January 14, 2014
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Halibut catches will be decided this week. More after this —
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This year’s halibut catches, season start and end dates and much more will be decided this week at the Ninetieth Annual Meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission in Seattle.
A coast wide catch of just under 25 million pounds is being recommended – that’s a 21 percent
reduction from last year. Alaska’s share of the catch would be 18.7 million pounds, down from about 22 million pounds in 2013. Halibut surveys show the that the Pacific halibut stock has been declining continuously over much of the last decade due to decreasing size-at-age. Recruitment strengths also are much smaller than those observed through the 1980s and ‘90s.
Also for review by the IPHC this week – 22 requests for an increased halibut catch to about half a million pounds in Area 4E, way out west in the Bering Sea. And in Area 4A, Gulf waters off Dutch Harbor, a proposal by the North Pacific Council asks to allow retention of halibut taken as bycatch in sablefish pot gear.
Another asks for mandatory length requirements for all halibut sport charters. A final proposal asks the Commission to begin accounting for halibut removals for fish under 32 inches, which it does not currently do.
Also this week – the Halibut Bycatch Work Group, which covers every gear group and region, will present a report. The IPHC meeting will end on Friday with the approval of catch limits and regulations. You can follow the meetings on your computer via webcasts.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska corporation proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.