NOAA Fisheries doesn’t want Alaska charter halibut operators to be caught off-balance by a new requirement to register their Charter Halibut Permit(s) (CHP). The new requirement begins in 2020.
The new regulation only applies to the guided sport halibut fishery in International Pacific Halibut Commission Regulatory Areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Southcentral Alaska).
“We are working diligently to get the word out to charter halibut operators in time for the beginning of the charter halibut season, which begins February 1,” said NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region Recreational Fisheries Coordinator Kurt Iverson. “To be valid, a CHP will need to be registered with NOAA Fisheries each calendar year before use.”
The annual registration of CHPs is intended to improve the enforcement of CHP transfer limitations and ownership caps. It will provide additional information to NOAA Fisheries and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on any changes in CHP ownership, leasing, and participation.
A CHP Annual Registration Application must be submitted to and approved by NOAA Fisheries. Upon approval, NOAA Fisheries will mail a new, original version of the CHP. This must be on board a charter vessel before anglers catch and retain halibut on a charter halibut fishing trip.
“The registration process must be completed each calendar year before a CHP is used. For example, a CHP registered in 2020 is only valid for fishing in the 2020 season,” said Iverson. “We have some frequently asked questions that provide a good overview.”
Additional important points include the following:
- NOAA Fisheries is currently accepting CHP Annual Registration Applications for 2020. RAM plans to begin processing applications February 3.
- If a CHP is needed for a charter halibut fishing trip in February, the CHP Annual Registration Application should be submitted as soon as possible AND Restricted Access Management (RAM) should be contacted at (800) 304-4846 (option 2).
- After RAM receives and processes an application, it may take up to 5 business days for the permit to arrive in the mail.
Alaska regional staff have mailed applications to CHP holders and are providing information to Alaska Department of Fish & Game offices. We have also posted additional information about applications and reporting forms.
For more information, contact NOAA Fisheries’ Restricted Access Management (RAM) program by phone at (800) 304-4846 option #2, or via email at RAM.Alaska@noaa.gov