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Thread: The Future of Halibut Sports Fishing

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    Default The Future of Halibut Sports Fishing

    North Pacific Fisheries Management Council Meeting March 2011 Anchorage


    Anyone Plan on Attending?

    March/April Council Meeting March 28 - April 5, Anchorage Hilton http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/

    As a Charter Guide in Alaska for over 10 years, I strongly request Alaska's Sports Fishing public to attend and testify how NPFMC management is going to take away the halibut fishing rights of EVERYONE. Not just passengers on Guided Charter Boats.

    If anyone is going please contact me alaskawomen@aol.com Thank you!

    Tight Lines,

    Captain Alicia

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    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    Captain Alicia...I'm glad to see you trying to thwart any "divide and conquer" tactics to separate private fishers from guides/charters, and maybe we should be understanding and working with at least the home-port based commercial fishers (maybe not the big factory boats, esp. from other countries), in the end though, we are all focused on the same resource.

    But, as a sport fisherman in PWS and other parts of Alaska, for over 15 years, I really don't know how the halibut regs coming out this year (37" limit of 1 halibut in Southeast for charter clients) is going to take away my haligut fishing rights, and I don't say this to challenge you, I'd just like to hear what you have to say about this issue, and how it will filter down (or over, or up ) to private sport fisherman? I know some will think that, wow, now there will be more halibut for us private guys/gals, so what do you think is up with all of this?

    Sorry, I won't be in AK until May so can't attend the meeting...but I'll try to keep up with it!

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Hi Alicia,

    The way this years regualtions will take away your rights is simple... If the NPFMC passes their Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) the allocation of halibut in area 3A will be reduced by 30%, with the stroke of a pen. Then it will linked to a declining abundance. This will trigger a one fish bag limit in 3A for the charter fleet. As soon as that happens, the two fish private boat harvest is going to look excesssive in comparision and will be next on the chopping block. You see Ron, our traditional harvest - what has been called "the defacto allocation" has been the GHL. This number was come up with in 1995 as a fair allocation to the charter fleet. It has been the number that we used in 3A since then as ...well The Guildline of if the charter fleet was catching too many fish. All along charter guides were calling this an unfair allocation. Well when the rubber hit the road a few years ago and the catch sharing plan was hatched, one Council member named Gerry Merigan came up with some last minute changes to the catch sharing plan that resulted in the confused Council rubber stamping the catch sharing place with a new allocation, to be linked to abundance that was 30% less than the GHL. As a matter of fact, the new allocation is less than we ever caught in the twenty years.
    With all that said, I am not sure this meeting is the point when we need you all to show up at the Council meeting. There will be a time though, save your frequent flyer miles. There will never be more fish for the private guys in a declining abundance. The commercail guys will do anything they can to liimit their losses. Since they are making a living doing this and they have all the political power, I would think if you look at what happens to the charter fleet, you will get an idea of what is going to happen to private boats down the line

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    Maybe the sport guys and the charter guys need to go all Madison Wisconsin on them? I'm down for a protest. Time to start making posters? Fullbush, you bringing the beer?

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    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    If the NPFMC passes their Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) the allocation of halibut in area 3A will be reduced by 30%, with the stroke of a pen. Then it will linked to a declining abundance. This will trigger a one fish bag limit in 3A for the charter fleet.
    My understanding is that the above is a very possible scenario with the result being Area 3A (Southcentral) going to a 1-fish charter limit this summer. So, stay tuned, or get to the Council meeting at the end of the month and get involved..

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    I disagree, there won't be a one fish limit this year in 3A,,,,,there may be a two fish one 37" and one any size,,,,And at the end of the year we won't go over our GHL even with the catch sharing plans 30% reduction,,,,a combination of high fuel prices and the limited entry will cause a big decline in harvest.

    That being said everyone should go and testify against all this anti sport fish BS,.....It won't do any good, when I did it they just looked at me like I didn't belong,,,they just go through the motions and in the end they do what the want, which is always in favor of commercial fishermen......

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    Member Mel Roe's Avatar
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    Cap'nRon, do you suppose a resident of Sitka who does not own a boat so he utilizes a charter boat to access his resource might feel like his fishing rights are being taken away?
    Kodiak Island Adventures
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    Look just to set the record straight commercial charter guides are NOT the same as sports fishermen. If you want to get along quit hiding behind the the Alaskan sports fishermen its wrong.
    Coming from a guy that would love to see the commercial IFQ program go away forever

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    Quote Originally Posted by fullbush View Post
    Look just to set the record straight commercial charter guides are NOT the same as sports fishermen. If you want to get along quit hiding behind the the Alaskan sports fishermen its wrong.
    Coming from a guy that would love to see the commercial IFQ program go away forever
    So you aren't going to come protest with me? Dang it, and here I was going to go protest at some dipnet meetings.

