A 45-day public comment period is open on a halibut catch sharing plan for Southeast and the Central Gulf of Alaska.
The plan was recommended by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council last fall and the public comment period is part of the process for implementing new federal regulations. Rachel Baker is a fishery management specialist with NOAA Fisheries in Alaska.
“It will change the annual process of allocating halibut between the charter and commercial fisheries in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska,” she says. “It will establish allocations for each sector and then specify methods for setting harvest restrictions for charter anglers.”
The proposed system would allocate a percentage of the combined charter and commercial catch to the charter fleet, with the overall amount set each year by the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
To keep the charter catch at allocation levels, the North Pacific council is expected to annually recommend charter fleet management measures as well as bag and size limits. The plan would replace the guideline harvest level system currently in place for the charter fleet.
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