Discussion Paper

Recreational Leasing of Alaska Commercial Halibut Quota: The First Two Years of the Guided Angler Fish Provision

Sep 30, 2016 | Kailin Kroetz, Daniel K. Lew, James N. Sanchirico


This paper summarizes an evaluation of the Guided Angler Fish transfer provision of the Catch Sharing Plan of the Alaskan Halibut fishery—the first significant federal catch share program implemented in the United States including recreational fishermen.


The Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan creates a process for allocating halibut between the Alaska commercial and recreational charter sectors. A provision intended to allow for “flexibility” creates an inter-sectoral trading market, permitting charter operators to lease commercial halibut pounds to relax client harvest restrictions. Here we evaluate the first two years of lease market activity and participation. We find the program may provide beneficial flexibility to some commercial quota holders, with the number of transfers to the charter sector being greater than transfers within the commercial sector for some types of commercial quota. We also identify a high proportion of self-leasers. However, transfers to the charter sector are on average smaller than within-sector commercial transfers, and total poundage leased by the charter sector is low compared to commercial transfers. Finally, the value-per- pound may be higher in the charter sector, as commercial-to-charter transfer prices approach the commercial ex-vessel price.