As halibut bycatch cuts of 50 percent or more loom for the Bering Sea flatfish trawlers, charter halibut fishermen are pitching a plan to acquire a bigger piece of the fishery on the other side of the Alaska Peninsula.

During its February meeting, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council finalized a working group to complete an initial analysis of CATCH, a program that would potentially replace the current halibut quota transfer program in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska.

Catch Accountability Through Compensated Halibut, or CATCH, has been developed as a way to efficiently transfer quota between the commercial and charter halibut sectors. This takes place under a regional catch-sharing plan instituted in 2014 that replaced a guideline harvest level for charter vessels with a percentage of the overall harvest.

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