Fish Radio                                                   Halibut boats needed for surveys next year, expanding 30 percent
September 3, 2013    

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Expanded halibut surveys next year need more fishing boats.  More after this —  

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Halibut survey regions

Halibut survey regions
Credit: IPHC

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 Halibut scientists plan to expand the yearly stock assessments by 30% next summer, adding 390 survey stations to the existing 1,300. The stations are located coast wide from Oregon to the Bering Sea. Since 1998 the halibut surveys have been done in a depth range of 20 to 275 fathoms where most of the fishing was taking place. But that’s been changing.

Since then there’s been some changes in the fishery, we’re seeing the catch coming out of the deeper areas, particularly out in Area 4, the Unalaska region, out through the Aleutians and on into the Bering Sea, and we’ve seen shallower water captures being pulled out of various areas as well. Those probably more concentrated in Area 2B , and a little bit in 3A and 3B.    

Claude Dykstra is survey manager for the International Pacific Halibut Commission.  Surveys will be added in the zero to 20 and 275 to 400 fathom ranges starting next summer.  That means more boats are needed and he says it’s posing a bit of a challenge.

  Finding boats and their crew that are experienced in fixed gear is one challenge and other is that a lot of these guys diversify their operations to maximize their boat usage, and as they move off of their sablefish or halibut quota they move into salmon fisheries in the summer. So there’s some competition there in getting the work.   

Dykstra says each charter region takes about three weeks of fishing and boats can bid for up to three regions.  Vessels also get 10% of the halibut sales and 50% of   from any other fish retained and sold. Typical payouts are between  $70,000 to $120,000 depending on survey regions.    

[There does not appear to be current info on the IPHC website about the 2014 surveys. Contact: or call 206-634-1838]

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