Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Moving the Halibut Controversy Forward

From, mike heimbuch

Moving the Halibut Controversy Forward

This position paper is written in the hope of attracting moderate voices and leadership to the controversy surrounding the halibut charter industry in Alaska. In spite of federal control and management of the halibut resource, it is Alaska’s communities that are being divided by the shrill and undisciplined voices of debate. We should have the right, and responsibility, to secure peace amongst our commercial industries without the influence of those whose views of public resources have no regard for the history and delicacy of coastal Alaska economy.

In the halibut charter controversy much has been made about the public owning this resource and having the highest priority for access to it. This is widely accepted as true and to the extent that a person catches halibut, without being aided by any commercial business entity, there has been no attempt to diminish that access. It is also true that halibut plays a critical role in Alaska’s maritime economy. As a result, unregulated access public access to halibut, through any commercial enterprise, can be a threat to the stability of coastal communities.

For proof of this we need look no further than the fact that 100% of the maximum sustained yield of the halibut resource is caught every year. Commercial enterprises do this either by bring the resource to the public or bringing the public to the resource. Since both the commercial and the charter fleets provide public access to the resource for a fee, and most of the people who eat halibut don’t come to Alaska, it is hardly fair to construe either industry as having the strongest link to the public’s right of access. Either way, with 100% use, you cannot escape the fact that changing the proportion of harvest between 2 types of commercial enterprises cannot happen without economic damage. This is clearly what is happening with a regulated commercial fishing industry and an unregulated charter fishing industry.
But we cannot deceive ourselves that the halibut controversy today is strictly about this. Some people are promoting individual access rights to the resource as a logical extension of public ownership of the resource. This distortion ignores the absolute right of public government to limit individual acts. It also masquerades an unregulated and unlimited commercial charter industry as indispensable to public ownership of the resource regardless of the consequences to others.
For several decades our highest courts have wrestled with state programs that limit some public access to seafood in seemingly stark contrast to constitutional language which reserves Alaska’s fish and game resources ‘to the people’. It is perhaps unfortunate that a small number of justices have been allowed to determine the meaning of this based on legal precedents for interpreting the literal words of the constitution as opposed to a serious review of the historical intent and mind set of its framers and citizens at that time. The living memory and historical record of our first constitutional convention clearly display the widely popular public sentiment of removing control of the salmon resource from the monopolizing hands of lower 48 corporations. The control was to be reinvested in the public, conceived primarily as those people who worked in the commercial fishing industry in maritime communities of the state. Further proof of that mind set occurred during the early 70’s when Alaskans fully supported a constitutional amendment which allowed programs that limited public access to seafood for the purpose of promoting economic stability. In spite of reserving fish resources ‘to the people’ in the constitution, earlier Alaskans recognized that coastal economies could not withstand unlimited numbers of transient fishermen coming here for the summer and competing for the resource.
The high mobility of the world’s population and the increasing attraction of sport fishing in the growing tourism sector, have put the halibut resource industries in the same vulnerable spot that salmon was 40 years ago. Because the overall harvest is clearly limited some action must be taken. There is no alternative for the charter fleet except to limit themselves in some fashion or reallocate the resource from the traditional commercial fleet.
Significant numbers of Alaskans are involved in this controversy and it is important that our state leaders understand the debate. Regardless of past court decisions, questions of federal authority, or strong philosophical arguments in the media, we cannot hope for peaceful progress or wise leadership from the state without acknowledging one fundamental economic reality: Very simply stated, when a seafood resource is utilized at 100% of its capacity, reallocation of harvest opportunity between commercial business groups cannot occur without financial loss. The reality of that financial jeopardy should impose a sense of fairness on us, which transcends simplistic debate over public access issues that remain unsolved even at the highest judicial levels.

