NOAA Fisheries News Alert
November 4, 2009
Sheela McLean, Public Affairs
NOAA Fisheries includes more rural residents in subsistence halibut fishery
NOAA Fisheries has published new regulations, effective December 4, 2009, that mean more residents in remote areas will be able to participate in the subsistence fishery for Pacific halibut in waters in and off Alaska.
New participants in the subsistence halibut fishery will have to qualify for a subsistence halibut registration certificate (SHARC).
What has changed in regulation is the definition of a rural resident. The regulations put in place in 2003 stated that a SHARC holder had to be a rural resident of a community with customary and traditional uses of halibut—and the communities were listed—or had to be a member of an Alaska native tribe with customary and traditional uses of halibut—and the tribes were also listed. That left out some potential subsistence halibut fishermen who were not members of a qualifying tribe and who lived rurally outside of listed rural communities.
The boundaries of many rural Alaska communities are not adjacent to the boundaries of other communities due to Alaska’s large size and relatively sparse population. Individuals who reside in extremely remote locations between communities are likely to have the same if not greater customary and traditional use of halibut than individuals inside the boundaries of a listed community.
Directions for SHARC applications, lists of eligible tribes and communities, and other information including the new regulations, eligibility , and application forms can be found at www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/ram/subsistence/halibut.htm.