED TO SUPPORT EACH OTHER IN THE FIGHT TO GET OUR FISH BACK AND GET WHAT WE SHOULD HAVE HAD A LONG TIME AGO. THE RIGHT TO FISH AND NOT HAVE TO FIGHT FOR THE HALIBUT FROM THE COMMERCIAL FLEET.

    WE HAVE ALL SEEM WHAT THE COMMERCIAL FLEET HAS DONE TO THE SHRIMP IN KACAMAK BAY AND WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO THE TANNER CRAB IN KACAMAK BAY AND WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO THE KING CRAB IN KACAMAK BAY AND NOW THEY WANT ALL THE HALIBUT AND DESTROY THIS RESOURCE ALSO.

    I DON’T KNOW ABOUT ALL OF YOU BUT I AM TIRED OF GETTING THE CRUMBS THAT THEY KEEP TOSSING US AND WE SAY THANK YOU AND CONTINUE TO FISH LIKE NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THIS. WELL SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS, THE COMMERCIAL FLEET HAS UNITED TOGETHER AND THEY ARE TAKING OUR RIGHTS TO FISH AWAY AND THE CHARTERS FLEET IS ARGUING AMONG THEM SELF ON WHO IS IN CHARGE AND WHO IS RIGHT ON WHAT SHOULD BE DONE AND WHO IS WRONG ON WHAT THEY ARE DOING. WE SHOULD AGREE TOGETHER AS A FLEET TO DO THE SAME THING, BECAUSE IF WE DON’T, OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WILL NEVER HAVE THE PLEASURE OF FISHING FOR HALIBUT THE WAY WE DO NOW.

    WE HAVE A CHANCE TO GET IT NOW, SO LETS NOT PASS UP THE CHANCE TO GET WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY OURS THE CHANCE TO PUT THE COMMERCIAL FLEET IN ITS PLACE AND STAY AWAY FROM US AND LET US DO WHAT WE DO BEST AND THAT IS TAKE OUR CLIENTS FISHING.

    SO LET’S GET OUR ACT TOGETHER AND FIGHT FOR THE SAME THING TOGETHER AND PUT THEM IN THERE PLACE

    end
    Frank
    Alaska Wildrose Charters and Cabins
    www.wildroselodge.com

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    Let me get this right Mel.

    Put me in the shoes of a new guy. Okay. I spent my lifetime savings investing in a boat in an industry that was over capitalized. I bet my future on a fishery that was over utilized. I came in under clear threat that at some point I might not be allowed to continue fishing. But now that I took that risk and the worst looks like it could happen it should be handled differrently because that is not fair to me.

    If you have read my blogs you will realize I feared being left out back in 1993. This is how long I have been drug around by this thing.

    I say accept responsibility for your actions. Why are you blaming me for decisions you made?

    I am pretty tired of getting screwed over in this whole thing and watching our fishery disappear before my eyes. So yes I am a little less than sympathetic. I am also tired of Johnny Come Latelys trying to tell us how it is going to be and how wrong we are.

    As a person I sure hope it all works out great for you. I dont fault you for your opinion. Please do not fault me for mine.

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    Mel,
    Two areas you have not demonstrated understanding:
    1) We are currently bound by the GHL. This has been in place since 1998. We are currently over it and thus are suffering restrictions. If you and everyone else are able to get it over turned and win a larger share from the commercial guys I will be the first to thank you and throw you a big party. But, back to reality. There are only so many fish we are currently allowed to catch. We have surpassed that number.

    2) We are dealing with a nearshore depletion issue. I know, I know, you live in Kodiak and you dont feel you have that problem(although that opinion varies with whom you talk to and how long they have been around). So once again if you and everyone else is successful in moving the commercial guys further from shore and securing a bigger portion of the catch I will once again throw the big party. Or since in your opinion Kodiak doesnt have that problem then maybe another super human challenge could be changing the boundries or creating a subdistrict around Kodiak. (another feat that if successful would warrant huge congradulations.)

