Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Its official!! Feds propose limited entry halibut charters.

NOAA Fisheries opens comments on proposal limiting charter halibut boats
NOAA Fisheries has opened comment on a proposed program designed to limit the number of charter boats in the guided sport halibut fishery in Southeast Alaska and the central Gulf of Alaska.
“The guided sport charter halibut sector has been growing steadily in recent years,” said Acting Regional Administrator Doug Mecum. “The proposed limited access program is intended to stabilize the guided charter sector while maintaining access to the halibut charter fishery for small rural coastal communities."
Under the proposed program,
permits would be issued to qualifying individuals or businesses that documented fishing trips during a qualifying year (2004 or 2005) and a recent participation year (probably 2007 or 2008) in their logbooks;
halibut guide business operators would be required to hold a permit for each boat they use to provide their charter clients with halibut fishing trips;
charter halibut permit holders would be subject to limits on the number of permits they could hold and on the number of charter boat anglers who could catch and retain halibut on their charter boats;
newcomers could enter the charter halibut fishery only if they were able to purchase an existing permit;
permits could be issued to community quota groups representing specific rural communities;
permits would be endorsed for fishing only in a specific International Pacific Halibut Commission management area;
permits would be endorsed for the maximum number of clients on the boat
Unguided or independent sport fishermen and subsistence fishermen would not be included under the proposed charter halibut limited access program.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to develop the proposed limited access program for the sport charter halibut fishery in March, 2007.
The proposed program would apply only in International Pacific Halibut Commission regulatory areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska).
Comments must be received by June 5, 2009.
The proposed new management system is described in detail in the proposed rule at
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit To learn more about NOAA Fisheries in Alaska, visit or:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rumor Has It!

Halibut Charter Moritorium will be announced this week. The hotest word in the blogosphere is about the halibut charter guide moritorium being announced for its final public comment period this week. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has established a limited entry program for the halibut sport charter industry operating in southeast and southcentral Alaska. This program is anticipated to go into effect in 2010. Qualification for operating licenses under the program is based on participation during the 2004 or 2005 fishing seasons. Businesses not granted licenses will not be eligible to fish for halibut once this program goes into effect. Further information regarding this limited entry program can be obtained by calling the National Marine Fisheries Service at (907) 586-7228

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Johnson OUT!

Governor Palin says. “Brent Johnson was both qualified and willing to serve on this high-profile board, and would have been the first Cook Inlet setnetter appointed since Dannie Garroutte was appointed by Governor Jay Hammond in 1975,” she said. “While it‘s discouraging to see politics undercut Brent’s opportunity for service, I recognize the legislature’s statutory authority not to confirm an appointment. I remain proud of the many individual Alaskans who spoke up in support of Brent Johnson, and thank the presiding officers for their efforts to keep the process fair.”

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Inordinate and potentially unfair" influence of commercial fishermens groups!

Members of the state Legislature have introduced resolutions asking Gov. Sarah Palin to examine the "inordinate and potentially unfair, unethical, and disproportionate influence of the commercial fisheries industries on fisheries management in Alaska."
The lawsuit the United Cook Inlet Drift Association, a commercial salmon fishermen's group, filed against the U.S. commerce secretary on March 5. The lawsuit, among other things, wants stop to personal use dipnet fisheries open to Alaska residents only. In their resolutions, the legislators ask the governor to oppose the lawsuit. And they ask for an examination of the commercial fishing industry's "disproportionate influence."Rep. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, is the prime sponsor of House Joint Resolution 32. Sen. Charlie Huggins, R-Wasilla, is the prime sponsor of Senate Joint Resolution 22.

Get ahold of your local repsesentatives! A call, email or letter is a powerful tool to help get your point across.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

King Salmon bycatch hard cap. Too little Too late?

The panel voted unanimously Monday to cap the number at 60,000, or fewer under certain conditions.
Billions of pounds of Bering Sea pollock are caught each year. But village fishermen say the pollock fleet is catching and killing far too many of the salmon that communities depend on for food and money.
Nicole Ricci, a foreign affairs officer for the State Department, told the council just before the vote that the cap wouldn't do enough to meet a treaty agreement between the United States and Canada to ensure strong salmon stocks in the Yukon River.
"I don't understand how you can call this a reduction," Ricci said. She noted that the upper limit of the cap is higher than the average bycatch over the past decade.
"This has been one of the most disappointing things that I have sat through," she said.
Under the motion approved by the council, the cap would drop down to about 47,600 salmon if the industry's salmon bycatch routinely exceeds recent averages. Those refusing to take part in incentive programs would face far lower bycatch limits.
The council, consisting of government and industry representatives, sends recommendations to the U.S. commerce secretary for approval before the new bycatch rules can take effect in 2011.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Palins pick for fish board draws fire.

Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) Opposes Johnson’s Appointment to Alaska Board of Fisheries.
Sportfishermen are opposing the appointment of Brent Johnson to the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF).
.“Anyone who believes in Alaskan’s subsistence, sport and personal use fishing rights should be appalled by this appointment,” said KRSA executive director Ricky Gease. “Johnson is unable to see other points of view and has shown in his past interactions with the Board that he is not able to take a fair and balanced approach to fish allocation decisions.”
Tell your legislator what you think about this pick.