Pacific halibut harvesters got some rare good news last week.

On the final day of its annual meeting, the International Pacific Halibut Commission confirmed the total coastwide take for 2021 will be increased and the fishing season was extended by a month.

Total halibut removals were boosted by 6.53% to 39 million pounds for fish taken in commercial, sport, subsistence, research, personal use and as bycatch for fisheries of the West Coast, British Columbia and Alaska.

That’s higher than levels set for the past three years.

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For commercial fishermen, the halibut catch limit of 25.7 million pounds compares to a take of 23.1 million pounds in 2020.

Alaska gets the largest chunk of the Pacific harvest at 19.6 million pounds, compared to just over 17 million pounds last year.

All Alaska regions except for the Bering Sea will see increased catches.

A breakdown in commercial catches provided by Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer shows that at Southeast, Area 2C, a catch of 3.53 million pounds is an increase of just over 3.5%.

The Central Gulf, Area 3A, is Alaska’s biggest halibut fishing hole and gets just under 9 million pounds, a nearly 27% increase over last year.

The Western Gulf, Area 3B, will have just under three million pounds, a 6.22% increase.

For the Aleutian Islands region of 4A, a catch limit of 1.66 million pounds is a 17.73% increase. The 4B region of the Aleutians at 1.23 million pounds is more than an 11.8% increase.

The Bering Sea catch in Area 4CDE at just under 1.7 million pounds is a drop of nearly 3.5%.

Just over 6.8 million pounds will go to the coast wide recreational sector.

A total of 6.29 million pounds of halibut is allowed to be taken as “discard mortality” from all regions combined.

The halibut fishery for this year also was extended by one month and will run from March 6 to December 7.

A total of 278 individual Pacific halibut stakeholders attended the meeting via an electronic platform.