The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has approved a "catch sharing plan" for halibut. Here's the three-page motion that passed Friday in Anchorage.
The intent is to settle a long-running competition for fish in Southeast Alaska (Area 2C) and Southcentral (Area 3A).
The motion, as you will see, is complex. In a nutshell, it aims to establish a "clear allocation" between two sectors: commercial longliners and charter boat operators. Each sector would have a percentage of the halibut available annually for harvest.
The catch sharing plan also has an element to allow charter operators to lease commercial quota, if needed, to keep their angler clients fishing.
In the most basic terms, each side sought to control as much halibut as possible, at the least cost. Commercial fishermen harvest the bulk of the halibut, and feel this is appropriate based on their history and investment. The charter captains feel their industry deserves growing room, and shouldn't be forced to pay for quota that many commercial fishermen originally received for free.
Well, Deckboss reckons both sides will be less than pleased with the catch sharing plan and the numbers it contains.
It's always important to remember that the council's actions are merely recommendations. The U.S. commerce secretary has final say.
We've seen the council take "final action" before on solutions to the halibut war, only to see those actions succumb to politics and bureaucracy.
Will this likewise be the fate of catch sharing plan?