New rules for halibut skippers Credit:

New rules for halibut skippers

Fish Radio 
November 13, 2014               

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – The hired skippers rule heads to court, Silver Bay goes global – and snazzy new salmon updates. More after this —         
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A first lawsuit is challenging a new federal rule that aims to clamp down on the use of hired skippers who fish halibut and sablefish quota shares owned by others. The rule takes effect December 1 and will ban using a hired skipper to harvest any quota acquired after a cutoff date of Feb. 12, 2010.

Since the IFQ plan was put in place in 1995, the number of hired skippers has topped 50% and the quota owners have been charging high rents for the fish which has inflated the cost for IFQs.  The goal is to get back to a predominantly owner operated fleet that provides entry level opportunities for coastal Alaskans.

Fairweather Fisheries of Gig Harbor, Washington and Ray Welsh of Anchor Point. AK  have filed a 40 page complaint signed by six lawyers against NOAA Fisheries. Welsh claims the new law is discriminatory because he is disabled and can’t fish his quota; Fairweather claims as a corporation, it relies on a hired skipper to harvest its shares. The law suit is filed in federal court at Tacoma. Comments on the hired skipper rule can be made through May 28.

In other news, fisherman-owned Silver Bay Seafoods of Sitka has announced that StarKist and Dongwon Fisheries of South Korea have acquired a 12.5% equity interest in Silver Bay. A spokesman said it will help build the Alaska brand from boat to retail shelves. Silver Bay was founded eight years ago and has processing and freezing facilities in Sitka, Craig, Valdez, Bristol Bay and Metlakatla.

Finally, Fish and Game has posted snazzy new, easy to read summaries of this year’s salmon fisheries by Alaska region. 

  Thanks to the assist by Deckboss.

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. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.