    You call me Greedy because I only want to be able to provide my same traditional service to my people??? Would you prefere I cheerfully agree to accept less and less while I watch a bunch of new comers continue to show up and grow their businesses pushing us over the GHL? I guarantee if you were in my shoes you would be taking the same stance. I had the opportunity to be in your position by purchasing a second boat. I decided I didnt want to risk my hard earned money on it. You decided you did. That is the difference.

  10. #10
    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Default no easy answer..

    I think much of what you are concerned about is really related to not having enough fish to go around. I am not suggesting that someone who has not been running many trips should be able to have open access.
    But if you think about it, 25% more fish for our industry is less than .8% of the commercial harvest in 3A. 8/10th of one percent. Not that much. That kind of increase would allow you and everyone who qualified for a moratorium to fish 25% more or have some fish to work with in times of lower abundance.
    How do we get those fish? You know the options.
    Anyway you slice it, every charter will be better off with some more fish. So we should really exhaust every possibility for getting more.
    I hesitate to accept anything less than being able to continue fishing at our current level, when the TAC is increasing in our area and huge increases are going to the longliners in 3A. That increase they received this year would be equal to the 25% increase that our industry needs to be all set for a while.

    Localized depletion is a tough issue. Are the charter boats to blame? To some extent yes, but there are also changes in the way fish are harvested commercially. The boats fish early to get the good price and this effort no doubt intercepts some of the migrating fish from moving up on the shelf. Remember in our area we are catching only 13% of the fish. Other fishermen are catching the other 87%.
    Then there is the increase in dogfish in shallow water that makes catching halibut more difficult……... Pacific Decadal Oscillation…El Nino… Like I said many factors that lead to less fish in our favorite areas. Very complex issue.

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    Member Mel Roe's Avatar
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    Default Allocation

    Rod, are you happy with what the commercial entity sets for your allocation? If not I would like to think you are part of the” everyone else to help turn it around”. Secondly the GHL is not a hard cap, yes they can institute some restrictions but are they as bad as some people who meet the control date being put out of business? I can live without captain and crew retention and probably a one trip limit. As for near shore depletion is it the fault of sport fisherman? I am sure they take some fish but all in all it is a very small amount. I would be willing to guess that near shore depletion started many years ago when the commercial fleet traveled less distances to fish, couple that with many of the issues AKCAPT brought up and there is probably less fish near shore. If we shut out some of the new guys is that going to fix the near shore depletion? Probably not as there are also more and more personal boats than ever before. I would revert back to it being an allocation issue and if the sport sector were to get a fair allocation we could all continue to fish. If every other west coast state gets close to a 50% split of the halibut catch in their area why should we have to settle for less than 10%. If we segregate old guys from new guys it only dilutes our voice, we are all charter captains and sport fisherman.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    The boats fish early to get the good price and this effort no doubt intercepts some of the migrating fish from moving up on the shelf.
    Interesting idea. Do you have any data to back that up? I know a lot of commercial operators that have tried their darndest (is that really a word?) to fish early because of the high prices, but have had exceedingly little success - both because of inclimate weather and low fish #'s. From what I've read, the % that has been caught by mid-May (over two months into the season) has been below 10% of the overall IFQ. Doesn't seem like the early season is having that much of an effect, but I could be wrong. Any stats to point me to, or was that just a guess?

    -Brian

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    AKCAPT,
    There is sound reasoning to what you are saying. It still does not right the wrong we have suffered to date. But those are possible positive steps forward. I am all for that.

    I can gaurantee our local area depletion is hugely due to the charter boat pressure. Prior to the tractors opening Cook Inlet up in 1990 there were a small handful of charters working off the beach. I would be surprised if between all of them there were 400 launches a year. Since the advent of the tractors we now have at leat 8000 Charter boat launches a year(Ninilchik and Anchor Point). Multiply that by an average of at least 4.5 clients catching 1.9 fish averaging 19 pounds and a previously untapped fishery is giving up 1.3 million pounds of fish a year. You would be amazed how high the percentage of the smaller fish I see that have been caught before. By the end of the season it is most of them. This is the charter impact on this sensitive near shore resource.

