This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini. Halibut surveys do it deeper – and shallower – and need more boats. More after this —
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Plans to expand halibut surveys by 30% have been trimmed a bit but boats are still needed to help. Each summer halibut scientists survey 1,300 stations from Oregon to the Bering Sea. Since 1998 the surveys have been done in a depth range of 20 to 275 fathoms where most of the fishing takes place. Now they want to check out deeper and shallower depths.
The situation is we use the area from zero to 400 fathoms as halibut habitat but our surveys cover the area from 20 to 275 fathoms. So we actually are considering halibut from deeper and shallower depths and we’re using the catch rates from our existing survey depths to extend into those areas.
Bruce Leaman is director of the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
If we just ignore the deeper and shallower depths we know we are ignoring some habitat where fishing is going on.
Leaman says researchers plan to expand the surveys from 275 to 400 fathoms and from 20 down to 10 fathoms along the Pacific Coast and in area 4A – the Bering Sea edge and eastern Aleutians near Unalaska.
And that’s actually one of the areas where we are seeing an increasing amount of fishing going on below 275 fathoms. 9 Actually all of the Bering Sea – particularly areas 4A and 4B has a significant number of survey stations that are in depths that we don’t currently occupy. 19
There are four survey regions in Area 4A and each one contains 40-50 stations. Leaman says it takes three to four weeks to get the job done.
Normally have 14-15 survey vessels running up and down the coast every year but because we have this expansion into new areas we will need additional vessels. 7
It’s a chance to make a good chunk of change. Survey manager Claude Dykstra said typical payouts are between $70,000 to $120,000 depending on survey regions. Boats also get 10% of the halibut sales and 50% of any other fish retained and sold.
The halibut stock surveys occur from late May through August. Apply now at www.iphc.int
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. In Kodiak, I’m Stephanie Mangini. www.oceanbeauty.com