Alaska Sport Fishing News!

News and Views from around Alaska!


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Alaska Department of Fish and Game 

North Pacific Fishery Managment Council  

National Marine Fisheries 

International Pacific Halibut Commission 

NOAA Alaska Fisheries

Homer Charter Association

Alaska Charter Association

Southeast Alaska Guides Organization

Recreational Fishing Alliance   (RFA)

American Sportfishing Association!

Tholepin Blog!


UFA, United Fishermen Alaska

Alaska Longline Fishermans Association!

Commercial Fishermans News!


Contact your legislator!

Farmed Halibut?


January 31, 2011

The NPFMC has struggled for several years with allocation issues between the growing charter boat sector and the existing commercial IFQ sector. An amendment package to incorporate this fishery into the commercial IFQ program was submitted in 2003 and was subsequently withdrawn. Most recently the Council adopted a catch-sharing plan with specific allocation percentages. Further consideration of incorporation into the IFQ program may be taken up by the Council in the next few years, following review of the catch-sharing plan (pending Secretarial approval).

The spring 2009 NPFMC meeting addresses King Salmon bycatch in the the high-seas pollock fishing industry!  

After approving the killing of 68000 kings, North Pacific Fisheries management Council chairman Eric Olson (representing KWIKPAK fisheries corp.) 
"I fully recognize that this reduction is not a silver bullet,"

The peoples take on King Salmon Bycatch!

"I don't understand how you can call this a reduction," Ricci said. She noted that the upper limit of the cap (68000) is higher than the average bycatch over the past decade! The proposed rule deals with a pure allocation issue and does not present any resource conservation solutions.



Governor Makes Nominations to Fishery Council  


Governor Parnel Appoints Morisky to Board of Fisheries!    

 Reed Morisky, of Fairbanks, is the owner and operator of Wilderness Fishing, a sport fishing guide service based in Fairbanks and Nenana.

Read more here:

January 25, 2013

2 halibut limit for 2013 for area 3A. Homer, Anchor point, Ninilchick, Seward,

 Area  2C keeps slot limit for 2013!  

January 25, 2013

International Pacific Halibut Commission Maintains Status Quo Regulations for 2013

The International Pacific Halibut Commission met in Victoria, British Columbia this week and in a decision this morning to take no action on guided angler regulations in Alaska, in effect adopted the North Pacific Fishery Management Council's recommendation to not change guided angler regulations for  2013.

This means a one fish per day, reverse slot limit of U45O68 (retention of a halibut equal to or less than 45" or equal to or greater than 68")  for Area 2C (Southeast) and a two fish per day of any size for Area 3A (Southcentral).  

2013 Catch Limits

Area2012Blue LineConference Board

 Halibut Fishing Political Front: 
 Reducing the fleet and the bag limit
Last year the Halibut Charter fleet was reduced by 30 - 40% through a federal permitting process.  Now, even with this reduced number of charter boats, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council is trying to reduce the bag limit as well. 

What is the Catch Sharing Plan (CSP)
The Catch Sharing Plan has been passed by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council and is headed to the Secretary of Commerce to be signed.  If signed, it will reduce the allocation to guided sports fisherman by 30%.  Our allowable harvest (Guideline Harvest Level-GHL) in 3A (Cook Inlet and Gulf of Alaska) right now is 2.373 million pounds. This will be cut by up to 700,000 lbs. In area 2C the cuts are just as drastic.

December 3, 2012

Facing Halibut Armageddon in 2012, fisheries managers consider slashing quotas. Craig Medred story

October 7th, 2012

Guided Anglers suffer the Pain of Trawl By-Catch and Severe Allocation Cuts

(Anchorage) The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council deliberated yesterday and passed in a vote of 10-1, final action on a Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) that would have guided recreational halibut anglers sharing Catch Limits with the halibut commercial longline fishery, previously a domain exclusive to the commercial fishery. Prior to this proposed action, guided anglers shared the priority with their brethren the unguided sport sector and subsistence users as their public trust allocations were deducted from the exploitable biomass prior to setting permitted commercial catch limits. Under this proposed plan, guided recreational anglers will now suffer the pain that the halibut longline fishery has suffered for years, trawl by-catch. This by-catch will be deducted from the exploitable biomass prior to splitting the allocation between the guided recreational angler and commercial sectors. This will set a profoundly damaging precedence on how the federal government will treat all recreational anglers in the future.


Also included in this action is a means for guided anglers to rent additional allocation to allow for an additional fish, if and when a daily bag limit falls below two fish a day. This will be a temporary allocation and will have to be paid for again as long as allocations don't allow a two fish bag limit. The cost for this will vary in different areas, but may be as much as $100 per fish.


In the allocative actions taken by the North Council, if the CSP were in effect in 2012, Southcentral Alaska would have received a 24.2% reduction in allocation compared to the current GHL (guideline harvest level) and a 35.6% reduction in Southeast Alaska. The justification for this reallocation came from longline fishermen who said it was time for the guided sector to "share the pain". If this catch sharing plan is adopted, the commercial longline sector would have achieved its goal of turning recreational anglers into commercial fishermen. This final action now goes to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for proposed rule making.


June 7th, 2012

North Council hears about Bycatch

Hundreds of written comments and a vast majority of public testimony all support a minimum of 15% reduction in the halibut bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska. What will the NORTH PACIFIC FISHERY MANAGEMENT COUNCIL do? Help save the halibut resource or help the rich get richer! 

September 29th 2011    

NOAA urges delay in implementation of halibut catch-sharing plan!

A controversial new rule on halibut catch sharing in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska has effectively been put on hold by NOAA Fisheries after a review of thousands of public comments.

