Saturday, February 17, 2007


Revised as of February 9, 2007
Problem Statement. The Pacific halibut resource is fully utilized and harvest by the charter sector is demonstrating steady growth. To provide long term stability of the charter sector and lessen the need for regulatory adjustments, which destabilize the sector, the Council is embarking on development of a new management framework. In the interim, to address allocation issues between the charter and commercial sectors, the former is operating under a guideline harvest level (GHL). Harvest data since 2004 indicate that the GHLs in Area 2C have been exceeded and are near levels established for Area 3A. This has resulted in a renewed effort to find a long-term solution. To that end, the Council formed a stakeholder committee of affected charter and commercial user groups to consider management options and formulate
recommendations for Council consideration in developing a management plan for the charter sector. Some of the options previously considered include limiting entry or awarding quota share based on past participation in the fishery. To address the potential against the rush of new entrants into the charter fishery, the Council is considering establishing a moratorium on the charter sector. The moratorium is to provide an interim measure of stability in the guided sport halibut sector during the step-wise process toward a long-term solution. In doing so, however, the Council is also concerned with maintaining access to the halibut charter fishery by small, rural, coastal communities. To address this, the Council is considering establishing a separate program to allow these communities to enter the halibut charter fishery.

ALTERNATIVE 1. No action

ALTERNATIVE 2. Implement a moratorium on entry into the charter halibut fisheries in Areas 2C and 3A using a control date of December 9, 2005 (Council preliminary preferred alternative*).

Features of the proposed moratorium (limited entry) program:

Issue 1
. Permits may be held by U.S. citizens or U.S. businesses with 75 percent U.S. ownership of the business. Businesses may receive multiple permits due to charter halibut activity by vessels reported by the businesses in ADF&G logbooks. Initial permit recipients may be “grandfathered” below the U.S. ownership level and above proposed use caps until any change in ownership of the business occurs.

Issue 2. Permit would be designated for Area 2C and/or Area 3A. If a business owner qualifies for a permit in both areas based on the history from a single vessel, he would be issued a separate permit for both areas. Only one permit could be used on any given trip.

Issue 3.
Permit would be issued to an ADF&G licensed fishing guide business owner.

Issue 4.
Permit applicant would be required to sign an affidavit attesting that all legal requirements were met.
The Council’s preliminary preferred alternative (selected in February 2007) includes Issues 1 – 12.
If there are options identified under an issue, those that are part of the Council’s preliminary preferred alternative are marked with an asterisk (*).

Issue 5. Transfers of permits (permanent) would be allowed up to use caps.
Suboption 1: Prohibit transfers of issued permits for individual vessels that qualified at trip levels less than 10, 15, or 20 trips as reported in the ADF&G logbook.

Issue 6. Leasing of permits would not be allowed.

Issue 7.
Permit Endorsement for Number of Clients on Board
*Highest number on any trip in 2004 or 2005, but not less than 4.
*Suboption 1: Area 2C: cap maximum endorsements at 6, 8*, 10, or 15
Area 3A: cap maximum endorsements at 10, 15, 20*, or 25
*Suboption 2: Permit holders can be issued a permit endorsement for the number of clients on board equal to the highest number on any trip in 2004 or 2005. Permits above the cap are grandfathered at that level until a permanent transfer of the permit occurs; the permit is then subject to the cap on client endorsements in Suboption 1.

Issue 8.
Permits may be stacked up to use caps.

Issue 9. Evidence of participation is ADF&G saltwater logbook entry with bottomfish statistical
area, rods, or boat hours.

Issue 10.
Qualification period

*Option 10.1: Each licensed guide business owner(s) who reported a minimum of 1, 5, 10*, 15*, or 20 bottomfish logbook trips during 2004 or 2005 and year prior to implementation would be issued a permit(s) based on the number of trips summed for all vessels in his best year of the qualification period, unless an unavoidable circumstance occurred. A business would be limited to the number of permits equal to the highest number of vessels used in any one year during the qualifying period. Example: a business owner operated 3 vessels with 6, 10, and 8 trips, respectively (summed trips = 24) in his best year. He would be issued 1 permit under a 20 trip minimum (24/20 = 1); 2 permits under a 10 trip minimum (24/10 = 2); or 3 permits under a 5 trip minimum (24/5 = 4, but the maximum number of vessels in that year is 3).
Halibut charter permit holders may only use their permit onboard a vessel that is identified on an ADF&G saltwater logbook assigned to the person holding the permit. If the permit holder wishes to use the permit on a different vessel, they must obtain an ADF&G logbook for the new vessel before the permit may be used on that vessel. The permit number must be recorded on the logbook for each trip.

A permanent transfer is defined as either a transfer of the permit through NMFS RAM Division to an unrelated entity or when persons are added to an existing entity. Removing a person from a corporation or partnership would not be considered a permanent transfer.

A business can use, for example, two licenses (each endorsed for 6 clients) on one vessel.

“Year prior to implementation” could also mean two years prior to implementation, depending on the starting date of the application period for permits; e.g., the threshold would also need to be met in either 2007 or 2008, for implementation in 2009.

Acceptable circumstances will be adjudicated on a case by case basis through the National Marine Fisheries Appeals Division, but includes medical emergencies, military exemptions, constructive losses. An individual who was assigned to active military duty during 2004 or 2005 and who qualifies as “active ” during the year prior to implementation7 and who demonstrated an intent to participate in the charter fishery in Area 2C or 3A.(prior to the qualifying period) shall be eligible for a moratorium permit.

