Halibut Decisions from the September 2014 Meeting

At the September meeting, the Council considered proposed changes to the 2015 Pacific halibut regulations and the Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) for Area 2A. The Council adopted for public review a range of seven non-treaty commercial and recreational fishery allocation options intended to provide for a greater recreational allocation for the California subarea, in response to new information indicating a higher abundance of Pacific halibut and greater fishery interest in this area than when the CSP was originally adopted. Recreational fishery options for Washington, Oregon, and California were also adopted for public review. Details of the options are described below.

The Council is scheduled to take final action on proposed changes for the 2015 Area 2A halibut fisheries at the November 14-19, 2014 Council meeting in Costa Mesa, California. Public comment on the options can be submitted to pfmc.comments@noaa.gov. Those comments received by Friday, October 17 will be included in the advanced briefing materials, which are mailed to Council members and advisory bodies. Comments received after October 17 but before November 4 will be handed out on the first day of the meeting.

Changes to the Non-Treaty CSP Allocations

Description of the Allocation Alternatives

The Council adopted the following range of non-treaty commercial and recreational allocations (See the Council-adopted allocation table). Allocations under Alternatives 2-5 are related to the level of the Area 2A Total Allowable Catch (TAC).

Status Quo: The non-treaty allocation is apportioned according to the 2014 CSP: Washington sport (36.60%), Oregon sport (30.70%), California sport (1.00%), and commercial (31.70%).

Alternative 1: Maintain allocations as described in the CSP (Status Quo), except increase the California sport allocation by two percent, for a total California sport allocation of three percent, by reducing the non-treaty commercial fishery share.

Alternative 2, Option A: Same allocations as described in Alternative 1 when the 2A TAC is one million pounds or less. When the 2A TAC is above one million pounds, the California sport allocation would increase by an additional one percent, for a total California sport allocation of four percent, by reducing the non-treaty commercial fishery share.

Alternative 2, Option B: Same allocations as described in Alternative 1 when the 2A TAC is one million pounds or less. When the 2A TAC is greater than one million pounds, the first one million pounds of the 2A TAC shall be distributed according to the Alternative 1 allocations. For the portion of the 2A TAC that exceeds one million pounds, the California sport allocation would increase to 30-50 percent of the non-treaty share, and allocation percentages for the non-treaty commercial and recreational (Washington and Oregon) would be reduced to remain proportional to the status quo non-treaty shares.

Alternative 3: Increase the California sport allocation by two percent, for a total California sport allocation of three percent, when the 2A TAC is less than one million pounds by reducing the three major non-treaty group allocations (i.e., Washington sport, Oregon sport, and commercial). When the 2A TAC is greater than one million pounds, the first one million pounds of the 2A TAC shall be distributed according to the Alternative 3 allocations. For the portion of the 2A TAC that exceeds one million pounds, the California sport allocation would increase to four percent of the non-treaty share by reducing the three major non-treaty group allocations.

Alternative 4: Increase the California sport share by three percent, for a total allocation of four percent, when the 2A TAC is less than one million pounds by reducing the three major non-treaty group allocations. When the 2A TAC is greater than one million pounds, the first one million pounds of the 2A TAC shall be distributed according to the Alternative 4 allocations. For the portion of the 2A TAC that exceeds one million pounds, the California sport allocation would increase to five percent of the non-treaty share by reducing the three major non-treaty group allocations.

Alternative 5: Increase the California sport share by four percent, for a total allocation of five percent, when the 2A TAC is less than one million pounds by reducing the three major non-treaty group allocations. When the 2A TAC is greater than one million pounds, the first one million pounds of the 2A TAC shall be distributed according to the Alternative 5 allocations. For the portion of the 2A TAC that exceeds one million pounds, the California sport allocation would increase to six percent of the non-treaty share by reducing the three major non-treaty group allocations.

Maximum Limits to the California Sport Allocation

After adopting the CSP allocations from the range described above, the Council will then decide whether to instate a maximum limit on the California sport allocation.

Status Quo: No maximum limit on the California sport allocation.

Maximum Limit A: Include a maximum limit on the California sport allocation of 75,000 pounds in an effort to not strand pounds. This limit may be combined with Alternatives 1, 2A, or 2B described in the table above. Any amount above 75,000 pounds would remain in the non-treaty commercial fishery share.

Maximum Limit B: Include a maximum limit on the California sport allocation of 50,000 pounds in an effort to not strand pounds. This limit may be combined with Alternatives 3 – 5 described in the table above. Any amount above 50,000 pounds would remain in the Washington sport, Oregon sport, and commercial fisheries in proportion to their respective shares under the Alternative.

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Agency Proposals from the September 2014 Meeting

Additional information

Download a PDF Version of this blog which contains all changes and proposals

If you have further questions on the proposed changes, you can submit comments by mail, fax, or email, marked to the attention of Kelly Ames, Pacific halibut staff officer; phone 503-820-2426; toll free 1-866-806-7204 ext. 426.

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