Photo credit: Alaskan Quota and Permits, Petersburg

Quota shares of Alaska halibut are in high demand but good luck finding any. Dock prices remaining in the mid-$6s and topping $8 per pound have kept a lid on any sales at Southeast, and the Central Gulf and Western Gulf.

“ For 2C, 3A and 3B, specifically, it is incredibly tight, there is virtually no 3A on the market right now.   Recent sales for mid-size, Charlie class blocks were maybe $42 a pound. But good luck finding one, you could have $42 a pound, you could have $44 a pound ready to go and good luck. It’s a really, really tight market right now for 2C, 3A and 3B.”

Maddie Lightsey is a broker at Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer. Some encouraging showings from the summer halibut survey also is fueling interest.

“What I’m hearing most often is that 3A, which got a huge bump last year – a 27% increase last year, has been really scratchy fishing, a lot of folks have had a harder time this year than in previous years. Despite good weather, despite high dock prices, they’re just not doing as well. Whereas in 3B, which is typically a harder place to fish than 3A, folks are doing really well. The fishing has been easier in 3B, the fish have been plentiful. And there’s a lot of optimism that that might be reflected in next year’s TAC.”

Off the charts demand, Lightsey says, is for halibut charter permits.

“3A six angler permits have been selling for $110,000 which I believe is quite a bit higher than ever before There’s just this insatiable demand for charter halibut permits. I think a lot of people had really, really good seasons – tourism was back and there are people with cash in hand ready to buy quite literally any 3A charter permit they can get their hands on. And same for 2C.”    

The charter sector also has aligned with commercial fishermen to tackle the halibut bycatch issue.

Shares of sablefish, or black cod, also are getting more interest, due in part to the success of collapsible pots.

“There are a lot of fish. That is the most repeated rumor on black cod that I’m hearing, and that the pots are making a world of difference. Fishermen that have switched to these pots might be pulling up smaller fish anecdotally but the fish are many. And there’s a lot of optimism throughout the fleet. And we’re seeing that play out in folks buying in who weren’t previously ready to buy in, and folks who are now willing to head farther out west than they previously were.”  

Sablefish shares of are selling in the $8-$16 per pound range, depending on fishing region.