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Sen. McGuire Facilitates Round-Table Discussion with Halibut Charter Industry

Meeting focused on additional conservation measures and need for sport fishing representation

Anchorage —Senator Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) facilitated a roundtable discussion today between state lawmakers and members of the halibut charter industry. The dialogue centered on additional potential conservation measures for the charter industry and the need for better representation for recreational fishing on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC).
 

“Halibut are an extremely important resource for Alaskan families,” said Sen. McGuire. “Many of us utilize charter operators to recreate with our families and put food in our freezers. Adequate access to halibut is a vital part of food security for Alaskans.”
 

The potential restrictions discussed included setting annual limits for halibut, limiting trips for charter operators, reducing the number of days per week charters could operate, and disallowing captain and crew fish. There was unanimous agreement that reducing the daily limit to one fish per angler should only be considered as a last resort.

“Today's meeting was originally called as an opportunity for industry members to make recommendations on potential halibut fishing restrictions, should they become necessary,” said Sen. McGuire. “However, a great deal of the discussion focused on the needs of halibut sport fishers and the belief that their interests have not been adequately represented on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.”

The need for better economic data for halibut sport fisheries was a particular concern for members of the industry.

While today’s meeting offered an opportunity for legislators to get up to speed, they have a limited role in halibut management.The North Pacific halibut has been jointly managed by the state and the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IHPC) since 1923. That original body was formed by a convention, with accompanying federal law to ratify the convention between the governments of Canada and the US. The management and allocation decisions are made by the IPHC and the NPFMC.

Sen. McGuire was joined by Representatives Bill Stoltze (R-Mat-Su), Craig Johnson (R-Anchorage), and other legislative offices represented by staff or via teleconference.

For more information, please contact Brett Huber in Senator McGuire’s Anchorage office at 907-269-0250.

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