There is now more time to weigh in on a contentious plan to limit the number of halibut caught by anglers on charter boats.
The National Marine Fisheries Service could cut the bag limit for charter boat anglers from two to one halibut.
The agency has said that over the years the number of halibut caught has been in decline.
“One of the reasons for development of the program was concern primarily by commercial operators that their catch limits where continuing to be reduced and ratcheted down whereas it was not a reduction in the harvest available to the charter fleet.” Said Glenn Merrill, with NMFS.
It was during the Alaska House Special Committee on Fisheries that NMFS announced public testimony would be taken until September 15th.
Representative Craig Johnson told the group that there isn’t enough information available to make decisions about the charter fleet, which could be negatively affected by the changes.
“It almost appears that with this plan all you would be doing is covering your backside because you don't know what’s going to happen,” said Johnson, “and you recognize by doing that you're going to have a tremendous economic impact on Alaska.”