After reviewing a discussion paper outlining a stamp program as a potential funding mechanism for the recently-formed charter halibut recreational quota entity (RQE), the Council initiated an analysis to describe potential methods for the collection of fees from charter vessel operators and a mechanism to distribute those funds to the RQE. The RQE would be able to utilize funds to purchase additional halibut quota from willing sellers in the commercial sector, and the increased quota would loosen charter management restrictions such as bag limits, day of the week closures, and size restrictions for charter anglers. The Council requested that the analysis should explore a range of potential fee collection methods currently used for North Pacific fisheries and similar programs.
Legislation has been proposed by the U.S. Congress to grant the Council and NMFS the authority to develop and implement a fee collection mechanism for charter vessel operators that could be used by the RQE to fund administrative costs and purchase of halibut quota share as specified in the RQE program. In anticipation of the potential enactment of this legislation, the Council would begin the analytical process to explore the administrative requirements necessary to implement a fee collection program for charter vessel operators.