NPFMC Considering Charter Halibut, Chinook PSC

Catch limits are lowered for the commercial halibut fishery that got underway in Alaska on March 24, and now federal fisheries managers are preparing for final action on charter halibut permits, along with adjustments to limits on the Chinook salmon prohibited species catch.

Both items are on the agenda for the spring meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) in Anchorage, Alaska schedule for April 2–10.

The preliminary preferred alternative for an annual renewal process for charter halibut permits (CHP) includes a requirement for permit holders to renew annually with the Restricted Access Management Program of National Marine Fisheries Services. The council said its intent is to provide more complete and useful information to evaluate whether amendments to the CHP program are necessary as a result of changes in ownership and participation of CHP holders, to facilitate retirement of non-transferable permits when ownership changes, and to improve the ability of enforcement agents to ensure valid permits are being used.

The council also plans final action on the mixing of halibut caught under guided and unguided conditions on the same fishing boat.

Regulations differ for halibut harvests of guided and unguided halibut fishing trips. Unguided anglers may harvest halibut of any size without restriction and are not subject to an annual catch limit, while anglers harvesting halibut aboard charter boats are subject to restrictions on daily bag limits, size, daily closures and annual catch limits.

The council’s preliminary preferred alternative is an option to implement International Pacific Halibut Commission annual management measures for guided sport fish for all halibut onboard fishing vessels in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska if halibut harvested using sport fishing guide services is possessed with halibut harvests without those charter services.

The complete meeting agenda is available online at

The meeting will be broadcast at Motions will be posted on the website following the meeting.