Friday, March 30, 2007

The rules for Alaska halibut charter fishing could be changing

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The rules for Alaska halibut charter fishing could be changing. This week, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is considering halting the growth of the industry by creating a moratorium on new halibut charter operators. For some, that's a great idea."Once we have the moratorium, we will define the fleet and we will have a more invested nature, or nature of the fleet," said Larry McQuarrie with Sportsman's Cove Lodge.Silver King Charters' Donald Westlund wants to see the changes made soon."We need to get this done, I'm getting too old," Westlund said.The council's advisory panel heard testimony today on a proposal that would give operators who fished in 2004 or 2005 a permit. Those who fished more than 20 days could sell the permit. Those who were under the 20-day mark, but still fished at least five days, are allowed to fish, but can't sell the permit. "Holders of restricted class permits will not be able to convert the value of their sizeable investments and retirement funding and will in fact be stuck with a valueless asset. It reminds me of Enron stock," said Rex Murphy of Winter King Charters.The proposal is in response to concerns that the charter catch in Southeast and Southcentral exceeded the guideline harvest level.For Whittier fisherman Rich West, it's potentially devastating. He started his business, Rich Adventures, last year."It's going to put me out of business. I won't qualify for any fishing rights for halibut if this moratorium goes through," West said.Those who oppose the moratorium would rather see charter operators get a bigger slice of the catch, likely at the expense of commercial fishermen. Charter companies are split. Some could leave the meeting hooking a valuable commodity, while others will be skunked. The advisory panel will make a recommendation to the full council, and the council is expected to hear more public testimony and make a decision later this week.


mark said...

"...while others will be skunked." This should be familiar territory to you, Murphy. Don't say; you bought Enron and can't sell until its future is decided. Some greedy, crooked individuals screwed it up for everybody. The numbers were inflated to make it look bigger and better than it was. I'm starting to get the analogy to chartering! Sorry to pick on you, now, but you started it when you came up with a plan. When you've been doing this longer than my deckhand's most recent slickers... then come up with a plan. Nice lookin' boat, by the way - for a cat.

mark said...

And, AND, they now want an asset to convert? Listen, Einsteins, having something of value went out the window on Dec. 9th, 2005. Thanks again, ACA!