NPFMC posts Newsletter following Oct council Meeting

The newsletter is posted at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/newsletters/NEWS1007.pdf

There is a lot of information in this newsletter regarding salmon bycatch, crab rationalization, call for nominations and appointments, socioeconomic data collection, polock trip limits, arrowtooth MRA’s, COA Pacfic Cod sector splits and much more.

They had the following to say about the halibut issues:

Charter Halibut

The Council received a number of reports related to charter

halibut fishery management, including reviews by its SSC of two

reports by ADF&G Sport Fish Division staff on charter halibut

discard mortality data and estimation procedures for charter

halibut, demersal shelf rockfish, and shark harvests. SSC

comments are posted on the Council’s website.

The Council reviewed final estimates of 2006 charter halibut

harvests by ADF&G Sport Fish Division staff. The Area 2C

charter harvest was 1.804 M lb, which is 26 percent over the Area

2C GHL of 1.432 M lb. The final estimate is about 225,000 lb

lower than last year’s projection of 2006 harvest. Last year’s

projection was high by 12.4 percent. The Area 3A charter harvest

was 3.664 M lb, which is 0.37 percent over the Area 3A GHL of

3.650 M lb. The final estimate for Area 3A is about 284,000 lb

lower than last year’s projection of 2006 harvest. Last year’s

projection was high by 7.7 percent. The differences between the

projections and final estimates are due almost entirely to

differences in the numbers of fish harvested.

The Council reviewed a draft analysis of proposed measures to

reduce charter halibut harvest to the Area 3A GHL of 3.65 Mlb.

The Council also reviewed a supplemental analysis that

incorporated the final 2006 harvest estimates. The Council

approved release of the analysis to the public and scheduled final

action in October 2008, after final 2007 charter halibut harvests

will be released by ADF&G. Potential management measures

include: (1) No more than one trip per charter vessel per day; (2)

No harvest by skipper or crew and a limit on the number of lines

to not exceed the number of paying clients; (3) Annual limits of

four fish, five fish, or six fish per charter angler; (4) Reduced bag

limits of one fish per day in May, June, July, August, September

or for the entire season; (5) Requiring one of two fish in a daily

bag to be larger than 45 inches or 50 inches; or (6) Requiring one

of two fish in a daily bag to measure less than, or equal to, 32

inches, 34 inches, or 36 inches. The public review draft of the

analysis will be available in August 2008. The Council

recommended, that the ADF&G Commissioner issued, an

emergency order for 2008 for the same line limits and prohibition

on retention of halibut by charter skippers and crew as was

implemented in 2007 in Area 3A.

The Council reviewed a preliminary analysis of options to set an

allocation between the charter and commercial halibut sectors and

options for a compensated reallocation program, in which a

Federal, State, regional non-profit, or individual entity would be

allowed to purchase commercial halibut quota shares (QS) for use

in the charter sector. Elements of the compensated reallocation

program were sent to the Halibut Stakeholder Committee as part

of its development of a permanent solution to the growth in the

charter halibut sector during its meeting on October 30 through

November 1 in Anchorage.

The Council replaced the compensated reallocation approach with

a market-based reallocation approach in the current analysis. The

initial charter allocation would be a common harvest pool for all

charter moratorium permit holders. The charter allocation would

not be a hard cap that would result in closing the fishery when the

charter allocation is exceeded. Instead, the “buffered hard cap”

would address each year’s overage in subsequent years through

an annual regulatory analysis of management measures that

take into account the projected CEY for the following year

and any overages by the charter industry in the past year.

This will result in the charter industry “paying back” the

commercial industry by the number of pounds by which it

exceeded its allocation in a future year. In factoring such

payback into its subsequent allocations, the Council will not

revisit or readjust the sector split. An allocation overage

would trigger the regulatory process automatically, in

contrast with current GHL management. Any underages

would accrue to the benefit of the halibut biomass and

would not be reallocated or paid forward.

The annual regulatory analysis would examine a suite of

potential measures in its management toolbox. The Council

identified two tiers of measures to manage the charter

common pool for a season of historic length. Tier 1

measures include: (1) One trip per vessel per day; (2) No

retention by skipper or crew; (3) Line limits; (4) Second fish

of a minimum size; and (5) Second fish at or below a

specific length. Tier 2 measures would be analyzed if staff

identifies in the preparation of the analysis that Tier 1

options are inadequate to constrain harvest by the charter

common pool to its allocation. These include (1) Annual

catch limits; (2) 1 fish bag limit for all or a portion of the

season; and (3) Season closure on either monthly or subseasonal

basis. Specific suboptions that were analyzed in

previous GHL analyses would be included.

Due to the lag in implementation after an overage,

management measures will, in general, be slightly more

restrictive than necessary for conservation purposes. In

providing predictability and stability for the charter sector, it

is likely that charter fish may be left in the water. Individual

moratorium permit holders would be allowed to lease

commercial halibut IFQ, or use the IFQ resulting from

commercial QS already in their possession, to allow their

clients relief from those regulations that would be

implemented for the common pool, so long as that relief did

not result in less restrictive regulations than in place for

unguided anglers. The qualification criteria to hold

commercial QS would not be changed to allow charter

moratorium permit holders to purchase QS for use in the

charter sector.

Staff will provide a report on recordkeeping,

implementation, and enforcement issues related to the

proposed allocation/market-based reallocation program in

December 2007. Initial review of the analysis is scheduled

for February 2008, with final action scheduled for 2008.

Implementation would likely not occur prior to 2010 to

facilitate implementation of the moratorium program in

2009, at the earliest. The Stakeholder Committee will also

report on its recommendations for a permanent solution,

along with comments on the market-based approach

outlined above, and elements of the compensated

reallocation program that were not moved forward by the

Council in October. The Council’s motion and committee

meeting material will be posted on the Council’s website.

Staff contact is Jane DiCosimo.

 

The DEcember meeting will be preliminary review to answer questions staff raises regarding the allocation and interim marketbased transfer of IFQ’s and for the Council to receive the STakeholder committee report on the long term plans with compensated reallocation.

The Council now expects the allocation initial review to occur in Feb. and final decision at the April Council Meeting.

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