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A slight increase in this year’s halibut catch limits and respectable dock prices haven’t done much to boost the value of quota shares that stalled out in 2017. Doug Bowen runs Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer –
“For halibut they dropped by about 30 percent from where they were in 2017, again lower exvessel prices probably in large part to increased Atlantic halibut coming in from the east coast.”
For halibut quota shares, the value dropped by $10 a pound in Southeast and more in the Central Gulf, said Olivia Olsen at Alaskan Quota and Permits in Petersburg.
“In 2017 the 2C prices were up to $73 a pound and now $63 is the high now for unblocked but most blocked are moving at $52 to $58 range. In 3A, the unblocked is down to $43-$45 per pound and blocked from $35 to $42. At Area, 3B down quite a bit – they’re advertised at $27 and selling for less.”
Still, there’s optimism surrounding the halibut fishery going forward. Doug Bowen –
“The halibut commission in January did indicate they were seeing a couple of stronger year classes from 2011/2012 show up so there’s some optimism that we’ll see some better recruitment into the halibut fishery.”
Olivia Olsen agrees – but sales of IFQs, she says, come with a catch.
“The confidence level is up a bit in halibut after last year being our slowest selling year for IFQs. This year we’ve got sales going and there’s interest but at those last year prices. But still, considering that the IFQ prices were out of whack on the high end, perhaps it’s a good adjustment.”
Since the halibut fishery opened in mid-March halibut dock prices this year have bounced around in the $5 to $6 range.
The Alaska catch limit for halibut this year is just under 18 million pounds with less than 3 million taken so far
Top ports for landings are Seward, Homer and Kodiak. The Pacific halibut fishery runs through November 14.