Apr 2, 201212:48 PMBlog: Fish Bytes
Council drops management matrix from halibut plan
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously accepted a motion introduced by member Ed Dersham to revise the halibut catch sharing plan. The biggest change is dropping the management "matrix" from the original CSP that called for default bag and size limits for charter operators based on the levels of halibut abundance. At the current low levels, charter operators have argued they'll be put out of business through measures such as a one-fish bag limit in Southcentral or the 37-inch limit used in Southeast in 2011. Instead, the council will use the "2012 model," and annually recommend charter harvest measures to the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
Other notable changes will be an allocation adjustment for charter to reflect the change from the statewide harvest survey (SWHS) to logbook data to estimate charter harvest, and separate accounting for "wastage" in both the commercial and charter sectors. "Wastage" refers to the amount of halibut that die after being caught and released, which are sublegal size fish in the commercial sector. In the charter sector, wastage is not currently accounted for and the IPHC has requested all states and Canada to provide estimates for charter discard mortality. Alaska is the only region that has any sort of estimate at about 6 percent discard mortality rate.
Dersham's motion also included options for analysis that would provide the charter sector with increased allocations at low abundance, at as much as 20.8 percent in Southeast when the total catch is less than 5 million pounds, and 17.5 percent in Southcentral when between 10 million and 20 million pounds. Running those numbers for 2012 yields significant reductions from the current guideline harvest level. In Southeast, under Dersham's proposal, charter operators would have received about 742,000 pounds in 2012 compared to 931,000 under the GHL. In Southcentral, the allocation would have been about 2.63 million pounds compared to the GHL of 3.1 million.
I'll have more in our next issue, but for now here is the motion introduced by Dersham (with changes from Adivsory Panel motion in strikethrough and additions in bold):
The Council moves to amend its previous action on the charter halibut catch sharing plan. The following changes from the AP motion would be incorporated into a new preliminary preferred alternative.
The Council adopts the March 27, 2012, recommendations of the Halibut Charter Management Implementation Committee and the Advisory Panel to adopt the 2012 model for determining annual charter halibut management measures under the CSP and removing the current matrix of management measures that are included in the current proposed rule. With this change, the Council also removes the target range around the allocations of +/- 3.5%
The Council also adopts the unanimous recommendation of the Halibut Charter Management Implementation Committee and the Advisory Panel to use ADF&G logbooks as the primary data collection
method for estimating charter harvests under the CSP, with an appropriate adjustment factor applied to the allocations. The AP recommends that the Council work with ADF&G to develop a fair correction factor for switching from the SWHS (statewide harvest survey) to the logbook. The council recommends using an adjustment factor based on the five-year average (2006-2010) of the difference between the harvest estimates provided by the logbooks and the SWHS, with the adjustment factor reduced by the amount of harvest attributed to skipper and crew. The Council’s understanding is that applying this adjustment factor would result in the following changes to the CSP allocations:
Area 3A adjustment factor = 15.4%
Area 3A current CSP allocation in Tier 1 = 15.4%
Adjusted CSP allocation = (15.4% * 15.4%) + 15.4% = 17.8%
Area 3A current CSP allocation in Tiers 2-4 = 14%
Adjusted CSP allocation = (14% * 15.4%) + 14% = 16.2%
Area 2C adjustment factor = 5.6%
Area 2C current CSP allocation in Tier 1 = 17.3%
Adjusted CSP allocation = (17.3% * 5.6%) + 17.3% = 18.3%
Area 2C current CSP allocation in Tiers 2-4 = 15.1%
Adjusted CSP allocation = (15.1% * 5.6%) + 15.1% = 15.9%
The Council recommends revisions to the GAF program as follows:
Convert GAF average weight calculated annually by managers and the new average weight used as the conversion factor of IFQ pounds to GAF issued as numbers of fish.
This revision would issue GAF in numbers of fish. Conversion of IFQ pounds to numbers of fish would be based on the average weight of GAF from the previous year.
In the first year of the GAF program, GAF weight to number of fish conversion factor based on previous year’s data or most recent year without maximum size limit in effect.
Define leasing limitation from one IFQ shareholder from 10% or 1,500 pounds, whichever is greater, to 10% or 1,500 pounds in Area 2C and 15% or 1,500 pounds, whichever is greater, in Area 3A.
Include a requirement for anglers to mark GAF by removing the tips of the upper and lower lobes of the tail and report the length of retained GAF halibut to NMFS through the NMFS approved electronic reporting system.
A complete review within three years of the start of the GAF program, taking into account the economic effects on both sectors.
The AP further recommends the Council initiate a separate analysis on the ability to purchase IFQ/GAF as soon as possible without delaying implementation of the CSP.
The Council recommends
sending consideration of a letter to the IPHC supporting the idea of separate BAWM (bycatch and wastage mortality) accountability between halibut sectors, and revising the preamble to the rule describing the method that the Council would expect to be used by the IPHC in setting catch limits.
The Council requests that the analysis be revised to incorporate the changes to the preliminary preferred alternative described above, and include analysis of the following options for consideration to revise the charter allocations at lower levels of abundance:
Option 1: Area 2C
At a combined catch limit of <5 million pounds, establish the CSP allocation at the upper end of the original range proposed for the CSP (20.8%); at a combined catch limit of >5 million pounds to <9 million pounds, establish the CSP allocation at the upper end of the original range proposed for the CSP (18.6%).
At combined catch limit of >9 million pounds, maintain the original target CSP allocation of 15.1%.
Option 2: Area 3A
At a combined catch limit of <10 million pounds, establish the CSP allocation at the upper end of the original proposed range for the CSP (18.9%); at a combined catch limit of >10 million pounds to <20 million pounds, establish the CSP at the upper end of the original range proposed for the CSP (17.5%)
At combined catch limits of >20 million pounds, maintain the original target CSP allocation of 14%.
Note: Under the 2012 model, the +/-3.5% range around the allocation would be removed, and the Council would be annually recommending management measures that minimize the difference between the projected harvest and the target allocation, without exceeding the allocation.
With the above additions and revisions, the intent of the Council is to review the CSP analysis as a whole and take final action in the near future.