Alaska’s U.S. Senate delegation is reaching out to the Acting Administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), advocating for a common-sense extension of the 45 day comment period on the proposed rule unveiled last Friday for the Catch Share Plan for Guided Sport and Commercial Fisheries in Alaska, a comment period that takes place entirely within one of the busiest times for Alaska’s halibut fisherman.
U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich said when NOAA released a proposed rule last Friday, it did not seem to take into account, or realize, that the vast majority of those who need to be engaged on fisheries policies are on Alaska’s waters for a bulk of their time in June, July and August.
The 45-day comment period on the CSP in effect winds up when the halibut fishing season is still in gear, undercutting the decision-making process by leaving out a core group. Though Murkowski and Begich are asking for the comment period to be doubled, Murkowski noted that she understands it is important for NOAA to take in these comments and continue to work on a Rule.