At this point there is movement toward limiting the halibut charter industry and it is likely that the state will have a role in designing and implementing a manageable program. If we are to make headway on this with some clarity of purpose and understanding, we must lower the volume of those voices who say that any tourist arriving here has a higher right to access halibut than a coastal community resident who has been selling halibut to the public for decades. That mindset is proving to be a major stumbling block at the NPFMC in solving the halibut access problem and does a grave disservice to the good faith efforts of long time charter and commercial fishermen trying to work things out.
here are very straightforward ways to move the charter fleet into fully regulated status while remaining in harmony with the public and the traditional commercial halibut fishing industry. The state can aid in this effort by promoting the same vision for Alaska’s seafood resources that our constitutional framers saw 50 years ago. That vision is relatively simple: Corporate interests will not dominate access to and control of our seafood resources; and some types of public access are justifiably limited to protect the seafood economy of coastal Alaska.
Elements of a workable halibut charter plan

1. Individual quotas (ITQ) can be adopted that recognize and reward different levels of charter activity over time. This must be done in as simple of a fashion as possible which leads either to establishing a system where qualifying participants are ranked individually and awarded rights according to personal history, or a system of several different classes of historical participation where individuals within each class are awarded rights equally.

2. The ITQ program must not be forced into the same monitoring, accounting and compliance program that the commercial fleet has under IFQs. It is far too burdensome to accomplish, extremely expensive to implement, are far too spread out to provide accuracy. Regardless of the license program adopted, a simple way to provide visual monitoring, compliance, and accounting – is to provide each authorized charter boat with lip tags for halibut which are fastened to the jaw prior to docking and must be left on until removed at processing. The tags would be designed to make re-use impossible. Research and monitoring efforts would be greatly enhanced – as the tags would be clearly coded and numbered for each business. The tags could also be colored to indicate the category of license awarded as discussed in #1 above. There could be great variety in the configuration and uses. It would make ITQs transferable to other qualified operator by the simple sale of lip tags and answer many problems associated with inability to fish or needing more ITQ quota during a season. Conversion of commercial halibut IFQ to a specified number of lip tags would also be possible if the program was designed around harvesting halibut according to numbers of fish and average weight – instead of actual weights such as in the IFQ program.

3. If the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council adopts a program that brings the charter fleet into compliance with the existing guideline harvest levels (GHL) there will be no reallocation from the commercial fishing fleet and the subject of compensation will be moot. If the council either forces reallocation by raising the GHL or makes provision for future conversion of halibut from the commercial long line fleet to the charter sector – the question of fair compensation will be a central point of controversy and certainly the subject for litigation considering all the conventional loans outstanding in the fishing fleets for halibut IFQs. If the notion of fair compensation prevails as a result of reallocation, the state may have to decide what role to play in imposing or collecting fees to cover the costs of such a program. Regardless of the mechanism, it would be helpful for the state leadership to declare an interest now in helping to implement a financial accounting program if it helps secure an ending to the halibut charter controversy.

4. Many long time commercial halibut fishermen and charter boat operators would support a system that is designed somewhat as follows:

ITQs based on (4-6) levels of active participation during the qualifying years.
Fee program to compensate IFQ fleet for reallocation into new ITQ system
Lip tags for annual ITQs determined by license category and transferable
Accounting system based on numbers of fish with average weights – not pounds
A set GHL % of the MSY adjusted strictly through numbers of lip tags issued
Mechanism for converting IFQs to ITQs through a lip tag conversion program

Friday, April 20, 2007


Email your neighborhood commercial and tell them its time to push A modified IFQ plan and put this behind us. An entrepreneur friend of mine asked why he would invest in a fishery that wants to take fish from the commercials, customers from me and then tax me to help pay for it all! Heaven help us. I'm outa here if I can find a buyer.

RFA Letter to NMFS

RE: Charter Vessel Halibut Comments
Dear Ms. Salveson:

