PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Richard Yamada, CATCH Project Director
Richard@catchalaska.org
(907) 723-0008

Date: March 15, 2012

(Sitka, Alaska) On March 12-13, the Catch Accountability Through Compensated Halibut (CATCH) project brought together 18 charter sector stakeholders for a two-day workshop in Sitka. The purpose of the workshop was to share information and gather input and recommendations on the development of a conceptual guided angler pooled catch share plan.

The stakeholder panel included ten representatives from Area 2C and eight representatives from Area 3A, with a good balance of experienced and new perspectives. Jane DiCosimo of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and Charlie Swanton, from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, also attended the workshop to help answer questions regarding some of the technical aspects of the proposed plan.

“We really appreciate the great feedback we received from the participants at the workshop,” said Richard Yamada, Director of the CATCH Project. "It is rare that such a diverse group of charter businesses from around the state are able to come to consensus on a single issue. All agreed that this conceptual plan will help recreational anglers, who choose to use their services, maintain their access and opportunity to fish for halibut."

The conceptual plan aims to maintain or increase recreational fishing opportunities for guided anglers in Alaska through the compensated reallocation of halibut quota share from the commercial industry to the charter sector. In concept, a non-profit “Recreational Quota Entity” will purchase quota share from willing commercial IFQ sellers, and hold it in a common pool for the benefit of all guided anglers. The purchased quota will supplement the guided anglers' annual regulatory halibut allocations. The plan is being developed to work under any management regime.

At the workshop, stakeholders made recommendations on a number of issues such as funding for quota share purchases, methods to keep the sector within allocation, ways to address concerns raised by the commercial sector, options for dealing with a surplus allocation in the event that this happens, and the best means of providing accurate and timely harvest reporting. The CATCH project team now plans to research the feasibility of these recommendations as they continue to develop the concept, and the CATCH Board will incorporate stakeholder feedback in the final design.

# # #

Established in 2011, the Catch Accountability Through Compensated Halibut (CATCH) Project, is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization funded through a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Fisheries Innovation Fund grant.