Pacific halibut quota cut 19 percent
The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) on Saturday announced that the Pacific halibut quota has been cut by 19 percent to 41 million pounds, which is in line with what IPHC scientists recommended in December.
Alaska’s share of the catch will be 32.5 million pounds, down from 40 million pounds last year. Southeast Alaska longliners will take the biggest hit, a 47 percent cut to just 2.3 million pounds. The central Gulf of Alaska region’s catch was cut 28 percent to just over 14 million pounds, while catches in the western Gulf of Alaska will decrease to 7.5 million pounds from 10 million pounds.
Only fishing areas along the Aleutians and Bering Sea will see slight increases.
“Of course, they cited ongoing concern with the decline in the size at age declining catch rates coast wide. There’s a lot of fish out there; they just don’t seem to be growing and recruiting into the fishery,” Doug Bowen with Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer told the Anchorage Daily News. “The commissioners commented that the halibut are the smallest size at age in the history of the fishery.”