The Council reviewed a discussion paper that presented information on the use of charter halibut permits (CHPs). The discussion paper addressed Council data requests on latent capacity and use of CHPs by non-CHP holders (i.e., leasing). The discussion paper highlighted some of the challenges associated with the CHP database, including the lack of a verification process to determine whether non-transferable permits are still active (for example, if the permit holder passes away, a non-transferable permit is no longer valid), and previous obstacles the Council encountered when considering methods to limit the leasing of CHPs.
Based on this discussion paper, and concerns expressed in public testimony, the Council initiated an Initial Review analysis to consider developing an annual registration process for both transferable and nontransferable CHPs. The Council’s purpose and need statement speaks to a desire for a clearer and more accurate understanding of CHP holdings, usage, and trends in active participation. The action alternative would implement an annual registration process to renew permits for the upcoming fishing year. Options that the Council will consider under the action alternative include a requirement to report all CHPs held by an individual, partnership, or corporate entity (Option 1); the names of the individuals and/ or vessels that will use each CHP during that season (Option 2); and a requirement for non-transferable permits to list the beginning and ending ports where the CHP will be used during the upcoming season (Option 3). Sub-options for Options 2 and 3 are included that would penalize a CHP holder who allowed his or her non-transferable CHP to be used by a person or vessel (Option 2) or in a location (Option 3) that was not reported to NMFS during annual registration. The penalty under these sub-options for improper use of a non-transferable CHP would be that the non-transferable CHP would be invalid for the following year. Staff contact is Sarah Marrinan.