Fearing a new catch share plan will bankrupt their small businesses, halibut charter operators in Homer met with federal regulators Friday night. The meeting was hosted by the Homer Chamber of Commerce.
The catch share plan is expected to be approved this fall, and go into effect next year for Southcentral and Southeast. The plan splits a quota of halibut between commercial fishermen and halibut charter operators.
Under the current catch share plan, it is likely that clients using guides to fish for halibut in Southcentral will go from being able to keep two halibut daily, to one halibut daily.
Currently clients in Southeast can keep one halibut daily, under 37 inches.
"It's going to have a huge impact," Gerri Martin the owner of North Country Halibut Charters in Homer said. "In one season they are going to cut our fish in half about there is just no no reason for it it's not a conservation issue."
But proponents of the plan argue that it is a conservation issue, and something needs to be done to protect the halibut.
"I think it's a step of a painful solution to control and maintain a sustainable resource for future generations," longtime Homer commercial fisherman Don Lane said.
The National Marine Fisheries Service is accepting public comment on the plan, until September 6th.