As a recreational fisherman, I object to the proposed regulations to reduce the guideline harvest level for Pacific halibut in the guided sport charter sector in Area 2C. The recreational halibut fishery in this area is critically important to the local economy and brings non-resident anglers from across the entire nation to Alaska. As it is currently written, the proposed rule will modify the daily bag limit from 2 fish per day to 1 fish any size and 1 fish smaller than 32 inches and stands to severely disrupt this important historic fishery. My opposition to this action is outlined in the following points.
1) Proposed rule is a misuse of guideline harvest limit (GHL). GHL’s set forth in 50 CFR 300.65(c)were established to monitor the halibut charter fleet not to restrict its activity or growth. Downward adjustments to GHL’s are only to be taken when there is a decline in Pacific halibut abundance.
2) Proposed rule is based on incomplete data. NMFS is using data developed through Alaska’s Statewide Harvest Surveys (SWHS) to support the proposed rule. At this time, SWHS data from the 2006 season are preliminary projections and will not be finalized until August of 2007. It is not appropriate for NMFS to take such drastic action using incomplete data.
3) Proposed rule will discriminate against non-resident anglers. The vast majority of non-resident anglers that travel to Alaska to fish for halibut do so in Area 2C. The proposed regulations will disproportionately affect the non-resident anglers that fish this area and damage the traditional charter fleet supported by these fishermen.
4) Proposed rule fails to take into consideration growth of the sector. When GHL’s were implemented, levels were set to accommodate growth in this sector. Since the GHL was put into effect in 2003, it has been exceeded every year; hence, it was never set appropriately and set to be exceeded.
Growth of the charter fleet harvest in Area 2C has increased, on average, less than 1% annually with only higher increases in recent years. This gradual and expected increase is consistent with discussion during the development of GHL’s.
5) Proposed rule fails to impose restrictions on commercial fishing sector. Under the proposed rule, fishing reductions will only be implemented on the charter sector of the fishery. The recreational halibut fishery is far more valuable than commercial halibut landings yet the guided sector is restricted
to an allocation less than 20% of the poundage allocated for commercial bycatch. A more efficient approach would impose management measures to reduce waste in the form of commercial bycatch and use the savings to accommodate the natural growth of the guided sector harvest.

Thank for your consideration,

Monday, April 9, 2007

Written comments must be received by April 23, 2007.

Dear NACO Member,

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), has proposed a rule that would restrict the harvest of halibut by persons fishing on a guided sport charter vessel in International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Regulatory Area 2C. The current sport fishing catch or bag limit of two halibut per day is proposed to be changed for a person sport fishing on a charter vessel in Area 2C to require that at least one of the two fish taken in a day
be no more than 32 inches in length and are requesting comments on the rule The intended effect of this action is a reduction in the poundage of halibut harvested by the guided sport charter vessel sector in Area 2C.

Current regulations applicable to sport fishing for halibut in all IPHC areas in Alaska are contained in section 25 of the 2007 annual
management measures ( 72 FR 11792 ; March 14, 2007). These regulations include the following restrictions per person sport fishing:
1. A single line with no more than two hooks attached or a spear;
2. A daily bag limit of two halibut of any size;
3. A possession limit of two daily bag limits; and
4. A sport fishing season of February 1 through December 31.

DATES: Written comments must be received by April 23, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS,
Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:
Mail: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802 1668;
Hand deliver to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK;
Fax: 907-586 7557;
E-mail: Include in the subject line of the e-mail the following document identifier:

"Charter Vessel Halibut 0648-AV47". E-mail comments with or without attachments are limited to 5 megabytes; or
Webform at the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal:
Follow the instructions at that site for submitting comments.

Copies of the Draft Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/IRFA) prepared
for this action are available from NMFS at the above address or from the NMFS Alaska Region website at

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jay Ginter or Jason Gasper, (907) 586-7228 or email at or

Friday, April 6, 2007

2C gets restrictive measures proposed


Home | News Releases | News

NOAA Fisheries
National Marine Fisheries Service
Alaska Region

P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, Alaska 99802-1668

Sheela McLean, (907) 586-7032

April 6, 2007

NOAA Fisheries proposes regulations for guided sport halibut fishing in SE Alaska

NOAA Fisheries (National Marine Fisheries Service) today proposed new regulations in the Federal Register for guided sport halibut fishing in Southeast Alaska.

A public comment period on the proposed new regulations started today and ends April 23, 2007.

The proposed regulations would restrict the harvest of halibut by anglers fishing on a guided sport charter vessel in International Pacific Halibut Commission Regulatory Area 2C in Southeast Alaska. The proposed regulations would change the current sport fishing bag limit of two halibut per day to require that at least one of the two fish taken in a day be no more than 32 inches (81.3 cm) long.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates that the 32-inch maximum size restriction for one of two potential halibut taken by charter vessel clients would reduce the overall harvest in Area 2C by the charter vessel sector by about 425,000 pounds (192.8 metric tons).

