This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Fees increase for holders of halibut, sablefish and crab catch shares. More after this —
Alaska fishermen who hold catch shares of halibut, sablefish and Bering Sea crab pay an annual fee to the federal government to cover management and enforcement costs for those fisheries. The fee, which is capped at 3 percent ,is based on dock prices through September and averaged across the state.
This year we sent out 1,983 fee liability summaries, and the management and enforcement costs for 2015 were $5.6 million.
Kristie Balovich is Budget Officer for the NOAA Alaska Region, based in Juneau. The dockside value of the halibut fishery went up, she says, while the value of sablefish went down.
The 2015 halibut landings had an increase in value from 2014, and it went up from $100 million to $107 million. Sablefish had a slight decrease in value going from &76.7 million to $76.6 million, so only about $100,000 difference.
Dock prices for both halibut and sablefish increased.
Halibut was at $6.42 per pound and sablefish was at $3.78 per pound.
That compares to an average 2014 halibut price of $6.36 per pound and $3.59 per pound for sablefish.
NOAA doesn’t track dock prices for Bering Sea crab, only the total value of the fisheries. That added up to$229 million for the 2014/2015 season, an increase of about $300,000. The crab catches yielded $3.4 million in coverage costs.
The coverage fee for the 2015/2016 crab season went up to 1.48 percent and to 3 percent for halibut and sablefish due to adding more management and enforcement personnel.
We were able to hire some people so there were some increases in labor in halibut, sablefish and in crab.
Balovich says Alaska’s longliners are great about paying their bills.
In fact last year about 99.9 percent of the people are paying their halibut and sablefish fees on time.
There’s one change for bill payers this year – credit cards are no longer accepted over the phone due to security reasons.
We are encouraging people – everyone has access to their on line landings and if they go into their eFish they can log in and from their pay with a credit card. It switches them over to a site called www.pay.gov which is very secure and they are able to pay for their landing that way.
Halibut and sablefish fees are due by January 31. For crab, the processors are responsible for paying those bills by July. Find links at www.alaskafishradio.com
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.