Alaska Charter Association

To Protect the Rights and to Conserve the Resources of Alaska's Sport Fishery
ACA News September 2016
Results from NOAA's 2015 Charter Halibut Attitudes Survey: CSP, GAF Not Popular

Only a small percentage of charter halibut permit holders in Alaska used the option of renting commercial quota through the Guided Angler Fish program (GAF). A large majority says that the conditions set up by the Catch Sharing Plan have had a negative affect on their business. In general, permit holders were supportive of a proposal like CATCH (now referred to as an RQE, Recreational Quota Entity), under which quota would be purchased and pooled by the guided angler sector to relax overall restrictions in the guided halibut fishery in Alaska.

These conclusions are the results of a survey NOAA's economists conducted in 2015 among the Alaska charter halibut fishing fleet, (titled Attitudes and Preferences Toward Pacific Halibut Management Alternatives in the Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Sector in Alaska: Results from a Survey.
NOAA hopes to complete a survey of resident and non-resident anglers in 2017 to study the value of the Alaskan recreational halibut fishery, how the increased regulations have affected their decisions and the economic value of the fishery and how it affects the economy of Alaska.

Kenai Classic Political Roundtable

The Kenai River Sportfishing Association held its 25th Annual "Kenai Classic" event in August, and was well-attended by business leaders and elected officials dedicated to preserving the fishery. A major part of the event is the Kenai Roundtable on National Recreational Fishing, hosted by Yamaha Marine Group. Jim Martin represented the Recreational Fishing Alliance, alongside leaders from the American Sportfishing Association, Center for Coastal Conservation, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the Congressional Sportsmens Foundation, and North Pacific Fishery Management Council member Andy Mezirow. Alaskan Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan participated on the dais and gave their thoughts on the importance of recreational fishing in federal law. 

Mezirow gave an excellent overview of the Recreational Quota Entity and the history of halibut allocation battles in Alaska. An overall theme of the Roundtable was the need for flexibility in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and the need for alternative management for recreational fisheries - tools that already exist in non-federal fisheries managed by states. 

"It was a great opportunity to network with other sportfishing leaders from around the country, and elected officials from the state of Alaska. We got a great reception from the legislators I talked with,: reported Martin. "We will need their support to enact legislation to support the Recreational Quota Entity, and other issues important to our industry." To view the video news release about the 2016 Kenai Classic Roundtable on National Recreational Fishing, go to our new blog at the ACA website.

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 - open to the public:

October 24, 2016 1-5 PM  in Anchorage, AK - location To Be Determined. 

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 in the Media
ACA is working with Fish Alaska magazine to educate anglers about the Recreational Quota Entity (RQE). The proposal is coming up for consideration at the North Council in December and we're calling on anglers to write in with their support. We've taken out a full-page ad in the Fall issue and President Richard Yamada has written an editorial that explains the issue. Keep an eye out for the issue when it hits the stands towards the end of the month!

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!