New recommendation must be okayed by IPHC before it becomes law
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/15/2012 -- A vote of 10-1 by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council revised a Halibut catch share plan that had caused some concern last year amongst fishing guides.
The new recommendation set catch limits use the 2008 plan, which divided Alaska’s halibut quota amongst charter and commercial fishermen. The 2008 plan was implemented last year; however, a rather harsh backlash from the charter fishermen caused the council to head back to the think tank.
The recommendation means that there is no new rule set into place, and it must be adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and National Marine Fisheries Services before it can take effect as a regulation.
The lone dissenting vote was by councilman Sam Cotton. The proposed changes eliminates the most controversial provisions of the 2008 plan. Such provisions include the automatic triggering of management measures like a size limit if charter fleets have 3.5% above or below the required allocation.
In the new proposal, measures will be manually approved each year by the NPC and IPHC.
The new proposal also established a “sliding catch” limit for both commercial and charter fishermen. The scale will be based upon the overall halibut catch limit, which is set by the IPHC. The breakdown of size and markers can vary, but charter fishermen get a lower percentage as the catch limit moves upward.
The central Gulf of Alaska, 18.9% of total catch or 10 million pounds limit was the marker for charter fishermen. A catch limit over 25 million pounds sees the charter share drop to 14%. Charter fishermen in the central Gulf of Alaska area would have had a quota of 2.628 million pounds. Commercial fishermen would have seen a 12.393 million pounds.
There are a handful of small alterations to the 2008 proposal. One alteration includes prohibiting charter crews from catching fish while guiding fishermen.
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