The new NMFS Charter Halibut Regulations are flawed, unreasonable, and in conflict with my rights as an Alaskan resident. They affect many other people as well.
My husband is a licensed guide for SALMON fishing. We can no longer fish for personal use halibut. If he wants halibut for the family, he needs to go out by himself. If I want to go halibut fishing, I have to take our smaller fishing boat out fishing without him. That would not be safe. We cannot take friends out on our boat, and definitely cannot take visiting family out halibut fishing because he does not hold a halibut charter permit. I cannot even go fishing with other friends on their boats — unless of course THEY hold a halibut charter permit.
My friends can catch halibut of any size, but I’m restricted to small halibut only caught on halibut charters! So, for 2011 and beyond, I cannot fish for halibut! Those residents who usually buy the gas to go with friends are out of luck too because that is considered a charter. So, no more taking your buddies out halibut fishing, folks — unless of course, you have a halibut charter permit. Even then, you are restricted to one fish per day, under 37 inches.
I understand some changes need to be made within the fishing industry in order to conserve resources. However, I personally do not believe the problem is personal use fisheries. I don’t think the problem comes from charter fishing. I don’t even think it comes from smaller commercial fishing operations. The true waste of resources are large factory trawlers tossing dead bycatch back into the ocean, thousands and thousands of pounds at a time.
If I had more time than sense, I would fight this in court and possibly end up in jail for catching halibut for the table. These regulations are unreasonable and I doubt they will stand the test of the courts.