North Pacific Fishery Management Council allows sport guides to buy commercial halibut quota

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council, master of the nation’s most valuable fishing region, decided on Dec. 10 to implement a new plan that in some ways reflects changing attitudes and economies in the North Pacific and in Alaska. The plan involves allowing guided recreational halibut fishermen to buy up commercial quota through a system called an RQE — a recreational quota entity. This differs from an existing program that allows sport guides to lease, but not buy, commercial quota. Commercial fishermen don’t welcome the change, and in fact see it as one more nail in the coffin of a historical Alaskan enterprise that is more expensive and more difficult to enter that it ever has been. Commercial fishermen think the RQE will usher in the absolute death of Southeast Alaska coastal village fleets in a matter of five years, all at the hands of the tourism behemoths that control more and more of the island economies. “This is the death of a small boat, owner-operator fishery. It’s over,” said Clem Tillion, a North Pacific fisheries fixture and longtime advocate for coastal quota ownership. “Holland America and Carnival (Cruise Line) will buy the quota and hired hands will fish it, and the small boat fleet out of villages is gone.” Read the article here 13:55