Posted by Mark Evans
The PWS halibut charter fishermen have petitioned the Alaska Board of Fisheries, which manages state fisheries within three miles of shore, to kick the commercial halibut longliners back out into the federally managed EEZ where they belong. Still hurting from the reallocation of halibut shares from the charters to the commercials earlier this year by the NPFMC, the charters now say that, to add insult to injury, the commercials are corking all the best spots inshore. They claim that, since IFQ’s were implemented, the longliners no longer have to race out to catch deepwater fish before the short season ends and they can now save fuel by hanging out at inshore spots that they find by monitoring the charters’ radio traffic. Once a hot spot is located, they move in with their longlines and take all the fish.
The charters know they’ll get no sympathy from the commercial-friendly NPFMC, so they hope to get some help from the state by going to BOF.
One thing’s for sure, no matter how this issue plays out, the Alaska Halibut War won’t be going away any time soon.
by Craig Medred, Nov.15, 2011
The Alaska Dispatch