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CATCH Report

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Commercial and Charter Catch Limits Set by IPHC 

Seattle, Jan. 17, 2014.  Commercial and Charter catch limits were announced today at the annual IPHC (International Pacific Halibut Commission) meeting. Click on the following link for results:
Daniel Donnich (ACA and Homer Charter Assn.), Jeff Wedekind (ACA and Ketchikan Guided Sportfishing Assn.), Larry Macquaire (KGSA), Richard Yamada (ACA and Juneau Charter Boat Operators Assn.), Tom Ohaus (SEAGO), and Ken Larson (Prince William Sound Charter Boat Assn.) attended the meeting as charter fishing representatives.

Based on the charter allocations under the new Catch Sharing Plan, Area 3A will be managed under a two fish bag limit, with the second fish having to be equal to or less than 29 inches in length. Only one trip per vessel, per day,  will be allowed and there will be no skipper and crew retention of halibut.

For Area 2C, a reverse slot limit, with the lower limit of 44 inches and the upper limit of 76 inches will be used to manage the charter fishery.

Other items of interest:
Robert Alverson and Donald Lane were chosen to fill US Commissioner vacancies.
Commercial fishing season will open March 8th and close November 7th, 2014.
2014 IPHC Interim meeting will be in Seattle, December 2-3.
2015 IPHC Annual meeting will be in Van Couver, BC January 26-30, 2015.
2016 IPHC Annual meeting will be in Juneau, AK January 25-29.
Rex Murphy's Regulatory Proposal to account for all removals, including removals of halibut under 32 inches, was directed to staff to analyze.
Greg Williams will be retiring from the IPHC in May, after a 36 years of service.  
Final Action on Definition of "Charter"  
The NPFMC (North Pacific Fishery Management Council) will take final action on what the definition of a "Charter" fishing trip is at its February 3 - 11, 2014 meeting in Seattle. The intent is to align the Federal definitions with the State's definition of what constitutes a guided (charter) fishing trip. In federal definitions, a compensated licensed captain must physically be aboard the vessel in order for a fishing trip to be considered a charter fishing trip. This is not the case in the State's definition. As long as compensated assistance is being given to the anglers aboard a vessel, this is considered a guided (charter) fishing trip. A clearer understanding of exactly what will be considered "assistance" will be discussed at the meeting.

The ramifications of a change in definitions are many.
- Certain practices currently being conducted by "bare boat" rental businesses may be considered guided activities. If so, these vessels will need a Charter Halibut Limited Access Permit (CHLAP) and would be required to fill out a Charter Saltwater Log Book.
- Halibut removals from these charter bare boat operations will be added to the current charter sector removals.
- The current CSP (Catch Sharing Plan) did not include analysis of these additional removals brought about by this change of definitions.
- The CHLAP program did not give the owners of this newly defined class of charter vessels an opportunity to obtain a limited access permit.
- This action goes against the Council's intent of the CHLAP program to limit the growth of the charter fleet. The capital investment required to add a bare boat vessel to the charter fleet is much less than the investment in adding a guided six-pack vessel, especially without the expense of a captain.  This business model has already been viewed as inflating the catch of the unguided sector.  A shift of this unguided allocation will increase guided removals which have recently stabilized. Again, these removals were not included in the CSP analysis for establishing allocations between the charter and commercial fishing sectors.

It is important that charter operators and bare boat operators attend the February Council meeting on February 5-11 2014 in Seattle Washington to comment on this final action. 
Please help us continue representing your interests. Become a member of ACA for just $150.00.  It will be the best investment for your  future you've ever made.



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ACA submits two comment letters on Halibut Catch Sharing Plan Aug 26, 2013 Letter 1  |  Letter 2

Proposed Rule

Draft EA/RIR/IRFA (Analysis)

Larry Csonka pitches in for the guided angler! Listen here

ACA representative Jim Martin interviewed by Channel 2 KTUU

ACA Debunks the Halibut Myth Buster at Alaska Journal of Commerce



Our strength comes with our numbers that show we care about the future of our charter and lodge businesses in Alaska.

The Alaska Charter Association is a statewide organization representing about 180 charter and associated businesses. Its mission-“to preserve and protect those fishing rights and resources necessary for the Alaska charter fleet to best serve the recreational fishery.”
For more information on Halibut Charter Background, access information under Letters tab.

History & Purpose

On June 15, 2004, a group of concerned charter boat operators from Homer took time out of their busy summer season and formed a new charter association- The Alaska Charter Association. 

Our mission - The Alaska Charter Association seeks to preserve and protect those fishing rights and resources necessary for the Alaska charter fleet to best serve the recreational fishery.

The Alaska Charter Association represents various business and individuals that have united against opposition efforts to restrict the recreational angler’s rights to the halibut resource.  Our main points of concern are:

  • A need for equal representation on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, Board of Fish, Advisory Panel and Stakeholders committees.
  • Conservation of the halibut resource and wastage issues.
  • Ensure equal and fair access for all recreational anglers.
  • Ensuring that management decisions comply with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 10 national standards for fishery conservation and management, and the public trust doctrine.
  • Ensuring reasonable mechanisms for growth in the recreational fishing sector.
  • Comprehensive economic studies of the value of a sport caught fish to the local economies.

From its humble beginnings in Homer, Alaska in June of 2004, the Alaska Charter Association has grown to be the state’s largest association of charter boat operators, with over 341 members including association members, we represent about over 35% of all saltwater guide services.   You need to be part of this strengthening organization. In this period, we have accomplished a great deal. See our Accomplishments page.

There has been much testimony and individuals have written many letters. This effort has been key in realizing our accomplishments.  Your continued efforts are necessary.   Organized opposition will dominate the resource if we do not make our voice heard.   Keep writing these letters.

ACA Board of Directors:

David Bayes, Homer,  President
Richard Yamada, Juneau, Vice President
Daniel Donich, Homer, Treasurer
Jeff Wedekind, Ketchikan,  Secretary
Gary Ault, Homer
Grantley Moore, Juneau
Theresa Weiser, Sitka
Mike Flores, Ninilchik
Frank Casey, Clam Gulch

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