Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 6:18 PM on Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chamber plans info meeting on catch sharing plan Aug. 12

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


The Homer Chamber of Commerce will hold an informational meeting on the halibut catch sharing plan at 7 p.m. Aug. 12 at Land's End Resort. Representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries will attend to discuss the draft rules recently published in the Federal Register.

A 45-day comment period opened July 21 for the draft federal rule first recommended by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and approved by NOAA Fisheries.

The catch sharing plan would give the guided halibut charter fleet a set percentage of the overall allowable catch. Depending on how many millions of pounds of halibut the charter fleet receives, charter fishermen would be allowed one fish a day, two fish with one less fish than 32-inches long, or two fish.

The allocations could be different for Area 2C, Southeast Alaska, and Area 3A, the central Gulf of Alaska including Cook Inlet and Homer.

The rule does not affect halibut caught by unguided sport fishermen or subsistence fishermen.

"We're hoping this clears up people's specific questions about how NOAA is interpreting it," said Homer Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Monte Davis of the meeting.

Attending will be Glenn Merrill, assistant regional administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska, and Rachel Baker, fishery management specialist, NMFS Alaska Region. Baker is the primary Sustainable Fisheries Division contact for information on the proposed halibut catch sharing plan for Southeast and Southcentral Alaska and for other regulations governing the Pacific halibut sport fisheries in Alaska.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael. armstrong@homernews.com.