Option 10.2:
Each licensed guide business owner(s) who reported a minimum of 1, 5, 10, 15, or 20 bottomfish logbook trips during 2004 or 2005 and year prior to implementation would be issued a permit(s) for each vessel based on the number of trips in his best year during the qualification period, unless an unavoidable circumstance occurred. Trips by vessels operated by a licensed guide business owner that do not individually meet qualification criteria may be combined to meet the criteria. A business would be limited to the number of permits equal to the highest number of vessels used in any one year during the qualifying period.
Example: Under a 5 trip threshold, a vessel with 10 trips generates 1 permit; second and third vessels with 3 trips each earn 1 permit by combining their trips.

Issue 11.
Use caps, with grandfather provision. The AFA 10% ownership rule for affiliation will be applied to determine the number of permits associated with an entity under the use cap.
Option 1. 1 permit
*Option 2. 5 permits
Option 3. 10 permits

Issue 12. Community provisions for Area 2C and 3A communities previously identified under
GOA FMP Amendment 66
A Community Quota Entity (CQE), representing a community in which [5 or fewer or *10 or
fewer] active14 charter businesses terminated trips in the community in each of the years 2004 and 2005 may request limited entry permits.
Area 2C – use cap of 3, 4*, 5*, or 7 requested permits per eligible community.
Area 3A – use cap of 4*, 5*, 7*, 10*, or 15 requested permits per eligible community.
Overall use caps for CQEs (different use caps may be selected for CQEs representing
communities in Area 2C and 3A):

Option 1: 1, 3, or 5 times those selected for permits holders under Issue 11.
Option 2: 2 times those selected for the CQE requested permit use cap for each area.
*Provisions for CQE requested permits:
• Designated for the area in which the community represented by the CQE is located
• Endorsed for 6 clients
• Not allowed to be sold (i.e., transferred)
• Under reporting requirements, the CQE must identify the recipient of the permit prior to
• The requested CQE permit must be used in the community represented by the CQE (the
trip must originate or terminate in the CQE community).

A business whose permit is endorsed in excess of the use cap maintains that exemption for those permits that remain in its control after other permits are sold, but those sold permits lose that grandfather status in perpetuity. Grandfathered permits that are sold in total when a business owner sells his entire business/fleet maintain that grandfathered status. Grandfathered status refers to permits, not to vessels.

Any entity in which 10 percent or more of the interest is owned or controlled by another individual or entity shall be considered to be the same entity as the other individual or entity.

“Active” is defined as it is under Issue 10 (e.g., either at least 1, 5, 10, 15, or 20 bottomfish trips).


Flatfish said...

The thing I don't like is all the room for the 10, 15, 20, trip qualifiers to grow their business. We have been at a competitive disadvantage for four years now because of the looming IFQ thing and now this. One could make the case that the charter fleet is overcapitalized and should be in line for government buyouts. Government actions and inactions have caused a thriving industry to founder.

mark said...

I read thru the original post again after your comment but I don't fully understand it. Do you mean that because of what it says in option 10 ("...2 permits under a 10 trip minimum", etc.) that they will be rewarded? Will this be extrapolated to penalize us on bigger boats because we have more flexibility to combine passengers (instead of running with eight passengers for three days, we might run with twelve for two) and hence run fewer trips than some six-pacs pimping for every trip of two or three? If Peter can be a hired captain most of his sporadic career, yet run for 120 trips in 2005 and come out ahead of me on quota, it is wrong. I hope that they are in no way thinking of using number of trips run criteria for anything more than a cut-off. Conversely, half day trip people should be worth half a person to preclude rewarding those operators with more share than they should have - specifically, I am talking about "I will never run halibut trips - the money's in tours" Jack. That said, tho the thought of some of the more vocal I.F.Q. assasins fishing one day when I am not is abhorrent, I am willing to eat some inequality to get this done.
It does seem that the council is, once again, leaning towards limitation. Our job is to be ruthless in our support of a rapid institution thereof - quite unlike last time.

Flatfish said...

Maybe I am missing something. The way I read it is if you qualify for a permit with a number of trips say 10, then there is no restriction on the number of trips you can run in the future. I do not see a fish quota or trip limit addressed here. So the guy who started with a leaky six pack in 2004 has room to take a few hundred of your clients in 2009. We need to push this thing thru and then an IFQ would be easier to move along. otherwise the state is going to get in this and start cutting fishing days first and then take passengers off you boat. This whole thing makes me nuts. Maybe someone out there can explain this thing to me.

mark said...

Bob will be back in a couple of days and I'll ask his take. Maybe I get a tad jumpy because you and I, with inspected boats, are the smallest user group (besides the sacred cow of subsistance), and we'll be the obvious ones to ignore or abuse. To give you an idea of how others think, I was told the other day by a new, hobby, sixpacker with a half-million dollar house, that this has gotten to this point because we were greedy...

Halibuthead said...

The Moratorium does nothing to prevent the growth of the mid range charter running just enough trips to qualify. This is my problem with it. A guy doing 20 trips in 2004 can run 100 after the moratorium.

Therefore the Moratorium needs to be in conjunction with an IFQ program/Angler Days whatever you want to call it. Otherwise it has no teeth and we will be right back over the GHL. Also without it there will be no benefit to the near shore resource.

But the Moratorium is a step in the right direction. Just a baby step though until we have a final plan.

mark said...

I was looking too far forward and applying this to eventual angler days. This stuff hits me pretty hard 'cause I don't have bus driving, nose picking, second mating, roustabouting, Maine, Florida, trailer parks, and Mommy to fall back on.

mark said...

Reason dictates then that this cut-off measure will be succeeded by I.F.Q. and the weekenders will get whatever they earned. I've always had a problem with weekenders taking clients from people trying to make a living but there has to be a cutoff somewhere. One thing we know, for sure, that we cannot survive with is open access and if we quibble over the details we're slowing the process.