April 10, 2007
The National Marine Fisheries Service proposed on April 6th new regulations in the Federal Register for guided sport halibut fishing in Southeast Alaska.
A public comment period on the proposed new regulations started today and ends April 23, 2007.
The proposed regulations would restrict the harvest of halibut by anglers fishing on a guided sport charter vessel in International Pacific Halibut Commission Regulatory Area 2C in Southeast Alaska. The proposed regulations would change the current sport fishing bag limit of two halibut per day to require that at least one of the two fish taken in a day be no more than 32 inches (81.3 cm) long.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates that the 32-inch maximum size restriction for one of two potential halibut taken by charter vessel clients would reduce the overall harvest in Area 2C by the charter vessel sector by about 425,000 pounds (192.8 metric tons).
Regulation language proposes the following change to regulations at 50 CFR 300.65 for anglers fishing from a charter vessel in Area 2C only:
The regulation would be in place for the entire sport fishing halibut season which is authorized through December 31, 2007.
This proposed regulatory change is necessary to reduce the halibut harvest in the charter vessel sector while minimizing negative impacts on this sector, its sport fishing clients, and the coastal communities that serve as home ports for the fishery. The intended effect of this action is a reduction in pounds of halibut harvested by the guided sport charter vessel sector in Area 2C.
Methods for submitting public comments are in the proposed rule. (Download the proposed rule -- pdf)
The Draft Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis and other, related information are online at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov.
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