In February 2017, the Council initiated an analysis for limiting the simultaneous possession of guided halibut with unguided halibut in IPHC Areas 2C and 3A in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action was undertaken by the Council because different regulations apply to guided and unguided (i.e., charter and non-charter) halibut fishing trips, which presents difficulties for accountability and enforcement. At the April 2018 meeting, the Council selected a modified Alternative 3 as its preferred alternative. Under Alternative 3, if guided and unguided halibut are onboard the fishing vessel at the same time, the stricter IPHC annual management measures for guided sport fishing would apply to all halibut anglers on board the fishing vessel.
The Council selected Alternative 3 because it provides some flexibility for charter operations to mitigate impacts of stricter guided restrictions, while also to improving accountability and enforcement by providing regulations that are clear and concise. When both guided and unguided halibut is onboard, vessels must comply with guided sport fishing regulations for bag and possession limits, size restrictions, and carcass retention requirements. The Council did not, however, require compliance with three other regulatory requirements that apply to guided anglers: day-of-the-week closures, recording harvest in a saltwater logbook, and annual limits. The Council did not include these additional regulations for unguided anglers because of their implementation difficulties, enforcement challenges, and the potential for financial harm to multi-day fishing vessels.
You can view the motion here. Staff contact is Jon McCracken.