Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis to Revise the Federal Definition of Sport Fishing Guide Services

November 10, 2014

Analysis of proposed action to amend the definition of “sport fishing guide services” in Federal regulations that govern the charter halibut fishery in Southeast (Area 2C) and Southcentral (Area 3A) Alaska.

The Council recommended a preferred alternative for a proposed action to amend the definition of “sport fishing guide services” in Federal regulations that govern the charter halibut fishery in Southeast (Area 2C) and Southcentral (Area 3A) Alaska. The intent of the action is to be more consistent with State of Alaska regulations pertaining to sport fishing guide services in order to keep anglers from fishing in a manner that is contrary to Council intent.

A few businesses have developed a guide-assisted practice in which they provide assistance to anglers during a chartered halibut fishing trip, from shore or adjacent vessels. This practice is not considered to be “sport fishing guide services” under existing Federal regulations because the guide is not on board the vessel. As a result, such anglers are allowed to fish under regulations in effect for unguided anglers, which are more liberal. This practice is consistent with State regulations that do not require the guide to be onboard the same vessel as the angler for the trip to be considered chartered. Charter anglers are subject to more restrictive halibut management measures than unguided anglers.

This analysis considers two alternatives. Alternative 1 is the no action alternative. Alternative 2 would revise and clarify Federal definitions for guided sport fishing, with three options. Option 1 would remove the requirement that a guide be on board the same vessel as the guided angler from Federal regulations. Option 2 would add a definition of “compensation” to Federal regulations. Option 3 would define “assistance” in Federal regulations.

The Council adopted Alternative 2 as its Preferred Alternative, with some changes to the options. The Council’s preferred alternative would revise the definition of sport fishing guide services (Option 1) and add a definition for compensation (Option 2b). The Council did not move to explicitly define assistance. Instead, assistance would be defined more generally within the definition of sport fishing guide services as “accompanying or physically directing the sport fisherman in sport fishing activities.”

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on 05/12/2020

Alaska Sport Halibut Analyses