NOAA asks fishery council to reconsider halibut-sharing plan

Associated PressSeptember 29, 2011 

Federal officials are asking the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to re-examine a halibut catch-sharing plan for waters off Southcentral and Southeast Alaska.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says its request to the council Wednesday was prompted by issues raised among more than 4,000 public comments about the plan, which could cut the bag limit for charter boat anglers from two halibut to one.

Charter operators oppose the plan, which would set a stock allocation between commercial and charter fishing interests. The two are now managed separately.

Southeast Alaska charter fishermen are already limited to one halibut per day.

Critics say the plan could hurt Alaska coastal communities that depend on tourism connected to sport fishing.

NOAA says the economic impacts are among issues raised by the public.

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