Regulation language proposes the following change to regulations at 50 CFR 300.65 for anglers fishing from a charter vessel in Area 2C only:

Charter vessel anglers would be allowed a daily bag limit of two halibut per sport fishing client on a charter vessel operating in Area 2C provided that at least one of the two halibut retained is no longer than 32 in (81.3 cm) with its head on. If only one halibut is retained by the sport fishing client, it could be of any length. Note that a charter vessel is a vessel used for hire in sport fishing for halibut, but not including a vessel without a hired operator.

Charter vessel anglers would not be allowed to possess halibut on board a charter vessel in Area 2C that has been mutilated or otherwise disfigured in a manner that prevents the determination of size or number of fish. Filleted halibut may be possessed on board the charter vessel provided that the entire carcass, with the head and tail connected as single piece, is retained on board until all fillets are offloaded. This requirement allows enforcement officers to determine the size of landed halibut.
The regulation would be in place for the entire sport fishing halibut season which is authorized through December 31, 2007.

This proposed regulatory change is necessary to reduce the halibut harvest in the charter vessel sector while minimizing negative impacts on this sector, its sport fishing clients, and the coastal communities that serve as home ports for the fishery. The intended effect of this action is a reduction in pounds of halibut harvested by the guided sport charter vessel sector in Area 2C.

Methods for submitting public comments are in the proposed rule.

The Draft Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis and other, related information can be seen at:

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat. To learn more about NOAA Fisheries in Alaska, please visit our websites at or at

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Area 2C and Area 3A Guideline Harvest Level Motion

Area 2C and Area 3A Guideline Harvest Level Motion
April 1, 2007
Area 2C GHL Management Measures
Alternative 1. No action
Alternative 2. Implement one or more of the following management measures to reduce charter halibut
harvests to the Guideline Harvest Level.
Option 1. No more than one trip per vessel per day.
Option 2. No harvest by skipper and crew; line limits (number of lines = numbers of clients).
Option 3. Annual limits of four or five or six fish per angler
Option 4. Reduced bag limits of one fish per day for May, June, July, August, September, or the entire
Option 5. A two fish bag limit with one fish any size and one fish larger than 45” or 50”.
Option 6. A two fish bag limit with one fish any size and one fish less than 32 inches.
Option 7. A two fish bag limit with one fish any size and one fish either less than 32” or greater than
45”or 50”.
Option 8. Combination of Options 1, 2, & 5 (one trip; skipper/crew; trophy 2nd fish)
Option 9. Combination of Options 1, 2, & 6 (one trip; skipper/crew; <32” 2nd fish)
Option 10. Combination of Options 1, 2, & 7 (one trip; skipper/crew; <32” or trophy 2nd fish)
Option 11. Combination of Options 1, 2, 3, & 5 (one trip; skipper/crew; annual limits; trophy 2nd fish)
Option 12. Combination of Options 1, 2, 3, & 6 (one trip; skipper/crew; annual limits; <32” 2nd fish)
Option 13. Combination of Options 1, 2, 3, & 7 (one trip; skipper/crew; annual limits; <32” or trophy
2nd fish)
Three options were considered and rejected for future action: 1) Closing the season after August 15,
Sept 1, or Sept 15; 2) Closing one or more days of the week to halibut fishing; and 3) A minimum size
limit of 32 inches.
The Council requested that staff compare options relative to status quo (Alt 1) and Option 6 (NMFS
preferred alternative for 2007) and discuss the possibility that the GHL step down provisions may be
triggered in 2008 as a result of a reduced CEY in Area 2C. This is to inform the public that the Council
may choose to select management measures to achieve a harvest of either the current GHL of 1.432 M
lbs or the step down of 1.217 M lbs for Area 2C.
Area 3A GHL Management Measures
Alternative 1. No action
Alternative 2. Implement one or more of the following management measures to reduce charter halibut
harvests to the Guideline Harvest Level.
Option 1. No more than one trip per vessel per day.
Option 2. No harvest by skipper and crew; line limits (number of lines = numbers of clients).
Option 3. Limits of four or five or six fish per angler.
Option 4. Reduced bag limits of one fish per day for May, June, July, August, or the entire season.
Option 5. A two fish bag limit with one fish any size and one fish larger than 45” or 50”.
Option 6. A two fish bag limit with one fish any size and one fish less than 32”, 34”, or 36”.
Option 7. A two fish bag limit with one fish any size and one fish less than 32” or larger than 45” or

