At the June 2016 meeting, the Council tasked staff to prepare a discussion paper on the mixing of guided and unguided halibut on the same vessel. Different regulations apply to guided and unguided (i.e., chartered and non-chartered) halibut fishing trips. Unguided sport fishermen may harvest two halibut of any size and they are not subject to an annual catch limit. Charter vessel anglers, or guided fishermen, on the other hand, are subject to regulations developed annually, that may include restrictions on daily bag limit, size, daily closures, and an annual catch limit.
Once guided and unguided halibut are mixed aboard a vessel, determining which halibut were harvested under the guided regulations and which halibut were harvested under the unguided regulations becomes difficult for purpose of accountability and enforcement. Compliance can be maximized and the duration of an at-sea vessel boarding can be minimized when regulations are concise, unambiguous, and require no interpretation by guides, anglers, and authorized officers in the field.
To address the Council’s request, the Enforcement Committee assisted in development of a discussion paper, which was presented at this meeting. After reviewing the discussion paper, the Council initiate an analysis for limiting the mixing of guided and unguided halibut on the same vessel. Alternatives for consideration include: 1) no action; 2) prohibit the possession of guided and unguided halibut simultaneously on any vessel; and 3) if halibut harvested using sport fishing guide services is possessed with halibut harvested not using sport fishing guide services on Convention waters in Area 2C or 3A, the IPHC annual management measures for guided sport fishing for the area that the halibut was harvested apply to all halibut onboard the fishing vessel. A suboption to Alternative 3 would include “other fishing facility” as well as fishing vessel. Staff contact is Jon McCracken.