The Council is required to identify triggers for reviewing fishery allocations by 2019, and it’s gotten some charter operators excited that the Halibut Catch Sharing Plan might be reviewed and changed. Relax.
The issue here is that the Council needs to decide whether allocation will be reviewed because of the passage of time, public input, or some other indicator. An indicator would be, for example, a significant change in landings. Time or indicator triggers would lead to an allocation review, where the Council would decide if a plan needed amending. A public input trigger would require staff to consider various criteria to determine if the Council needs to conduct a review. If a review shows that allocations need to be changed, the Council process moves forward to amend the relevant fishery management plan.
At this meeting, staff identified the fisheries and possible triggers for review. According to staff, the “most simple and straightforward” trigger for the fisheries, which includes the Halibut CSP, is probably the passage of time. This option is clear-cut and free from political dynamics. If the Council chooses this option, the trigger would occur based on passage of time since the last allocation review. In the case of the Halibut CSP, allocation was arguably reviewed during the analysis of the Recreational Quota Entity (RQE). This means that the next time-based review would probably not occur for another ten years – in 2026.
We have a great opportunity to move forward with the RQE and purchase halibut quota shares. Let’s focus on making this system successful and showing the nation why we have the most innovative and successful fleet in the nation.