Halibut fishery to start later, catch cut

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by Sushihunter, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. Sushihunter

    Sushihunter Active Member


    Halibut fishery to start later, catch cut


    (01/17/09 22:27:13)

    KODIAK -- Alaska's halibut fishery will get off to a later start and fishermen will haul in fewer fish this year.

    The catch limits for waters ranging from the West Coast and British Columbia to the Bering Sea were announced Friday by the International Pacific Halibut Commission in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    The Alaska halibut catch was set at 45.6 million pounds, down from 50 million last year:

    • 5.02 million pounds for longliners in Southeastern. They were bracing for a 30 percent cut to 4 million pounds.

    • 21.7 million pounds for Alaska's biggest halibut hole -- Area 3A, the central Gulf. That's down about 1 million pounds.

    • 10.9 million pounds for Area 3B, the western Gulf. That's the same as last year.

    • 2.55 million pounds for Area 4A, the Aleutians, a cut from last year.

    • 1.9 million pounds for Area 4B of the Bering Sea, a small increase.

    • 3.46 million pounds for Areas 4C, D and E, an increase.

    The halibut fishery will open March 21. Last year it started March 8.

    "The processors argued for a later opening so they could get rid of some frozen inventory," said Doug Bowen of Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer. "Most of the fishermen wanted an earlier opening date so they could get more fresh fish to market, but it was a compromise."


    A project aimed at compiling labor data on Alaska's fishing crews is gaining traction as a mix of state and federal agencies get down to business this week.

    It's estimated that about 20,000 crew members work on Alaska's fishing grounds each year, but they're self-employed workers, so the state collects no wage reports on them.

    "All we know is that someone buys a crew license. We don't know if they fish, what they fish for, how many fisheries they participate in, for how long -- any of that kind of stuff," said Geron Bruce, deputy director of the state Commercial Fisheries Division.

    "You can't really estimate the total economic impact of commercial fishing unless you know something about the earnings and employment patterns for the crew members, who are such an important part of the work force," he added.

    "It makes it difficult for both harvesters and communities to apply for economic assistance or benefit from other state and federal programs," echoed Mike Catsi, director of the Southwest Alaska Municipal League. The league has championed the crew counting effort and helped get a $150,000 appropriation from the Legislature last year to jump start the project. The federal government, which co-manages several of Alaska's largest fisheries, is also providing funding.

    Individual crew members want to document their participation in certain fisheries so that if the government doles out shares of the catch they can get their share, Bruce said. Many Alaska fisheries have been divvied among boat owners and, in some case, processors and even communities.

    "It's a great idea," said Tyler O'Brien, a Kodiak fisherman. "But a lot of guys won't want to provide any information because they don't want a paper trail for the IRS."

    Deckhand Isaac Milligan said, "All the fish passes through our hands. We need to be given credit for our contributions, even if some fishermen don't want to be counted."

    The crew data could be collected via fish tickets or electronic landing reports already in place. Bruce said the next step is to form a 15-member advisory committee that represents a cross-section of Alaska fisheries, from small skiffs on the Yukon to big Bering Sea crab boats.

    "And we really need to broaden the discussion to include more regions," said Bruce. "Basically, it has been focused in Kodiak and the Aleutians areas, but for many other regions, it's not even on their radar screen."

    Jan Conitz of Juneau has been named project leader. At its meeting Wednesday, the committee will consider data collection options to present to the stakeholders group this spring.

    Laine Welch is a Kodiak-based fisheries journalist. Her Fish Radio programs can be heard on stations around the state. Her information column appears every other Sunday. This material is protected by copyright. For information on reprinting or placing on your Web site or newsletter, contact msfish@alaska.com.

    Copyright © Sun Jan 18 05:03:26 PST 20091900 The Anchorage Daily News (www.adn.com)

    Jim's Fishing Charters
  2. Little Hawk

    Little Hawk Active Member

    Thanks for posting this Sushi.

    If there's a surplus of inventory remaining from last years catch, could one interpret that as a signal that all is healthy in 'Hali-land' or did they just over-fish the resource?

    Ok... when's the DFO dropping the bomba on us Canuck flattie-guys?
  3. Tailspin

    Tailspin Active Member

  4. wolf

    wolf Well-Known Member

    X2 justin then when it does come down we will all be completly surprised!!!!!!yes thats sarcasim:(:(put on the rose colored glasses that is half full.
  5. Last Chance

    Last Chance Admin Staff Member

    We get what we get.

    On the bright side, they (Alaska)were originally only going to get 46.1 million pounds, based on the reccommendations of the IPHC web site. The reccommendations are not written in stone.

    Anyone got around 5 million bucks for a class action lawsuit?

    Last Chance Fishing Adventures

  6. fisher69

    fisher69 Member

    Hate to break it to you but the surplus is a sign of economic times. People are starting to tighten their belts with the downturn in the economy. I wonder what impact this is going to have on bookings....
  7. fisher69

    fisher69 Member


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