ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A federal fisheries panel on Wednesday agreed to boost trip limits for halibut to 10,000 pounds in specific community development quota areas.
CDQ groups in Norton Sound, the Yukon Delta and St. Lawrence Island had asked the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to increase halibut trip limits from 6,000 pounds so they could harvest more halibut through Sept. 1, and use larger vessels later.
A trip limit is the amount of harvest on a vessel each time it goes out. The limits encourage harvest by smaller boats and gives coastal communities benefits from the fishing fleet.
After Sept. 1, the trip limits is lifted.
The measure was approved unanimously.
The CDQ program was created by the council in 1992 as part of the inshore-offshore allocations of pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. It allowed economically troubled coastal communities to participate in fisheries that were previously out of reach because of the high capital investment costs.
The council's action also allows halibut quota allocated from the St. Lawrence Island area to be caught in the CDQ area along the coast of western Alaska. The CDQ groups said the move would allow Norton Sound and Yukon Delta CDQ groups to develop small, local halibut fisheries
The St. Lawrence Island CDQs get royalty revenues of $200,000 to $300,000 from the harvest of approximately 600,000 pounds of halibut, said Obren Davis of the National Marine Fisheries Service. The coastal community CDQs harvest their own halibut and sell to shoreside buyers, garnering $700,000 to $800,000 last year, he said.
The council meets through Monday. Also on the agenda are privatization of crab fisheries, seabird avoidance in the hook and line groundfish fisheries, halibut subsistence regulations, and annual allocations for the groundfish fisheries.
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