Read more:


April 2, 2011  NPFMC Constrains Trawler PSC of King Salmon!

The NPFMC set a PSC hard cap of 22,500 king salmon for the Gulf of Alaska pollock fleet today as their preferred alternative for analysis in a stunning move toward enlightened and responsible resource management. There is plenty of credit to pass around, to all the groups and individuals who pushed for this new day in the management of the Gulf of Alaska.  Final action is scheduled in June, so do not take off the gloves yet.

Here?s a draft of the plan:Catch Sharing

What that means to you, the Guided Sport fisherman:
Right now, you are allowed 2 fish per person per day of any size.  If passed, right now, the limit would drop to 1 fish per person per day and could ultimately drop to 1 fish under 37 inches per person per day.  The other option would be to lease the fish from commercial boats at around $3 or $4 per pound, a cost that would be passed on to you.  Under the CSP, the commercial fishermen get to sit on the beach while you catch their fish and pay them for the privilege.

Why?  Good question. It?s not a conservation issue because the halibut not caught by you will be reallocated to increase the numbers caught by the commercial halibut fleet.

Who?s Next?
The private (non-guided, non-commercial) sportsman will be the next to be restricted.  They will be receiving tags for fish caught to track numbers of fish.  This is the first step towards their allocation. 

What About the Bycatch (the non-targeted fish caught commercially and dump over the side of their boats)?  What a Waste!
The Ground fish Trawl fleet drag a great big weighted net on the ocean floor or mid-water and scrape up everything, then pick out the one species of fish they want and throw the rest over the side.  The total halibut bycatch for 2010 was 11,433,055 million pounds of dead fish (mostly by the trawl fisheries).  The average fish caught is 5-7 lbs. so that means almost 2 million fish were wasted. They are not only dumping your halibut over the side but hundreds of other species of sea life including 44,355 king salmon just in the Gulf of Alaska alone.  The real problem is that observer coverage of the by-catch is very limited.  Most of the boats that take the largest share of the catch in the Gulf of Alaska have 0% or 30% observer coverage.  This means we have no idea how much is thrown over the side.  So these numbers are far from accurate.  If you?d like to see a 4 minute video of Halibut bycatch check out:

January 31, 2011

Halibut Commission Completes 2011 Annual Meeting  

The Commission is recommending to the governments of Canada and the United States catch limits for 2011 totaling 41,070,000 pounds, an 18.9% decrease from the 2010 catch limit of 50,670,000 pounds.  Area 2C,  The Commission recommends continuation of a one-fish daily bag limit with an additional restriction that the retained fish must be no larger than 37 inches (total length) and a requirement to retain the frame until landing, if halibut are legally filleted at sea.

Halibut Bycatch Project Team!!
The Commission and its advisory boards discussed halibut bycatch management and received a report from its Halibut Bycatch Work Group. The Commission remains concerned about the yield lost to the halibut fishery as a result of bycatch mortality in other fisheries. Accordingly, the Commission established a Halibut Bycatch Project Team, led by a Commissioner from each country, to gain better understanding of the amounts and potential impacts of halibut bycatch mortality in other fisheries. Further, this Team will explore whether options for reducing this bycatch mortality can be implemented and whether mitigating the impacts of bycatch mortality in one area on the available harvest in other areas is possible.

November 22, 2010New rules cut halibut charters number.

Federal rules taking effect in February are expected to keep a third of the halibut sport charters working out of Homer, Seward and Valdez stuck in harbor this year.

Read more:

November 11, 2010  Bycatch kings upset sport fishermen! 

Some sport fishermen are seething after a report last month showed more than 59,000 king salmon in the Gulf of Alaska were taken by pollock boats and other commercial fishermen this year.

Read more:



In their October meeting the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, a government entity dominated by commercial fishermen voted to slash the sport guided-anglers halibut catch in Alaska. The CATCH SHARING PLAN (CSP) as passed by the council is strictly designed to enhance the bottom line of one user group at the expense of the guided sport fisherman.

The reduction in catch is strictly an allocation issue that takes fish from the public sector and gives them to private entities and does nothing for the conservation of the resource. The proposed reductions will reduce the guided sport anglers catch in south-central Alaska by up to 1.1 million lbs. per year. This reallocation of a public resource would almost certainly force bag-limit reductions in the guided sport halibut fishery.

 The guided anglers catch in south central Alaska (area 3A) has been with-in their federally imposed Guideline Harvest Level (GHL) the past 5 years but still received the reduction. Also: the council will impose a Guided Angler Fish (GAF) rental program. The GAF program would force the guided angler to   rent their reallocated fish back at an undetermined and unregulated price per pound. This will ultimately result in renting a public resource back from a private entity simply to increase the private entities bottom line. Not one fish will be conserved. To have this large of a catch reduction imposed on the sport catch in times of low abundance and not save one fish seems a travesty. 

 We believe the reallocation of a public resource of this magnitude is purposefully designed to be a direct threat to the health and well being of an important part of the Alaska tourism economy. The council’s action will most certainly put many small businesses out of business because of their inability to absorb the added cost of renting fish to provide their clients the desired fishing experience. The “renting to the highest bidder” aspect of the Catch Share Plan will favor the wealthy angler over the general sport fishing public. 


The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has established a limited entry program for the halibut sport charter industry operating in southeast and southcentral Alaska. This program is anticipated to go into effect in 2010. Qualification for operating licenses under the program is based on participation during the 2004 or 2005 fishing seasons. Businesses not granted licenses will not be eligible to fish for halibut once this program goes into effect. Further information regarding this limited entry program can be obtained by calling the National Marine Fisheries Service at   (907) 586-7228.