    Now I know the commercial pressure on near shore fish has also increased since the advent of the IFQ. I have always been an advocate of moving them futher from the Kennedy Enterance to catch their fish. I am not talking about the small guy with less than 25-40,000 pounds. I am talking about these boats that run leases and just hit Cook Inlet all summer. I see the direct and overnight impact of guys like that.

    However we can not deny the impact of the charter fleet! I am fishing 40 or even 50 miles from where I used to be able to hammer them. This is not the commercial guys that have cleaned up those fish. There are times when in one day I see over 70 or even 100 charter boats on one trip. 10 years ago I could fish and maybe see a couple boats pass on the horizon. Its Crazy. That is a major cause of near shore depletion. The problem is we have more people that want to go fishing than the near shore resource can handle.

    I agree it is upsetting to watch the Commercial guys get more fish. We keep hearing there is going to be a crash in the numbers but we keep watching them get more fish. It makes no sense. I hate the concept of "we have more fish so lets kill them". Of course that concept has been the ruin of many fisheries world wide thanks to commercial pressure.

    Mel,
    I can also live without Captain and Deck hand fish. I will still get enough fish to feed my family by going for fun or bringing my wife or whatever. I have always felt that was an area of waste that we could give up.

    You state that giving up double trips would be fine with you. Of course, you are not doing 20 doubles a year like I am. So, is your opinion to screw the guy who has worked hard to book those trips? I pay 45 bucks a launch, oversize permit for my truck, maintain my trailer and truck, buy a parks service permit(jumping through their million hoops), extra truck fuel and a bunch of other additional expenses so that I can use the tractors and have a shorter run to the fish. This totals up to 10 grand a year. The benefit of being closer to the fish is I can easily run two trips in a day. That is my choice on how I run my business. You take that away and the very same number of people are going to go fishing. They are just going to go with a new guy who isnt running full. So you want to screw me and alot of guys like me to the benefit of new guys in the business? I guess if you dont allow doubles all these guys from Ninilchik and Anchor Point can just move to Homer, Seward, and Kodiak where all we have to do is rent a slip and walk down and get on our boat every day. I am sure the guys that are in those places would appreciate all the extra competition.

    Now if you want to elimintate doubles. Put a limit on the number of trips guys can do based on their historical effort and limit the number of boats fishing then you have something. You have a cap on how many possible fish would be taken. You have regulated the industry to the benefit of the fish and the future. Oh, what do you know, you are back to having a quota system. Amazing how after all these years it keeps coming back to that.

    To answer your question no I dont like getting crumbs from the commercial guys. None of us do.

    I have also had my positive outlook for the future of the regulations bashed in my face so many times by the reality of how this is being run that I am very pesimistic(or realistic) about the way this whole thing is going to end up.

    Thanks for not calling me greedy in your last note.
    Rod

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    I think Halibuthead is right on overall. I can recall fishing less than two miles out and getting big fish and not seeing more than two or three other boats. The near shore fishery has been fished out by charter and private boats and I don't think even a change in the GHL or IFQs would fix it.....there possibly should be a moratorium on fishing within a certain distance of, otherwise self guided sportfishermen with their own boats could continue to hammer the resource....Perhaps Nerka or some other biologist could jump in here....I also agree that the commercial fishers have a much larger percentage of the fish than they should....granted they tend to fish a lot farther out and on many different stocks but this is a resource that belongs to all. I have sympathy for those who have bought IFQs for beaucoup buck$ but those who got them initially got them for free. To me, making them salable and transferrable was wrong. Set netters lease sites from the state and when the lease expires they revert to the state. If we have charter IFQs I would support the same - that IFQs could not be sold - they would be leased for a fixed period (10 years?) and would revert to the state at the end of the lease period. Fishing guides on the Kenai pay $750 per year for their permits and they expire annually.

