The Council chose to take no action at this time on a proposal to establish annual charter halibut permit (CHP) trip limit categories. The proposal was suggested because the amount of effort expended in the fishery is one of the contributing factors to the overall charter halibut harvest, and increased effort can contribute to increasingly restrictive management measures. The proposal was an attempt to reduce the level of unused and underutilized (latent) capacity in the halibut charter sector, in order to have more control over the level of effort (in terms of trips or angler-trips taken).
The analysis, public testimony, and further discussion highlighted that the extent of unused and underutilized CHPs makes it difficult to project and ultimately control the level of effort in the fishery. Most of the other factors that influence the amount of effort in the charter halibut sector (e.g., seasonal tourism trends, ocean and weather days, angler demand, etc.) are outside of the Council’s control (expect for annual management measures), and this may impede the use of CHP trip limits as an effective input control.
Although concerns were expressed about increasingly restrictive charter halibut management measures, and charter businesses’ desire for more stability and personalized choice in responding to the factors influencing management measures, Council members noted that this proposed tool might not be responsive to these concerns, and management measures could continue to be restrictive. Particularly at low levels of halibut biomass, even if the action was successful at “freezing” the level of effort in the fishery. Council members stated that they believed the potential benefits would not outweigh the risks and potential inequities that this action would cause. Staff contact is Sarah Marrinan.