START BY DELAYING THE ONE-HALIBUT REGULATIONS
Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce is looking toward summer and an eventual end to the shutdown of the coronavirus economy.
Pierce sent a letter to Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, Congressman Don Young and Gov. Mike Dunleavy last week, requesting they ask the International Halibut Commission to restore the Southcentral 2020-2021 halibut sport fishing regulations to two halibut per person, per day, and seven days a week fishing allowed for charters, with multiple trips allowed per day.
Sports fishers used to be able to catch two halibut a day in the central Gulf of Alaska. Charter operators would take two groups of six a day — one in the morning, and one in the evening, for a total of 12 customers a day.
But in February, the International Halibut Commission cut the harvests in all areas in the Pacific Northwest to try to build up a dwindling fishery.
Area 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska) was set at one halibut per day for the coming season.
It’s not going to be enough to jumpstart the economy on the Kenai to just allow one halibut a day, Pierce said.
“The restoration of our economy following the COVID-19 pandemic is critical and affects all Alaskans,” Pierce wrote, reminding lawmakers that the halibut charters bring people to the stores, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses all over the peninsula and that tourism is one of the primary industries of the borough’s economy.
“All I’m asking them to do is, in light of the crisis we’re faced with, reconsider the rules, and delay them until 2021 or 2022,” he said.