  15. #15
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    Default Kodiak Daily Mirror

    Fish council considers limited entry for halibut charter operators
    Article published on Thursday, February 15th, 2007
    By DEANNA COOPER
    Mirror Writer
    Halibut charter management remained a hot topic as the North Pacific Fishery Management Council moved toward clapping a lid on the number of halibut charter operators in areas 2C and 3A, in their February meeting that ended Tuesday.

    The council approved the initial review draft of the moratorium analysis, which includes a preliminary preferred alternative.

    The preferred alternative would implement a moratorium or limited entry into the charter halibut fisheries in areas 2C and 3A using a control date of Dec. 9, 2005.

    “There will be a limited number of permits out there in the world after you implement this program,” council fisheries analyst Nicole Kimball said, noting the terms “moratorium” and “limited entry” refer to the same thing.

    The council identified a preferred alternative to help the public get a sense of where the council is going with its final action, council plan coordinator Jane DiCosimo said.

    Council staff is now developing the public review draft, the next version of the analysis that will be ready in early March.

    “That is the version the council will look at in late March to take action on,” Kimball said.

    The draft will be posted the week of March 12 on the council Web site for the public to view and comment on.

    Kimball said it is typical for the council to add options or tweak the initial review draft, which often includes input from the public.

    “It is definitely a changed analysis, not just rewording it, but analyzing different options,” she said.

    “Mainly, the council got these ideas through public testimony at the council meeting. They hear where people are headed and what other things people want to look at. They are fairly receptive to that and they add in what they think is necessary,” Kimball said.

    Before the council takes final action, it will hear public testimony again.

    DiCosimo said there was a half day of public testimony on the halibut charter issue and estimated 25 to 30 people spoke, but as many as 100 testified on other issues.

    “The meeting was in Portland, so not everybody could get down there,” she said.

    The final action will take place at the March NPFMC meeting in Anchorage. Implementation would not occur until the 2009 fishing season.

    “This is not as controversial an issue as other actions will be,” DiCosimo said. “There is a fair amount of support for a moratorium. This is not an allocation issue with the commercial sector, so it doesn’t bring those people in.

    “The commercial guys don’t have too strong a feeling on how the limited entry program for the other sector should be decided. It’s not that big of an issue for the commercial side.”

    Kodiak charterboat owner and operator Michael Ensley said a moratorium is a good idea, but it comes too late. He believes it should have gone into place the second time the council tried to restrict charter halibut harvest.

    “This is the third time they’ve talked about a date,” Ensley said. “It’s good, but Kodiak really doesn’t need it. We’re lumped into Area 3A. It’s good for that reason. If they ever divide us up, then I really don’t like it for Kodiak.”

    He said a moratorium gives local charterboat owners stability because Kodiak tourism is slow, but he is concerned restrictions could be extended to all sportfish species.

    DiCosimo said the idea for a limited entry program came from the charter sector.

    “It’s not seen as a tool that will restrict harvest. It is the first step in narrowing the field.

    “It’s the next step after a limited entry program is selected that proposes to restrict harvest,” DiCosimo said.

    That next step could be a type of permit endorsement that would limit the permit holder to a certain number of clients, or a set amount of fishing days.

    “Or it may go completely to a quota share program like we had previously composed,” DiCosimo said.

    “This is seen as an interim but necessary step to get to harvest restrictions,” she said.

    The council and some commercial halibut fishermen believe harvest restrictions for the charter halibut fleet are necessary because of guideline harvest level overages during the past few years, higher in area 2C than Area 3A.

    To address the issue, the council will look at another draft of the GHL analysis, which proposes eight possible management tools to restrict charter halibut harvest in area 2C.

    An initial review will take place at the council’s March meeting with the final action in June. Implementation is planned for 2008.

    The International Pacific Halibut Commission recently recommended a reduction in the Southeast and Southcentral Alaska charterboat halibut bag limit to one fish per day per angler for part of the summer.

    The vote will take effect if approved by the U.S. secretary of Commerce.

