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The Pacific halibut fishery ended on November 15 and early estimates peg Alaska’s take at about 16 million pounds, just shy of its 17.1 million pound catch limit.  The total halibut catch for 2020, which includes Alaska, the West Coast and British Columbia, totaled 35.5 million pounds.

A breakdown by the International Pacific Halibut Commission shows that 64% of the catch went to the commercial fishing sector, 17% to recreational users, 3% for subsistence users and 14% went to “non-directed fisheries,” meaning halibut caught and discarded as bycatch. Discarded halibut in 2020 is estimated at just over 5 million pounds, down from 6.56 million in 2019, nearly all of which was taken in Alaskan non-halibut fisheries (4.68 million pounds).

This week halibut stakeholders will get an overview of the summer survey results, which indicated some hopeful upticks in the stock,  and a glimpse at potential catches for next year.  On November 18 and 19 the International Pacific Halibut Commission holds its interim meeting online and all documents, including the survey results are posted.

“Available views allow users to interactively review the raw and adjusted (for hook competition and timing) results from 2020 and prior years with an ability to drill down and track differences among areas and across years,” said Dr. David Wilson, IPHC Executive Director.

He noted the catch-per-unit-effort data (per hook) is at: https://www.iphc.int/data/FISS-catch-per-unit-effort.

Final halibut catch limits will be set at the IPHC annual meeting Jan. 25-29 which also will be online due to Covid concerns.  The deadline to submit regulatory proposals is December 26.

And you don’t have to be a fisherman to find interest in webinars this week by United Fishermen of Alaska and Pacific Marine Expo.

UFA’s virtual lineup through Friday includes a Seafood Marketing Update, followed by the latest updates on ocean acidification.  Also, Bycatch Management in North Pacific Groundfish Fisheries will undoubtedly focus on the huge surge in bycatch of sablefish in the Bering Sea, along with halibut and crab.

UFA also is featuring an Alaska Hatchery Update, an Update on Transboundary Mining Issues, Updates from the USCG and an ADF&G Update.

You also can Get to Know the Alaska Board of Fisheries Members and an Update on BOF Meeting Cycle, a Pebble Mine and Bristol Bay 2020 Recap.

Friday wraps up the UFA online offerings with a   Get to Know Your Coastal Legislators webinar.  Find more information at www.ufafish.org/

And wait- there’s more! Pacific Marine Expo also has a virtual lineup this week hosted by National Fisherman. They include offshore wind power and fishing, vessel design and gear technology, plus funding diesel repowering for fishing businesses.  See the full line up at www.pacificmarineexpo.com/

All webinars will be posted for viewing long after the sessions end.