The Charter Industry has a chance to set our own destiny rather than react to the actions of others.
The RQE proposal will, again, be before the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and we need your help. We need charter captains, deckhands, lodge owners, clients and those who support our industry to make their voices heard. This can be accomplished by:
Writing letters of support for the RQE proposal
More importantly, attend the upcoming NPFMC meeting in Anchorage April 4-12
Once the NPFMC agenda is finalized and the proposal released for public review, I will be reaching out to you for your letters of support (we will provide samples) and asking you to attend the meeting if possible. I will also be providing travel and hotel discount codes.
SEAGO has set funds aside to help members of the charter industry attend the NPFMC meeting. If you are interested, please contact me immediately to make arrangements.
After over a decade of struggling with the issue of guided halibut allocation and management, the NPFMC passed the Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) in October of 2008. The CSP allocated a lower percentage of halibut for the guided fleet than the previous management plan, especially at the levels of abundance we’re currently experiencing.
Following the passage of the CSP, the guided fleet became keenly aware that we didn’t have enough allocation to continue providing the historical catching opportunity to guided anglers. Also, we received the message in a broad-based stakeholder group from representatives of the commercial sector that reallocation of their fish would have to come with compensation. In short, we had to buy them or lease them.
In 2011 the Southeast Alaska Guides Organization (SEAGO) and the Alaska Charter Association (ACA) were awarded a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to study a pooled approach to purchasing commercial quota. In simple terms - guided anglers would become the owners of a pool of fish purchased from the willing sellers of commercial quota. The amount of quota purchased through program would be added to the existing quota in the CSP and allow for improved regulations.
As the RQE accumulates quota, guided anglers would enjoy better regulations and value for their trip. An RQE, even with a small amount of quota, has the ability to incrementally move the needle in a direction that will be viewed very positively by our clients and will have a positive effect on our ability to entice people to come to Alaska to spend their money in our communities. These small changes will also allow Alaskans, many of whom rely on charters for their halibut fishing, better opportunity to fill their freezers.