Motion for Compensated Reallocation

Motion for Compensated Reallocation between Commercial and Charter Sectors in Areas 2C and 3A halibut resource. Unless a mechanism for transfer between sectors is established, the Council will continue to serve as the arbitrator and the existing environment of instability and conflict will continue. The Council seeks to address this instability while balancing the needs of all who depend on the halibut resource for food, sport, or livelihood.
Action 2. Implement measures to allow compensated reallocation from the commercial
charter sector to the charter halibut sector
Element 1 Entity/Structures to provide for compensated reallocation
Option 1. government - common pool
Suboption 1. state
Suboption 2. federal
Option 2. regional (2C or 3A) private non-profit (PNP) charter associations/entities - common pool
Option 3. individual - private
Suboption 1. persons holding a sport fishing guide business license from the state
Suboption 2. persons holding a guided sport halibut moratorium license (upon implementation)
Element 2 Method for Purchase/Lease
Option 1. state – common pool
Suboption 1. loan
Suboption 2. bonding
Option 2. federal – common pool
Suboption 1. loan
Suboption 2. buyout program (similar to SE seine buyback program)
Option 3. regional private non-profit – common pool
Suboption 1. loan
Suboption 2. commercial bond
Option 4. individual - private
Suboption 1. loan
Element 3 Revenue Stream
Non-self assessment revenue streams will be for a defined period and end after the loan or bond is paid off, i.e. continuous open-ended revenue streams are to be avoided.
There needs to be a link between the charter business operators and the cost of increasing the charter pool. (If the charter business operators do not experience the cost of increasing the charter pool, there
will not be a feedback loop to balance the market system.)
page 2 4/1/07
Option 1. state
Suboption 1. charter stamp
Suboption 2. self-assessment
option 1. fee is based on number of clients
option 2. fee is based on number of fish
Suboption 3. business license fee/surcharge
Option 2. federal
Suboption 1. federal halibut stamp
Suboption 2. moratorium permit fee
Suboption 3. self-assessment
option 1. Fee is based on number of clients
option 2. Fee is based on number of fish
Option 3. regional private non-profit – self assessment
Suboption 1. fee is based on number of clients
Suboption 2. fee is based on number of fish
Element 4 Sector Floor Ranges
The percentages are based on the combined commercial and charter catch limit. These are intended to establish a minimum amount that will always be available to each sector.
A. commercial: 60 – 75%
B. charter:
2C: 12 – 16%
3A: 13 – 15%
Note: These ranges should not be construed as endorsement of allocation ranges.
Element 5 Restrictions on transferability of commercial quota share
Option 1. Limits on purchase
A. entities purchasing for a common pool:
Suboption 1. limited annually to a percentage of the amount of QS transferred during
the previous year
option 1. during the first 3 years: 30 – 50%
option 2. after the first 3 years: 20 – 50%
Suboption 2. limitation would be based on block size. Block size restrictions may vary
based on vessel size class
(These suboptions are not intended to be mutually exclusive.)
B. individual: subject to the current ownership cap and block restrictions associated with
commercial quota share
Option 2. Limits on leasing
A. individual:
Suboption 1. an individual may not own or control more than the amount equal to the
current setline ownership cap converted to the number of fish in each area
(currently 1% of the setline catch limit in 2C or ½% in 3A)
Suboption 2. an individual may not own or control more than 2,000, 5,000, or 10,000
fish. (Note: examine this as a percentage of the catch limit once allocations are
page 3 4/1/07
Element 6 Mechanics for converting commercial quota share into Guided Angler Fish (GAF)
1. An entity must meet the eligibility requirement under element 2 to participate in the Guided Angler Fish (GAF) program. (i.e., an entity must have a sport fishing guide business license and/or a halibut moratorium license, or be a designated charter association/entity or branch of the government, to participate in the GAF program.)
2. These qualifying entities may purchase commercial QS and request NMFS the issue annual IFQs generated by these shares as Guided Angler Fish.
3. Qualified entities harvesting GAF while participating in the guided sport halibut fishery are exempt from landing and use restrictions associated with commercial IFQ fishery, but subject to the landing and use provisions detailed below.
4. GAF would be issued in numbers of fish. The conversion between annual IFQ and GAF would be based on average weight of halibut landed in each region’s charter halibut fishery (2C or 3A) during the previous year as determined by ADF&G. The long-term plan may require further conversion to some other form (e.g., angler days).
5. Commercial fishermen who do not hold a sport fishing guide business license and/or
moratorium permit may lease up to 10% of their annual IFQs for use as GAF.
6. Commercial fishermen who hold QS and a sport fishing guide business license and/or a halibut moratorium license may convert all or a portion of their commercial QS to GAF on a yearly basis if they own and fish it themselves on their own vessel. Commercial and charter fishing may not be conducted during the same trip.
7. Subleasing of GAF would be prohibited.
8. GAF holders may request NMFS convert unused GAF into IFQ pounds for harvest in
compliance with commercial fishing regulations provided the GAF holder qualifies under the commercial IFQ regulations.
9. Unused GAF would revert back to pounds of IFQ at the end of the year and be subject to the underage provisions applicable to their underlying commercial QS.
10. All compensated reallocation would be voluntary based using willing seller and willing buyer.
Suboption. Pro-rata reduction and compensation.
11. Guided angler fish derived from commercial QS may not be sold into commerce, i.e., all sport regulations remain in effect.
12. Guided angler fish derived from commercial QS may not be used to harvest fish in excess of a
2 fish total bag limit on any given day.

