The following have been assigned to North Council staff. ACA will be tracking these and will let you know when they are scheduled on the Council agenda.
RQE - The Council requests that staff develop a discussion paper exploring the possibility of changing or eliminating the ownership cap on Charter Halibut Permits for the Recreational Quota Entity to hold up to 30% of the CHP's in either area 3A or 2C.
CHP Latent Capacity - The Council requests that the Staff develop a discussion paper to explore mechanisms for reducing latent capacity in the Charter Halibut Permit program. This latent capacity could jeopardize the success of the RQE program and impact non-guided, subsistence and the directed longline sector. Some possible mechanisms might be explored; a single tier of limitation based on an average minimum use of the permit, a multiple set of limitation tiers that are based on low (less than 20 trips), medium (less than 50 trips) and high usage (51 or more trips), limit of the number of angler days per permit.
AP (Advisory Panel) Staff Tasking - Specifically, the AP recommends
that the Council expand the Charter Halibut Management Committee scope to include addressing latent capacity in the charter sector, ending leasing of non-transferable CHPs, the ability of the RQE to purchase or freeze CHPs, and other issues that directly affect the charter halibut sector.
"Possessing halibut harvested from both guided and unguided trips on the same vessel at the same time presents challenges for accountability and enforcement that cannot be adequately addressed by current regulations. This type of scenario can occur on multi-day and mothership charter fishing and floating lodges, and to a lesser extent on vessels that are owned by self-guided fishing operations that also provide sport fishing guide services to their clients that request them. The potential for mixing guided and unguided halibut exists on every floating lodge and mothership that services halibut harvesters, but the number of these operations remains unknown. Nevertheless, the issue is likely to expand as charter operators (and their employees) look for ways to maximize halibut harvests for guided and non-guided anglers on their vessels."
The upcoming IPHC (International Pacific Halibut Commission) will be held in Victoria, Canada January 23- 27. The proposed charter halibut harvest measures for 2017 that the Charter Halibut Management Committee made at the December Council meeting, will be ultimately determined by the Catch Limits set at this meeting.
From what we heard from the November, IPHC Interim meeting, while stocks continue to be stable or in some areas improving, further analysis of coastwide stock compositions made it necessary to slightly reverse recent trends in apportionment (size and sex composition of stock geographically distributed) from West to East to now East to West. So we can anticipate Area 2C, Southeast, to receive lower catch limits from last year and for Area 3A, Southcentral, to have a slight bump up.
While catch limits for the charter sector under the CSP (Catch Sharing Plan) provide the basis for guided angler bag limits, the estimated average size of fish and the number of anticipated anglers fishing in each Area will contribute to the determination of bag limits for 2017. The IPHC will determine bag limits based on the options given to them under various catch limit scenarios. The charter sector will be presenting arguments for keeping the same regulations as last year to maintain stability in our industry and to allow for flexibility in achieving Blue Line (historic Commission harvest policy) goals. If the Blue Line is adopted, this would mean more restrictive bag limits for 2017 in both Areas 2C and 3A.