    BTW, I've never seen a charter boat that wasn't full of licensed sportfishermen. Just sayin..

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    In my opinion a sports fisherman is a sports fisherman is a sports fisherman, no matter if he has his own boat, utilizes a charter boat, fishes on a friends boat or fishes from shore. Unfortunately what has been discussed thus far does not appear that all sports fisherman are getting equal treatment hence where MR is somewhat correct in the fact that his fishing rights are being taken away. They in sorts are by being limited more than the other sportsman.

    There are 2 completely different subjects being discussed on this forum, halibut and sockeye. Realizing that there are also 2 different governmental bodies/agency/group/whatever are in charge of each it does seem odd that discussions about sockeye and PU/sportsman "appear" to be about how the people come before any industry. That said it doesn't sound like the same is being discussed pertaining to halibut.

    From the commercial side they may argue that thier careers are at stake, they bought into the industry or that they supply fish to the masses etc. etc. but how are those laws currently written as to importance of allocation?

    I don't disagree that there needs to be steps taken to reduce harvest of a fishery that is in trouble. I don't disagree that each sports fisherman should be equal but, those that utilize a charter service have become part of a larger group that has contributed to overharvesting. Not sure how else you could put that.

    I'm sure someone will kindly point out where I'm wrong once again but food for thought.

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain T View Post
    I disagree, there won't be a one fish limit this year in 3A,,,,,there may be a two fish one 37" and one any size,,,,And at the end of the year we won't go over our GHL even with the catch sharing plans 30% reduction,,,,a combination of high fuel prices and the limited entry will cause a big decline in harvest.

    That being said everyone should go and testify against all this anti sport fish BS,.....It won't do any good, when I did it they just looked at me like I didn't belong,,,they just go through the motions and in the end they do what the want, which is always in favor of commercial fishermen......
    There wont be any changes to the 3A bag limit for 2011. This is not possible as a result of a May meeting. They can only change the bag limit for 2012. The federal process is too slow to make changes during the season.
    I would agree that Charteroperator is not the same as a sport fishermen but once the charter fleet's harvest is restricted to one fish there is really only the private boat fishermen left of take away from. That is why these measures are important for the private boater to get involved with too.

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    I'm not very well educated in this matter, but have a couple questions or comments for AKCAPT. Andy do think the commercial fishing industry really wants to involve the "private" Ak resident in whole allocation mess by limitting our number and or size of fish? Why haven't we heard anything from our politicians on these issues or have we? Do you think that the powers that be want to involve/ include the South Central region of the state, it seems to me like they would be "waking a sleeping giant"? I know the commercial fishing industry has a lot money and pull amongst our politicians, but the south central region has most of the states population which equals the majority of the states constituents and usually means a lot more political power. It just seems to me that who ever has been dealing with this issue has been trying to stay away from our region ( minus the limited entry or whatever name they have for limiting charters). I also could be dreaming and trying to make myself feel like it won't happen to us next year.
    Boatless

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    There are definitely times when the guided and unguided sport sectors have the opportunity to work together... but there are times when the distinction needs to be made. While I have harvested a lot of fish with the assistance of charters and guides, I harvest most of my fish by my own means.

    I will fight for the distinction between the two.

    That distinction is appropriate. As with commercial fishermen, the guide/charter sector is driven by dollars.