    “We couldn’t do it for ’07,” DiCosimo said. “The IPHC felt it could. It went forward with their recommended action for ’07 and it is now under secretarial consideration.”

    The council has worked on this issue since the early 1990s.

    “We have attempted three previous times to institute management measures that would restrict charter halibut harvest,” DiCosimo said.

    In 2006, the council adopted a five-fish bag limit that would have been in place for 2007. The cost of implementing the program was found prohibitive, so the council rescinded it.

    “That’s why there is nothing in place for ’07,” DiCosimo said. “The document that is coming back in March is a redo on the one that the council adopted in 2006.”

    The council announced it will probably initiate an analysis for Area 3A.

    “Every year we’re seeing the trends for charter halibut harvest increasing,” DiCosimo said.

    She said Area 3A is already 10 percent over its GHL.

    Mirror writer Deanna Cooper may be reached via e-mail at dcooper@kodiakdailymirror.com.


    [ printable version ]

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    It sounds like you are all facing up to two facts:

    1. In some areas like Cook Inlet and Sitka Sound you are depleting the near shore halibut resource.

    2. The guided sport fishery needs some regulation separate from sport regulations designed in large part for non-guided anglers.

    But this and other threads seem to be about guides and commercial interests fighting over a declining resource to the probable detriment of both the resource and the rest of us.

    I am opposed to programs that grant fish or fishing rights to the guides. I am in favor of programs that allocate or otherwise protect the fishing interests of non-guided sport fishermen, other interests, and guided clients. I have heard for years from guides that they are not "fishermen". "We are taxi services".
    I believe them. Allocating fishing rights to guides would be comparable to limiting entry in the salmon fishery to the tenders. Allocate the fishing rights to the "fishermen" (clients and non-guided halibut harvesters) and create a situation where the guides have to compete in price, service, etc. to be hired.
    Let the clients buy, trade, sell, and otherwise decide where the best value is for the halibut. If someone needs 2-300 pounds of halibut a year, and has a history of hiring guides to help him or her catch it, lets allocate that poundage to that client.
    I hear a lot about guides getting the support of the vast number of their "clients" but I don't see evidence of them fighting for allocating any fish to the "clients".
    The great stength of the Alaska State limited entry program was that it allocated the fish to the "fishermen". Lets do the same for the sport fisherman.

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    Default Real Fisherman

    Maybe a lesson here



    Real fishermen can split quota
    Article published on Friday, February 16th, 2007
    By JOHN FINLEY
    letter to the editor
    To the editor,

    In 2002 the North Pacific Council took on the task of doling out the Bering Sea Crab IFQs to the fishermen. They formed an “ITQ Study Group.” The two co-chairmen were a professor from the University of Washington and North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) member Kevin O’Leary of Kodiak.

    They were tasked by NPFMC to see who got what in a fair and equitable manner. The voting panel, heavily weighted toward vessel owners, gave everything to themselves. Almost everything – they’d be better off today if they had.

    No doubt, both the crew and hired skippers were doing whatever lobbying they could at the time, each trying to get their share and as liable to work against each other as not. Each group going their own way like that (a replay of halibut IFQs 10 years before) they were easily led to their doom.

    But on the way there the hired skippers, apparently having more clout than all the crewmen put together, cut a deal. They’d stop protesting for 3 percent (20 percent of their usual share of 15 percent in the qualifying years) and to heck with the crew.

    It must have seemed a small thing at the time to the voting group. but in retrospect, you have to wonder what they were smoking. In essence what they did was use the National Standards change of 1996 dealing with the use of “efficiency.” They activated it, gave life to something that might have lain there unnoticed forever.

    In so doing, they proved conclusively that quota can be split among real fishermen without destroying the system, a fear that compelled the judge to rule against the crewmen plaintiffs in Alliance v. Brown. And they set themselves on a collision course with National Standard 4 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act which requires “fair and equitable allocation of all fishing privilege” by awarding 3 percent instead of 15 percent to the skippers.

    They may not have opened Pandora’s box, but they broke the lock off for the fishermen.

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