Council Motion on Charter Halibut Moratorium in Area 2C and 3A

Council motion – Halibut charter moratorium 3/31/07
Council Motion on Charter Halibut Moratorium in Area 2C and 3A
March 31, 2007
The Council recommends the following as the final preferred alternative for the charter halibut moratorium (limited entry) action in IPHC Areas 2C and 3A.
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.
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. Businesses3 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
Issue 2. Permit would be designated for Area 2C or Area 3A. If a business owner qualifies for a
permit in both areas based on the history from a single vessel, he/she 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.
Issue 5. Transfers of permits (permanent) for vessels that qualified at trip levels of 15 and above in Area 2C and Area 3A would be allowed up to use caps. Permits issued below trip levels of 15 in Area 2C and Area 3A would be non-transferable.
Issue 6. Leasing of permits would not be allowed.
Issue 7. Permit Endorsement for Number of Halibut Clients on Board
Highest number on any trip in 2004 or 2005, with minimum endorsement of 4.
Permits issued under the military hardship provision would receive a halibut client endorsement of 6.
Issue 8. Permits may be stacked up to use caps.7
Issue 9. Evidence of participation is ADF&G saltwater logbook entry with bottomfish statistical
area, rods, or boat hours.8
Issue 10. Qualification period
Option 10.1. Each licensed guide business owner(s) who reported a minimum of 5 bottomfish logbook trips during 2004 or 2005 and year prior to implementation9 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 3 permits under a 5 trip minimum (24/5 = 4, but the maximum number of vessels in that year is 3).
Issue 11. Use caps, with grandfather11 provision. The AFA 10% ownership rule for affiliation12 will be applied to determine the number of permits associated with an entity under the use cap.
Option 2. 5 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 10 or fewer active13 charter
businesses terminated trips in the community in each of the years 2004 and 2005 may request limited
entry permits.14
Area 2C – use cap of 4 requested permits per eligible community.
Area 3A – use cap of 7 requested permits per eligible community.

