IFQ prices soar, halibut ends
November 8, 2016
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – It’s a wrap for halibut and IFQ prices soar. More after this-
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The halibut fishery ended yesterday for nearly 2,000 Alaska longliners, leaving less than a half million pounds in the water after an eight month run. The total catch for Alaska this year was around 20 million pounds. Stakeholders will get a first glimpse at the 2017 catch recommendations later this month and hopes are running high that the numbers will increase for the second year running. That, and dock prices that have hovered in the $6 to $7 a pound range all season at major ports has fanned interest in buying shares of the catch – especially in Southeast Alaska.
“Fishermen say they’re seeing some of the best fishing they’ve ever seen in their lives there, bigger fish, better production and you see that reflected in IFQ prices.”
Doug Bowen runs Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer. Asking prices for hard to get halibut shares are jaw-dropping, reaching $70 a pound for prime Southeast quota. For quota in the Central Gulf, the largest halibut fishing hole, prices have increased to $60 a pound, according to broker listings. But Bowen says the buying there is not as aggressive as in the Panhandle.
“They took a 5 percent cut – it’s the only area in the entire coast that didn’t stay the same or have an increase. There is still quite a bit of concern about the resource there,” he said. “And there’s still a lot of concern about other removals and possibly inaccurate accounting of bycatch.”
Halibut shares in the Western Gulf sold for a record $48, Bowen said. Quota in the Bering Sea regions were listed mostly in the mid-$20 range.
The International Pacific Halibut Commission will reveal recommended catches for next year when it meets Nov. 29-30 in Seattle. The halibut fishery will reopen in March.
Meanwhile, it looks like Kodiak will take the title from Homer as the nation’s top halibut port. Final catches are still being tallied – but Kodiak leads by 72-thousand pounds.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.