No Action on Latent Capacity
We spoke to many of you about the Council’s ideas for reducing the latent capacity of charter halibut permits (CHP). Having latent capacity roughly means that there are CHP holders who take fewer trips than available in the season (considered to run from February-December). If these CHP holders increase the number of trips they take, the increase in angler effort affects the upcoming season’s management measures. If the Council limits how many more trips CHP holders can take, it could be a step towards stabilizing management measures. It could also limit the business opportunities of some CHP holders.
Our discussions with you included questions about how likely an increase in trips really is, how CHPs would qualify, how recently purchased CHPs would be affected, and more. Your voice then came through loud and clear at the Council, which decided not to move this issue forward. Sportfishing representative Andy Mezirow explained the decision:
“I do not think the document provided any evidence that reducing a small amount of latency would have any effect. Any more effort in addition to where we are will begin to erode the financial viability of the charter fleet.” He also noted that moving this forward could “immediately create losers” among recent CHP purchasers, rural communities, and CQE groups, while increasing trips if folks aim to build up their catch history. The Council agreed with Mr. Mezirow’s motion unanimously.
Taken up at the same time was a proposal to increase the ownership cap on CHPs for the Recreational Quota Entity, which the Council also tabled until the RQE is formed and functioning.
Self-Guided Rental Boat Registration Moving Forward
The Council asked its staff to write an expanded discussion paper on this registration requirement. The paper will focus on the growth of the unguided rental boat industry as a response to the differences in regulations between the guided and unguided sector. The paper will lay out and analyze the administrative and other needs to create a registration for operations affiliated with saltwater guide businesses and estimate catch from this segment of the unguided sector. Having better catch information will help the Council decide whether it should take action in the future. The paper is on the agenda for the June 2018 meeting in Kodiak, but it may be rescheduled for an Anchorage meeting, so business owners can attend.