Halibut meeting includes 21 management, catch proposals
January 18, 2016
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Halibut catches and more will be revealed next week. That’s up after this –
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Halibut catches and the start date for this year’s fishery will be announced next week when the International Pacific Halibut Commission convenes for five days in Vancouver. While earlier reports indicated the stocks appear to have stabilized, the annual survey showed overall abundance is down a bit and the bulk of the fish remain small for their ages.
In December, the IPHC showed a potential coast wide halibut catch of just over 26 million pounds, down 12 percent.
The biggest hit would be at Southeast Alaska, facing a possible 17 percent decline to just over 4 million pounds.
Central Gulf catches could dip by .8 percent to 9.4 million pounds; the Western Gulf could top 3 million pounds, up 17.4 percent.
The IHPC will discuss eight proposals on halibut catches. Of those, six come from Southeast Alaska where stakeholders are asking for no harvest reduction this year. The science shows southeast was one of the few fishing regions where halibut stocks are increasing at current harvest rates.
Also up for discussion are 13 requests for regulation changes to the halibut fishery. Four from the West Brothers Group in Petersburg include upgrading the US-Canada treaty and closing halibut nursery areas, as was done in 1932.
Another proposal requests that the law requiring that skin be left on sport caught halibut be eliminated to prevent contamination of the flesh.
The Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association of Sitka wants clarification as to whether halibut may be targeted by fishermen using pot gear for catching sablefish, which becomes legal this year.
Several other proposals deal with changing charter boat trip limits
The 2017 halibut catches are set to be announced next Thursday. The IPHC meeting runs from Jan. 23- 27 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
All meetings are available live on the web. Find links at our website www.alaskafishradio.com.
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.