Friday, April 6, 2007

2C gets restrictive measures proposed


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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:

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1 comment:

mark said...

Do we have to write it on a fish bat and pound it into the thick skulls of these people? Poundage (or inches) is only a convenient measure for comparison purposes. If you take a 31" fish it is no better for the future than taking, for example, a 51" fish. And the bigger the fish, the more likely it is to be traumatized by tormenting and releasing. If your goal is political, then admit it. If you want to help the fishery and more than a fare share are being caught then take corrective measures - whatever they may be. But don't try to convince sentient beings that in an environment with plenty of food that releasing big fish so that a smaller one can be caught is good for the future. One thing that will lead to is more people fishing like I do - catch whatever big ones you can and then grab whatever healthy chicken comes up to finish off. Half of my fish on a given day are smaller than most and the other half are bigger. Does that save any halibut? Why force it to be that way? Because they want to see more slimy, bloody carcasses at the dock? Because they want to appease the commercial fishermen shortsighted or ignorant enough to believe that a fifty pounder released (if it survives) is one more for him to catch? What if that rare day happens when they are all big? Do they think that releasing hundred pounders is healthy? What about a school of 30lb. footballs and the client that feels that he wants one a little closer to the 31 and 7/8" mark because there are so many 34"ers there? How much sorting to get that Goldilocks halibut - "Just Right"? We need to back up our brothers in Southeast -Even more so in light of the fact that if they do it there they will do it here. Almost any regulatory measure is better than a maximum size. There is always the "we screwed these guys by dragging our feet so we should buy some quota for them" train of thought. It sounds a lot better than "these greedy sport guys are catching too many so lets make them catch small ones". I really don't think that anybody other than new guys or NMFS did anything wrong here - Why should guys like Larry, who pioneered southeast chartering be punished because others came in after the original control date? The feds are apparently about to act more like state people - stupid. Come on guys - Sport halibut is a shining star. Please don't screw it up!