Friday, May 22, 2009

Halibut charter operators sue again

Halibut charter boat operators sued the federal government today in an attempt to block a new rule limiting charter anglers to only one keeper per day instead of two in Southeast Alaska (Area 2C).

It's the second year in a row that the charter operators have filed suit. Last year, they succeeded in forcing the government to back off its one-fish rule.

The government has refined the rule and is trying again to impose it this summer. The charter lawsuit was expected.

Government regulators, as well as many commercial fishermen, favor the one-fish rule as a way to curb the growing charter catch in Southeast, where halibut abundance is declining.

Charter operators, however, say such a rule could drive away their clients and ruin the charter business. They note that the commercial fleet catches most of the fish.

Here's the 17-page lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

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