NOAA Issues Interpretive Rule to Clarify Charter Halibut Limited Access Program
Juneau, AK — Charter halibut guides operating in Southeast Alaska (Area 2C) and the Central Gulf of Alaska (Area 3A) will not be required to have a charter halibut permit on board during a recreational halibut fishing trip if the guide is not being compensated to provide sport fishing assistance to the anglers on board.
NOAA Fisheries today issued a clarification to a provision in the Charter Halibut Limited Access program.
With the publication of the interpretive rule in the Federal Register, a charter halibut permit is only required to be on board a vessel in Area 2C and Area 3A if both of the following conditions are met: (1) one or more persons on board are catching and retaining halibut, and (2) a guide on board the vessel is receiving compensation to provide sport fishing guide services.
For example, under this rule, a guide would not need a charter halibut permit to take family or friends on a recreational fishing trip if the guide does not receive compensation.
NOAA Fisheries recognizes that compensation for assistance is not limited to exchanges of money and can include a trade of goods or services in exchange for taking someone fishing. NOAA Fisheries will consider the specific circumstances of a fishing trip to determine if a person is providing sport fishing guide services for compensation.
NOAA Fisheries has updated the small entity compliance guide for the charter halibut limited access program to reflect this interpretation of the regulations. The guide is on the NOAA Fisheries web site at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/halibut/charter/faq.pdf
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To learn more about NOAA Fisheries in Alaska, visit alaskafisheries.noaa.gov or www.afsc.noaa.gov.