Overall use caps for all CQEs in a management area are 2 times those selected for the qualifying
CQE requested permit use cap for each area. (Staff note: result is overall use cap of 8 permits for
each CQE in Area 2C and 14 permits for each CQE in Area 3A).
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., permanently transferred).
• Under reporting requirements, the CQE must identify the recipient of the permit prior to issuance.
• The requested CQE permit must be used in the community represented by the CQE (the trip must originate or terminate in the CQE community).
The Council also recommends that NMFS issue interim permits to licensed fishing guide business owners appealing their permit status. (Staff note: NOAA GC will develop an approach to implement the Council’s intent with regard to interim permits and provide these recommendations as an informational report at the June 2007 Council meeting. The Council expressed an interest in limiting the issuance of interim permits only to those claims that have provided legitimate documentation and have a basis for success.)

This Post taken from the NPFMC website 4/3/07

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Moratorium Passes -3A GHL goes to analysis

This is a preliminary report on the moratorium information in brief. I will pass on the complete Council Motion when I have an electric copy for ease of production. In a Nutshell this is what is covered in the moratorium.

Based on 5 or more trips in 2004 or 2005, and in the year prior to implementation (you have to still be active with more than 5 trips) you will get a permit. If you have less than 15 trips your permit may not be transferrable, but you can fish it forever or until you die (like we will probably have to do), or until a Permanent Solution supercedes it, like IFQ’s.
We are hoping it will pass through approval in time for implementation in 2009.
We now have to follow it into NMFS Juneau office and then on to Washington DC. to make sure it doesn’t get pigeon-holed somewhere. I will inform you where and when we need letters sent in support.
A moratorium permit is for Area 2C or 3A so you have to stay where you are at, or sell your 3A when you move to Sitka and buy a 2C permit. (Who would ever want to do that?)
The permit will be issued to the guide Business owner.
You cannot lease your permit to another person.
Your permit will be endorsed for the maximum number of halibut clients you carried on any trip in 2004 or 2005 and the minimum number is 4 people.
You can accumulate up to 5 permits in a business, those original businesses that have over that number will be grandfathered in but if any permits are sold from that business the permits sold will lose their grandfather rights and the rest of the permits will be still grandfathered. That business with the remaining grandfathered permits cannot then buy more permits up to their original number again, once any permits are sold the remaining number is limited up to the use cap of 5 permits.
Each business who reported 5 bottomfish trips during 2004 or 2005 and the year prior to implementation would be issued a permit based on the number of trips summed for all vessels in his best year (2004, or 2005) 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 year during the qualifying period.
CQE program – the council allows communities with less than 10 active charter businesses in 2004 and 2005 to request up to 4 permits in 2C or 7 permits in 3A. These permits will not be transferable. They must be used in that community.

In my rough math (I am no Rex Murphy) I figure that of the total 662 boats in area 3A, 561 boats qualified for moratorium permits with 51 not qualifying and of the 561 boats qualified 90 will be non transferable. Some day we will have only 431 boats in area 3A
In 2C there are 761 boats total, 689 boats qualified and some day there will be only 562.

So we have a moratorium passed and now we wait until it is written and then approved in DC. by the Secretary of Commerce. This action passed the council with no dissention. A strong message.

The GHL analysis was revised for 2C to include more restrictions and should get final action in June at the Council meeting in Sitka. The council began an analysis for 3A and it may or may not have a review in June (more likely in October in Anchorage). We may see the GHL restrictions implemented here in 3A as early as 2008 under Emergency Rule by NMFS. In 2C they are proposing an Emergency Rule for implementation in June 2007 which will hold 2C charters closer to the GHL. Also in 2C the Total Catch for charters may be reduced due to the “Stair-Step Down” clauses in the GHL which takes more fish from the charters and makes the GHL restrictions even more harsh. We need to start thinking about what we want for 2008 Emergency Rule in this area, I testified against the analysis initiation now but then I had other officers (Tim Evers, Larry McQuarrie) in the Halibut Charter Coalition of Alaska testify that we had a change of heart (at lunch) to support beginning an analysis only because to start the analysis now will give us more time to prepare for it when it does happen. Kinda had to decide if we want to keep denying it is coming or if we want to know now so we can get ready. The latter became our choice of poison.

