Murkowski Urges NOAA to Extend Catch Share Plan Comment Period Beyond “Prime Fishing Season in Alaska”

Senator Points Out 45 Day CSP Comment Period Lands During Peak Season

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Lisa Murkowski reached 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 Friday for the Catch Share Plan (CSP) 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.

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 Senator Murkowski is asking for the comment period to be doubled, she noted “I understand it is important for NOAA to take in these comments and continue to work on a Rule.”

With CSPs establishing the halibut allocations and restrictions between the charter and commercial halibut fisheries in Alaska’s waters, Murkowski wrote a simple letter to NOAA’s Acting Director urging them to extend the period for Alaskans to be heard.  It reads in its entirety:

I am writing to request that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provide an additional 45 days for stakeholders to comment on the above referenced Proposed Rule.  This is prime fishing season in Alaska and most people are out on the water trying to catch fish.  I believe it is important to allow affected parties sufficient time to review this 134 page document and prepare their comments.