Fish Radio

Halibut shares priced higher than ever

October 7, 2015

Longlining halibut

Longlining halibut

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Halibut quota shares are higher priced than ever – I’ll tell you more after this –

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Anticipation that there might be more halibut to catch next year has pushed IFQ prices into the nose bleed area. But good luck finding any to buy, trade or sell.

  Because the sellers don’t want to sell – there is hardly any quota on the market. You can sometimes survey all the broker sites and you won’t see one pound of 2C or 3A and very little 3B quota on the market. And sellers who do decide to sell quota, want top dollar for it, again because they believe the quota is going up. And there are enough buyers out there who believe the catch limits in those areas at least are going up they are willing to pay record high prices.   

Doug Bowen runs Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer.

Individual Fishing Quotas include a mix of shapes and sizes and regions, all of which affect their prices. Area 3A is the Central Gulf, the biggest fishing hole; 3B is the Western Gulf and 2C is Southeast Alaska.

Bowen says dock prices close to and topping $7 a pound at major ports all season have added to their worth.

 This week we sold already fished for this year 3A unblocked quota for $50 a pound which is definitely the highest it’s ever traded for. 

The story is the same in Southeast Alaska,  where there is big demand but no quota to sell.  prices have gone up to $55 a pound in some categories, said  Olivia Olsen at Alaskan Quota and Permits in Petersburg.

The industry will get a first glimpse at preliminary halibut catch limits for 2016 at the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s interim meeting in early December.

Alaska’s catch limit this year was 17 million pounds, up from 15.5 million, and the first overall increase in a decade. Doug Bowen is not convinced that marks a turnaround –

  “I hope these folks who think these catch limits are headed up are right, but I’m not convinced It’s been a long downward trend and just last year in the Central Gulf we took a 34 percent cut. We did get a little bit of an overall increase, but I don’t know if that signals that we are out of the woods and the resource is rebounding.”

The final numbers will be announced at the IPHC January meeting in Juneau.

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Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, celebrating 105 years of partnership with Alaska’s coastal communities.  In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.