The Halibut Charter Coalition of Alaska of which Homer Charter Association is a sponsoring association, did not prepare any position on an allocation change and the stakeholder’s committee had a position but not enough according to Greg Sutter. We did not think there was much chance to see the council support another allocation adjustment beyond the Advisory Panel’s recommendation (the Stakeholder Committee’s recommendation I add) so we did not testify in any support outside the AP’s recommendation except to move it up some, no numbers were developed by us. We talked to several council members and commercial players and were told there was not much support beyond the AP’s recommendation which was moving 2C’s percentage of the combined commercial/charter catch level from 13% to 16% and to adjust 3A’s combined catch level from 14% to 15%. There was talk about making the GHL a floor, no less than what is is now, and there was Greg’s position for 2C’s to go to 18.2% and 3A’s to go to 15.3%. We know it ended up with Ed Rasmuson's approved motion to set up the Allocation Initial Review at the Oct 07 meeting and Final Review at the Dec 07 meeting. Under Element 1 they also added a Formula of 125% of average harvest of 2001-2005, translated to %: Area 2C = 17% and Area 3A = 15% (about exactly what we figired we were gonna get). Under Element 3 they also added something about the Commercial/Charter Working Group Recommendations on Compensated Reallocation, the work we took part in added below.

I was placed on a work group made up of 4 commercial and 4 charter members (2 from ACA and 2 from HCCA) to draft a start to the discussion of how to develop a recompensation program for any future reallocation from the commercial quota holders to us and in what ways we can do it. Attached is the outline we created for your review but I know we will have more work to do in explaining it and then it goes to the “Stakeholders Committee” and then to the Advisory Panel, and then to the council so it will not be black and white by then, probably black and blue if we can hold it together at all. This opportunity to look into the ways to create a program that lets us buy more fish, how we do it, and how we pay for it was right up our ally, We have kept informed of the workings of the group that met with the government loan program administrators and we do have some experience with the commercial IFQ program for both the program itself and the loans available in the federal government through our involvement on the original charter IFQ committee back in 2000.

The commercial group really wanted us to agree that after this council makes the allocation adjustment discussed above there will be full compensation to the commercial fleet from now on. we cannot make an agreement for you but the message was clear, they don’t want to see any more quota “Taken” from them in the future. We will probably see this one last adjustment of allocation and then that is it. How we buy more and then pay of it is still wrapped around either an individual IFQ “new charter program will be Guided Angler Fish or (GAF)” with individual ownership or a group or pool GAF with no individual ownership. We are still in the game.

I feel that with the regrouping of the original charter players of Tim Evers, Larry McQuarrie, and myself we made a real strong impression at this meeting. HCCA (DCCA and the Prince of Wales “Prince” and HCA) members are recognized as informed, reasonable, and credible and no other charters can claim the long history of involvement like we can. We missed John Goodhand, he was laid up in Fairbanks with a bad back, making his contribution via the phone, but Ken Larson from the Prince William Sound Charterboat Owners Association more than made up for John with his involvement. Ken kept all Valdez, Whittier, and Seward charters represented and was essential to us by his word processing, tireless energy, and mental support throughout this endeavor.

I want to thank Sean and Gerri Martin, Gary Ault, Mike Swan, Joe Svmberski, Mike Coates, Roark Brown, Chuck and Joanne Collins for taking time out of their schedules and attending, testifying and supporting the others and especially the team of Tim Evers, Larry McQuarrie, and myself. We arranged a meeting with the Director of Sport Fish, Kelly Hepler and some of his staff for informal discussions with the charter members present which was real informative, other conversations were made possible with the Commissioner of F&G with Chuck & Joanne Collins while in the council meeting which always impresses those decision makers when they hear “Your “ stories and concerns about the impacts of their decisions. This is how it works, and I really do thank you all for your continued support of my efforts, I always learn a lot from you during those discussions and it helps keep my energy up when I feel overwhelmed. Many council people were expressing surprise and gratitude for my involvement again. I forget how much headway we have made for this industry and even though I have my issues as a result of my involvement it was good to be “Back on the floor”. I have established a lot of credibility and many realize my knowledge of the industry is extensive. Thank you all for your support in every way.