Halibut season in jeopardy even as catch limit rises
Despite a 5 percent hike in the total halibut catch limits, the start of the 2017 season will likely be delayed because of a 60-day freeze on federal regulations in the United States.
On 27 February, the International Pacific Halibut Commission increased the total allowable catch (TAC) to 31.4 million pounds. It marks the first time in around 10 years that there were no cuts in any region’s quotas.
While the IPHC approved the halibut season to start on 11 March, that date is expected to be pushed back because of President Donald Trump’s freeze on new and pending regulations – which would include regulations on the federally-managed fishery. The freeze went into effect on 20 January, so the earliest starting date for the Pacific halibut fishery would likely be 27 March, according to Alaska Dispatch News.
Meanwhile, Alaska took the majority of this year’s quota at 22.62 million pounds, while British Columbia’s quota is 7.45 million pounds. California, Oregon and Washington’s catch was set at 1.33 million pounds.