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    Just an observation with 11 years of salt experience ... except for a few sport fishermen / women with the right equipment and knowledge of the Seward / Kenai Fijords /PWS / Homer area ... sport fisherman are ... NOT ... Charter Operations. The sport fisherman that reach out say 60 to 100 miles from port are far fewer and have a minimal impact on the resource. After you get 10 miles out from the areas I already mentioned you see mostly charter operations ...... sport fishermen are just a spit in the pond, we are not all one group. Agree with MRFISH!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FISHFACE View Post
    I'm not very well educated in this matter, but have a couple questions or comments for AKCAPT. Andy do think the commercial fishing industry really wants to involve the "private" Ak resident in whole allocation mess by limitting our number and or size of fish? Why haven't we heard anything from our politicians on these issues or have we? Do you think that the powers that be want to involve/ include the South Central region of the state, it seems to me like they would be "waking a sleeping giant"? I know the commercial fishing industry has a lot money and pull amongst our politicians, but the south central region has most of the states population which equals the majority of the states constituents and usually means a lot more political power. It just seems to me that who ever has been dealing with this issue has been trying to stay away from our region ( minus the limited entry or whatever name they have for limiting charters). I also could be dreaming and trying to make myself feel like it won't happen to us next year.
    I think it might be a few years before you see any private boat restrictions but...you can bet when stocks are down and quota shares are reduced that all users will have to take a reduction in their harvest. The less charter harvest there is due to restrictions and the more private boat harvest there will be...subsquently pressure will follow to curb your harvest as well. I don't think political pressure from private boaters is going to stop management of halibut. We have tried every possible angle to get a few more fish and they are well organized, and have some skilled and resourceful spokes people.

    In most cases in the rest of the United States they call charters the "For Hire" sector and most of the time they do in fact band together with "sporties" to fight with commercial fishermen for allocation. Now it seems like in other places commercial fishermen, "the for Hire sector" and Sportfishermen are all banded together to fight the radical envornomental groups that are advocating closeing off vast areas as Marine Protected Areas
    ( MPAs)......Politics makes strange bed fellows......Here in Alaska, I suspect there will be a sustained effort from all sectors to address factory trawler by catch, in the future. That is flat out waste that is taking from all other users for no gain at all. This is the kind of issue that all other users can agree to try to eliminate.....

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    So your title is misleading, as far as I know, there are no changes to halibut sport fishing, as the sport/personal use/ subsistence sector harvests relatively little fish. The future of these fisheries harvest so little fish by comparison, and have the highest allocative priority (in the case of subsistence) restrictions in the future are unlikely barring a complete disaster.

    You are talking about commercial fishing with rods and reels. Because the commercial charter fishery harvests a large amount of the TAC it should be restricted as TAC fluctuates much like the commercial long line fishery. The TAC this year is down, and thus limits for everyone long line, and charter are down. Thats how management works. Charters had their chance to buy more allocation when IFQs were suggested, the charter industry loudly rejected that plan, so the NPFMC had to figure out a different way to lower the charter industries catch.

    So you can complain all you want, but thats how the cookie crumbles, the longliners are hurting too... Not to mention the people who actually live in the communities that the charter fleet has hurt the most.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    PM, I've given you $h** in the past, but we're on the same page this time. +1, dude.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT
    Here in Alaska, I suspect there will be a sustained effort from all sectors to address factory trawler by catch, in the future. That is flat out waste that is taking from all other users for no gain at all. This is the kind of issue that all other users can agree to try to eliminate.....
    Agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    PM, I've given you $h** in the past, but we're on the same page this time. +1, dude.
    Are you sure PM's computer wasn't high jacked?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    I think it might be a few years before you see any private boat restrictions but...you can bet when stocks are down and quota shares are reduced that all users will have to take a reduction in their harvest. The less charter harvest there is due to restrictions and the more private boat harvest there will be...subsquently pressure will follow to curb your harvest as well. I don't think political pressure from private boaters is going to stop management of halibut. We have tried every possible angle to get a few more fish and they are well organized, and have some skilled and resourceful spokes people.

    In most cases in the rest of the United States they call charters the "For Hire" sector and most of the time they do in fact band together with "sporties" to fight with commercial fishermen for allocation. Now it seems like in other places commercial fishermen, "the for Hire sector" and Sportfishermen are all banded together to fight the radical envornomental groups that are advocating closeing off vast areas as Marine Protected Areas
    ( MPAs)......Politics makes strange bed fellows......Here in Alaska, I suspect there will be a sustained effort from all sectors to address factory trawler by catch, in the future. That is flat out waste that is taking from all other users for no gain at all. This is the kind of issue that all other users can agree to try to eliminate.....

    thanks Andy
    Boatless

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    Quote Originally Posted by FISHFACE View Post
    thanks Andy
    I say we all apply for seats on these councils and then secretly run them so all of us get what we want out of this instead of just one group winning while the rest of us "lose"
    There's a fine line between fishing....

    and standing on the shore like an idiot! ALLEN BRADLEY-TANGLE LAKES ADVOCATE/FANBOY

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