The 2015 CATCH PROPOSAL (Catch Accountability Through Compensated Halibut) aims to increase the allowable charter sport fishing harvest of halibut through permanent purchase of commercial fishery halibut quota (IFQs). Not to be confused with the 2014 Catch Sharing Plan, the CATCH proposal would permanently transfer 587,000 lbs of halibut in Southeast Alaska and 785,000 lbs in Southcentral Alaska from the commercial long-line fishery to the charter fishery through purchase of IFQ from commercial fishermen. These fish would not belong to charter captains outright, but to their clients, and would be held by a Recreational Quota Entity (RQE). The purchase would be funded by a state halibut stamp or other means but not by direct purchase of the IFQ by charter captains.
The purchased halibut IFQ would be permanently subtracted from the commercial fishery catch and added to the allowable charter sport fishing catch. The CATCH proposal would mean a decrease in the commercial catch and an increase in the charter catch. Compared with the 2015 allocations, this would correspond with a 15.6% decrease in commercial catch and a 69% increase in the charter catch. Few Alaskans seem aware of this proposal even though it appears on the NPFMC website, received initial consideration at the NPFMC meeting in Dec. 2014, and will be discussed further and likely moved forward at a June 2015 meeting in Sitka.