Alaska’s halibut stocks are showing signs of going up for the first time in the past 15 years. Coastwide Pacific halibut harvest is at 29.89 million pounds, a 2.3 percent increase from 2015. For Alaska the catch was at 21.45 million pounds, which was an increase of 200,000 pounds.
As stated by Doug Brown “The feeling is the stocks are up and the resource is stabilizing and recovering, and it’s the first meeting in a long time that there weren’t any areas that are looking at double-digit (percentage) cuts.’
They are also expecting Halibut prices to go up from 6$ a pound in this next year, which will bring in more people fishing there halibut quota more than normal.
“Although the annual survey showed increased catches for the first time in nearly 12 years, scientists said they remain concerned that the fish are still growing slowly. They also had questions about potential inaccurate accounting’s of halibut taken as bycatch in other fisheries (Laine Welch, 2016)”.
Some other interesting halibut news for Alaska. There was two different proposals that both ended up getting thumbed down. The first was to reduce the legal halibut size limit from 32 inches to 30 inches, in hope to reduce wastage of small fish. The other proposal was to limit the maximum size to 60 inches in hopes to protect large breeders.
Here are the 2016 halibut catch limits in millions of pounds:
- 2C (Southeast): 4.95, up 0.3.
- 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska): 9.6, down 0.5.
- 3B (Western Gulf): 2.71, up 0.6.
- 4A (Western Aleutians): 1.39, flat
- 4B (Bering Sea): 1.14, flat
- 4CDE (Bering Sea): 1.66, up 0.4
- Total:21.45 million pounds, up 0.2
Welch, Laine. Alaska Commercial Halibut Quota Goes Up for First Time in 15 Years. Alaska Dispatch News. January 30, 2016. Web