Alaska Charter Association

To Protect the Rights and to Conserve the Resources of Alaska's Sport Fishery
ACA News October 2016
Hunting and Fishing License Fees Will Increase in 2017

House Bill 137 goes into effect in 2017, with resident and non-resident license fees for fishing and hunting being increased. Resident sportfishing annual license fees will go up $5, while a 14-day non-resident fishing license will spike by $25. 

The increased fees were widely supported by outdoors advocates because it will ensure that the state will continue to capture federal matching funds in the face of declining general fund budgeting for ADF&G.  For every dollar, the federal government will match it with three more.

Inside tip: if money is tight, you can still get a 2017 fishing license online at 2016 prices until the end of December.

NOAA Fisheries Update: A Vision for Managing America's Saltwater Recreational Fisheries

NOAA has issued a concise overview document denoting progress made in response to recommendations provided in by the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management; A Vision For Managing America's Saltwater Recreational Fisheries  also known as the Morris-Deal report. 

While the Commission's recommendations focused primarily on potential statutory changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, NOAA Fisheries identified responsive actions which could be taken in the absence of legislation. We recognize there is more work to be done and wanted to provide this progress report in accordance with our continued efforts to be transparent and responsive to the recreational fishing community.

If you have questions, please contact:  
Russell Dunn
National Policy Advisor for Recreational Fisheries
Office of the Assistant Administrator
NOAA Fisheries Service
727 551-5740

Time to Renew

As the 2016 fishing season winds down, it's time to renew your ACA membership for the upcoming year. We have a lot on our agenda and look forward to working with you on the issues affecting us all. Look for a renewal notice in the form of a PayPal invoice is you paid online last year; this will make it easier for you to include your membership dues as an annual expense. 

Dues for 2017 are $200, and it includes your membership in the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) - a $50 value. 

If you're a new member, it's easy to join. Just follow this link. Your donation is needed to help pay for our voice in the management process. Remember: if you're not at the table, you're on the menu.

For anglers who fish on charter vessels in Alaska, you can join as a supporting member and help protect your rights.

Charter Halibut Implementation Committee Meeting:  Options for 2017 Regulations - Your Input Needed

When: Monday, October 24, 2016 1-5 PM 
Where: 605 West 4th Avenue, Room 205, Anchorage,  AK.  

Council Member Andy Mezirow reminds us that at the last IPHC meeting, the Alaska delegation was asked to include options for charter halibut management measures designed to meet harvest levels "below the Blue Line" for the next meeting in 2017. This means that if the total allowable catch is lower next year, we must provide management options that would result in a lower harvest and present them to the North Council and the IPHC. We need to think about, and prepare to weigh in on, restrictions such as a one fish bag limit or an extra day closure, for area 3A.  In Area 2C, Southeast Alaska, lowering the size of the lower slot limit would reduce harvest levels.

ACA Board Members Daniel Donich, Mike Flores, and Richard Yamada serve on the Charter Halibut Implementation Committee. They need your input regarding the order in which certain harvest measures should be applied.  Should Area 3A go to a one fish daily bag limit before another day of the week closure?  Should Area 2C go to an annual limit of four fish before reducing the lower slot limit below 40 inches? On the flip side, if stocks improve and a higher catch limit is allowed, which current restrictions should be removed first? 

At this October meeting, we need to suggest harvest measures that can be analyzed by staff for the December meeting. If an option has not been analyzed, it cannot be considered at the December meeting, so it is important to get your input now. 

Council Staff contact for the Charter Halibut Implementation Committee is Steve MacLean: 907-271-2809. ACA Board member Daniel Donich can be contacted at 907-399-7202 with questions or input. Richard Yamada can be contacted at 907-723-0008. Both plan to attend the Committee meeting in Anchorage.

ACA Board Elections

ACA's board of directors elections are coming up, and five positions are open for two year terms. If you have an interest in serving on the board, or know someone who would be a good fit, send in nominations. Contact Jim Martin at 

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Still Pushing IFQs for Recreational Anglers

"One of the nation's largest environmental groups -- bankrolled with $50 million from the heirs to the Walmart fortune -- has spent millions of dollars pushing a wholesale change in how the U.S. manages its fisheries, an investigation reveals.

"Critics blame the Environmental Defense Fund effort for hurting fishing communities on every coast, from Kake, Alaska, and Gloucester, Mass., to Bayou La Batre, Alabama.

"The group has pushed a system that turns the right to catch a pound of fish into a private commodity that can be bought and sold like a share of stock on Wall Street. The government then gives these shares to individual commercial fishermen, granting them the right to catch that fish, or lease or sell the right to catch it to another fisherman.

"EDF has been profoundly successful at persuading regulators that commercial fisheries should be managed through these so called 'catch share' systems. Now the organization is turning its sights on recreational fishermen"...

Court Decision Casts Confusion over Salmon Management in the Cook Inlet

The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a decision to hand management of Cook Inlet salmon to the state of Alaska, causing uncertainty up and down the South-central coast about what the future may hold. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council had delegated authority to the state for management of these fisheries in 2011; in 2013 an association of commercial fishermen brought suit to bring management back into compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act. It is likely that the North Council will be directed to begin a Fishery Management Plan process for Cook Inlet salmon, but the result of that process may or may not favor the commercial interests that sought it. 

"I understand the interest on part of the plaintiffs in trying to improve their situation, but I was never convinced that even if they won it would improve their situation," he said. "What we don't want to have happen, is a situation could come up where you would have to close those waters, and the very people asking for this decision would be impacted the worst by it." - Sam Cotton.

Do you find most of your time is being spent in damage control brought on by regulations that continue to decreased fishing opportunities for your clients and you don't have time to attend important meetings that may further impact your future? You need an organization like ACA to inform, educate, and represent you at these important fisheries meetings. Please help support us with your $200 membership. Please join us Today!