Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Halibut Sport Limits, Permits Face Final Action at NPFMC

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) is preparing to take final action this week on mixing of guided and unguided halibut taken by sport anglers on the same vessel. Under current regulations unguided sport fishermen may harvest halibut of any size without restriction and are not subject to an annual catch limit, while guided anglers are subject to restrictive regulations on daily bag limits, size, daily closures and annual catch limits.

The Council’s preliminary preferred alternative would be that when halibut harvested using sport fishing guide services is possessed with halibut harvested not using sport fishing guide services in International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) or 3A (Southcentral Alaska) that IPHC annual management measures for guided sport fishing for the area the halibut was harvested in apply to all halibut on board that fishing vessel. A public review of that analysis to limit possession of guided and unguided halibut on the same vessel is scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday, April 5) afternoon during the council’s spring meeting in downtown Anchorage, Alaska.

Also on the council’s meeting agenda is a possible final action on a proposed regulatory amendment to implement an annual renewal process for the Charter Halibut Permit, a component of the Charter Halibut Limited Access Program. The council’s preliminary preferred alternative includes a requirement for charter halibut permit holders to annually renew those permits through a National Marine Fisheries Service Restricted Access Management application process.

The council describes the intent of its proposed action it to provide more complete information to evaluate whether changes to the charter halibut permit program are necessary as a result of changes in ownership, to facilitate retirement of non-transferable permits when ownership changes, and to improve the ability of enforcement agents to ensure valid permits are being used.

Public comments on both proposed actions are posted online at

The council meeting will be broadcasted at and all motions passed will be posted online following the meeting.

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