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Alaska Digest

Posted: September 30, 2011 - 3:37am

NOAA’s Fisheries Service is seeking public comment on a draft rule, called a catch sharing plan, designed to sustainably manage the halibut stock in Southeast Alaska and the central Gulf of Alaska, according to a release from the agency.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended the rule to establish a clear allocation between the commercial and charter sectors that fish in these areas.

Currently, the commercial and charter halibut fisheries are managed under different programs. The commercial halibut fishery has been managed under a catch limit program since 1995. The charter halibut sector has been managed under a different harvest guideline since 2003, which gives charter fishermen a number of fish they can catch per guided angler per day, but does not ensure the overall catch stays within a definitive catch limit.

The proposed catch sharing plan, which is scheduled to be in place by 2012, is designed to foster a sustainable fishery by preventing overharvesting of halibut and would introduce provisions that provide flexibility for charter and commercial fishermen.

The proposed rule was filed with the Federal Register Wednesday. The 45-day public comment period runs until Sept. 6. For more information go to http://bit.ly/oWiDoS.

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