May 25, 2008
In addition, the number of lines used to fish for halibut must not exceed the number of anglers onboard the charter vessel, to a maximum of six lines. Also, guides and crew are not allowed to catch and retain halibut while clients are onboard.
"These new regulations are needed because charter fishing has grown in southeast Alaska while the abundance of halibut has decreased," said Doug Mecum, NOAA's Fisheries Service Alaska region acting administrator.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council and NOAA's Fisheries Service approved the new regulations to reduce the harvest of halibut to the new target level of 931,000 pounds in 2008 in the waters of southeast Alaska, which is International Pacific Halibut Commission Area 2C. The new regulations will remain in effect until further notice.
While the target harvest for southeast Alaska in 2007 was 1.4 million pounds, the actual amount of halibut harvested by charter anglers was estimated at more than 1.7 million pounds.
Sport anglers who are not aboard guided charter vessels may continue to keep two halibut of any size daily. Guided charter vessel anglers outside of Southeast Alaska may also continue to keep two halibut of any size per day.
A regulation implemented earlier this year to assist enforcement officers to count the number of fish each angler possesses, says anglers can cut their halibut on board into not more than two ventral and two dorsal pieces and two cheeks, all with the skin on.
NOAA's Fisheries Service received many comments on the proposed regulations for the charter vessel fishery. A summary of those comments and the agency's responses will be published with the final regulations.
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