Friday, January 22, 2010

Southeast charter industry lays out survival plans

Businesses that take tourists and others out for a day of halibut fishing in Southeast Alaska are facing dire times.

The abundance of halibut is decreasing, with corresponding cuts to catch limits.

New federal regulations now hold paying customers on charter boats to one keeper per day, rather than two.

A recession has staggered the nation's economy.

And the charter and commercial halibut fleets are rivals for fish not only on the water but in court and other forums.

Faced with all these troubles, charter captains are looking to weather the storm and fend off what they see as even greater dangers on the horizon.

The Southeast Alaska Guides Organization, a Sitka-based advocate for charter boat and lodge operators, recently distributed this detailed survival strategy.

Of particular note is a plan to seek $44 million in federal stimulus funding "to mitigate the impact of the recession in communities throughout Southeast Alaska."


Anonymous said...

One thing they could do to help out Southeast is to require all the guides to be residents of Alaska (not Minnesota).

Anonymous said...

one thing that they could do, is shut the effin' draggers down....How long does it take for a Halibut to grow to a respectable harvest size?....wasn't it a 1/4" per year?...Mean while govt. would rather subsidize with taxpayer money than get to the source of the problem....fubar...

Philip Munger said...


The second commenter above has an important point. Your writings have rarely given prominence to the increasingly serious claims that dragging practices reduce halibut stocks far more than is healthy for the fish's overall abundance.

When are you going to come around?

Anonymous said...

Check out page 9 of Dec. Council Newsletter. EFP project,draggers with the guidance of NMFS attempting to dumb down mortality rate assigned to flatfish fishery so more halibut may be slaughtered in the process of (FULLY UTILIZING) flatfish TAC. Also on page 9 trawlers have coerced council and will get their wish of a discussion paper on the process of changing regulations on halibut PSC. Trawlers are seeking additional halibut to kill in efforts to fully utilize unharvested flatfish TAC. Look no further for a cause to the problem. All those cheap fishsticks come at a cost...Unfortunately, all other users of the halibut resource suffer as trawlers recieve short term financial gain.

Anonymous said...

posters 3 and 4....RIGHT ON!....Come on Highliner!...spill the beans...make us believers in you...

Anonymous said...

They got just what they asked for, why should they be crying today!

The Judge upheld the one halibut rule as an appropriate conservation management regulation, and stated that guided sport overages create a resource conservation risk:
“As conservation of the halibut resource is the overarching goal of the IPHC, the magnitude of charter vessel harvest over the GHL in Area 2C has raised concern that such excessive harvests by the charter sector pose a conservation risk, with the potential to undermine the IPHC's conservation and management goals for the overall halibut stock. Therefore, restraining charter sector harvests to approximately the GHL would contribute to the conservation of the halibut resource. “
(Van Valin v. Locke, 2009 W.L. 4068028 (D.D.C. November 23, 2009). at 15-16, citing 74 Fed. Reg. at 21194-95),
The Judge also ruled that sectors exceeding their allocation should not be rewarded for overharvest:
“The charter sector exceeded the GHL by 22% in 2004; by 36% in 2005; by 26% in 2006; and by 34% in 2007. 73 Fed. Reg. at 78277-78. And in 2008, the guided sport industry harvested more than double the 2008 Guideline Harvest Level, an
estimated 1.914 million pounds of halibut. See EA at 9. The Charter Operators’ argument that the Secretary should have relied on recent participation data is in essence a claim that they are entitled to a greater allocation of the harvest because they have been harvesting a greater amount in recent years, i.e., that
they should be rewarded for exceeding the guidelines year after year. The Secretary understandably chose not to encourage such overharvesting.”

Now they want 44 million more after overharvesting for years???

Isn't everyone looking for money to fall out of the sky?

Anonymous said...

SouthEast Alaska Guides Organization
Dedication, Accomplishment, and
the Voice of Reason?

"And the very publishing it proves, that either, ye not believe what ye profess, or have not virtue enough to practice what ye believe."

Anonymous said...

Until we take a hard look AND hold accountable the trawling industry ALL our fish resources will continue to be threatened.
We HAVE to get organized AND protest this LOUD and OFTEN.
Maybe it is time for a full out boycott of ALL company products for those that buy trawled fish.

Anonymous said...

Just look at the volume allowance of Trawled halibut bycatch, compared to the charter industry volume overage, over those coinciding years.....How many days last winter, and summer,in Dutch Harbor, did the trawlers stand down, fearing the halibut bycatch would be quickly reached?....The problem lies in a medievel gear type, and design of the nets....they send the nets down, blindly, not knowing what they will haul back, only that there are targets on the screen that they need to sample...All draggers should have 100% observer coverage...large and small...If they can't handle that...well that's just too damn bad...If this is ever passed by the board, which I highly doubt, you WILL see the numbers shift in a huge way...The pollock and cod industry won't be as economically feasible for the boat owners...The way the board members are elected should be changed, and there should be honest representation for all gear types.

Anonymous said...

It is coming close to a win win situation.

Money can be used to get the charter industry more halibut through the purchase of IFQ's from the commercial fleet - which is what the commercial fleet has always said it wanted - compensation for "its" halibut.

I would think the purchase of IFQ would be from willing sellers, specifically those who bought high and now are upside down in their bank loans.

It has a provision also for processors.

Looking after charter, commercial, and processing interests - a comprehensive approach.

Anonymous said...

If the charter boats can not make money, get out of the business? Pretty simple. If it does not make money, it does not make cents! Quit trying to make one group the responsible party.

Anonymous said...

There is only one group responsible for's as obvious as a fresh pattie in a field of dairy cows...the milk's plentiful...but the shit left in their wake can't go without being noticed...

Anonymous said...

Good to see an initiative that at least tries to get all groups working towards a working resolution for all involved, that doesn't involved lawsuits.

Erik (Homer) said...

The one halibut/day limit is a start to what should be a long list of other regulations for the charter fleet. They should be required to keep accurate logbooks and be held more accountable for their actions as vessel operators. They have been largely unregulated for years, and now I finally see this NPFMC decision as a blessing. I believe everyone is also missing the point on this issue. Halibut charter fishing is a sport fishery (ie. for fun); therefore, the amount of fish caught should not matter. Charter operators only have to worry about providing a good time not coolers full of fish to be sold on the black market and at their "lodges." If their clients want fresh halibut they can buy it from a longliner if their one fish/day does not suffice.

Anonymous said...

When a charter captain from North Carolina told me I was fishing on his "jig spot"I smiled at him,then made sure that every time I saw his boat I set at least 5 skates as close to where he was anchored as possible.I'm a lifelong Alaskan,I'm sick of the carpetbaggers raping our resources,then taking the money home.Stay where ever you come from,and fish your carp,or shad or whatever the hell other scrapfish you eat and leave Alaska to Alaskans.Our money stays here.

Anonymous said...

blah blah blah bullshit!!!!!!