Recreational Leasing of Alaska Commercial Halibut Quota: The Early Years of the GAF Program in Alaska

Evaluating the first two years of lease market activity and participation in a new program of the Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan

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Feb. 14, 2019


Kailin Kroetz, Daniel K. Lew, James Sanchirico, and Pierce Donovan


Journal Article

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1 minute


The Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan formalized the process for allocating halibut between the Alaska commercial and recreational charter sectors. It included a new program intended to allow for “flexibility” through inter-sectoral trading, 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. Participation from some commercial quota holders in the lease market suggests that the program provided beneficial flexibility; in fact, the number of transfers to the charter sector was greater than transfers within the commercial sector for some quota types. We also identified a high proportion of self-leasers. However, transfers to the charter sector were on average smaller than within-sector commercial transfers, and total poundage leased by the charter sector was low compared with commercial transfers. Usage of leased quota by the recreational charter sector enables the harvest of larger fish or additional fish, and provides flexibility in catch composition on halibut closure days. Finally, the value-per-pound may be higher in the charter sector, as commercial-to-charter transfer prices approached the commercial ex-vessel price.


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