As the Pacific halibut quota for 2014 is due to be set this Friday, a recommendation has been made to cut catches by 21%, to under 25 million pounds, reported Fish Radio.
Under this recommendation, Alaska’s share of the catch would be 18.7m pounds, down from about 22m pounds in 2013, said the news website.
This year’s halibut catches, season start and end dates and much more will be decided this week at the 19th Annual Meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) in Seattle. The quota for the year is expected to be announced on Friday, Jan. 17.
Halibut surveys show 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 are 22 requests for an increased halibut catch to about 500,00 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 request asks for mandatory length requirements for all halibut sport charters. A final proposal suggests the commission could begin accounting for halibut removals for fish under 32 inches, which it does not currently do.