The Council reviewed an initial review draft of an action that evaluated the potential impacts of: 1) a registration requirement for unguided halibut rental vessels and 2) aligning bag and size limits of unguided anglers using rental vessels to harvest halibut with those of charter anglers in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C and 3A. After reviewing the analysis, reports from the Charter Halibut Management Committee and Enforcement Committee, and public testimony, the Council moved to take no further action on this item.
This action was proposed to address concerns that, in addition to the differences in harvest regulations between charter (guided) and unguided recreational halibut anglers, growth of the rental boat segment of the unguided sector may negatively impact other halibut fishing sectors. The analysis provided a description of status quo recreational halibut management, trends in subarea harvest in the recreational halibut fisheries, and minimum estimates of the number of rental vessel businesses in Areas 2C and 3A. It also outlined existing vessel registration programs and the extent to which they could satisfy the Council’s purpose and need for the action. The initial review draft outlined management and enforcement considerations of the proposed action alternatives, highlighting administrative costs of a registration requirement and logistical details that would benefit from Council clarification.
Given the lack of existing data on the unguided halibut rental vessel subsector, and the potential costs of implementing regulatory solutions to gather those data, the Council requested that staff coordinate with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, NMFS Alaska Region, and recreational stakeholders to explore alternative non-regulatory methods to quantify the number and geographic scope of unguided rental boat activities in recreational halibut fisheries off Alaska. The Council acknowledged the importance of gaining more information on the unguided halibut rental vessel subsector, but noted that this proposal was not likely to be an effective method to do so. The Council encouraged participation by the recreational sector in upcoming efforts to gather this information.
Staff contact is Sara Cleaver.