Fees Rising for Halibut, Sablefish, BS Crab

Annual fees paid by holders of catch shares in Alaska’s halibut, sablefish and Bering Sea/Aleutian Island king crab fisheries will rise for the 2015/2016 season to meet costs of management and enforcement.

Kristie Balovich, budget officer for the Alaska region office of NOAA Fisheries, said Dec. 10 that coverage fees for the 2015/2016 BSAI king crab fishery went up to 1.48 percent and to 3 percent for halibut and sablefish.

All landings in the halibut and sablefish fisheries were completed by mid-November, after which NOAA Fisheries calculated the volume of the harvest and average price per pound. That date for the BSAI king crab fishery is calculated by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Balovich said.

Payment for the halibut and sablefish fisheries is due by Jan 31, 2016, while processors of the crab must pay their fees by July.

The cost of management and enforcement was $5.6 million for 2015, up from $4.8 million a year earlier, when there were a lot of vacancies in enforcement positions that took a long time to fill, she said.
Docks prices for halibut and sablefish were $6.42 a pound and $3.78 a pound respectively, up from $6.36 a pound and $3.59 a pound in 2014, she said.

The overall cost of managing the BSAI king crab fishery was $3.4 million, up about $300,000 from a year earlier.

An important change this year is that National Marine Fisheries Service will no longer accept credit card information by phone or in-person.

There are three options for making these payments on individual fishing quota fee liability. Payments can be made online through individual eFISH accounts using credit card or check, or the IFQ holder can fill out the fee submission form with credit card information, or a check or money order made payable to NMFS option and mail payment to the Fee Coordinator, NOAA Fisheries, OMD, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668. A third option is to wire funds by filling out the FEDWIRE form and wiring money from your bank.

Links to forms for these options are online at www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Or call the fee coordinator at 1-907-586-7105 or 1-800-304-4846, extension 5.