halibut

Courtesy of the International Halibut Commission

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council, or NPFMC, took a step during its meeting Monday toward regulating unguided boats that anglers pay to use for halibut fishing. The council may require those boats to be registered and may also impose more restrictive charter bag limits on the customers that utilize them.

Rudy Gustafson

Halibut ex-vessel prices are seeing a slight uptick around the state, which is good news for some fishermen after prices fell about $2 per pound at the beginning of the season.

Doug Bowen works for Alaska Boats and Permits, a vessel and fishing permit broker in Homer. Bowen tracks halibut prices around the Gulf of Alaska, which have a significant influence on the halibut quota he sells for fishermen.  

“We did see the ex-vessel price for halibut perk up a bit where we’re at $6.25, $6.50, $6.75 here in Homer today,” Bowen said.

Courtesy of the International Pacific Halibut Commission

Earlier this month, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard appointed two new commissioners to the International Pacific Halibut Commission temporarily. The commission regulates commercial and sport fishing for Pacific halibut in Canada and the U.S.

Robert Day and Neil Davis will replace Jake Vanderheide and Ted Assu. Both commissioners’ terms expired earlier this year.

Day directs Fisheries and Oceans’ International Fisheries Management Headquarters in Ottawa and Davis is a resource management director for the department.

Rudy Gustafson

Commercial fishermen are about two months into the halibut season, and the industry is dealing with some big changes. Prices for the valuable bottom fish have fallen about $2 per pound, and decreasing demand has left plenty of halibut from last year sitting in the freezer.

Both seem to be driven by consumers who are reluctant to buy expensive fillets in grocery stores and restaurants, but also by a new competitor that’s taking over a large portion of the market.

That begs the question: will Pacific halibut maintain its spot on the menu or be replaced?

Image courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration removed a reference to renegotiating the “Halibut Treaty” between the U.S. and Canada from a press release Wednesday. NOAA issued the release Monday to announce the final regulatory rule for the 2018 halibut season, but later removed the reference.

Creative Commons photo by Ed Bierman

The total allowable catch for the 2018 Pacific halibut season in the Gulf of Alaska and Southeast will be set slightly lower than what U.S. commissioners on the International Pacific Halibut Commission had asked for.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will publish a final rule in the Federal Register Tuesday setting combined charter and commercial quotas in Southeast, area 2C, at 4.4 million pounds. That’s about a 17-percent drop from the total allowable catch in 2017.

Courtesy of the International Pacific Halibut Commission

The National Marine Fisheries Service announced nominees to fill two seats on the International Pacific Halibut Commission Thursday. Four Alaskans were nominated to fill two upcoming vacancies on the commission.

Current Commissioner and Executive Director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association Linda Behnken is among the list of six names.

Commissioner Robert Alverson of Washington and general manager of the Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association in Seattle was also nominated.

Both Behnken and Alverson’s terms expire at the end of the month.

Creative Commons photo by Ed Bierman

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, published an interim rule for the 2018 halibut season Friday.

It set the season opening and closing dates on March 24 and November 7. The rule also put quotas from 2017 in place, but that is likely to change.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission, which regulates halibut in U.S. and Canadian waters, typically sets both season dates and quotas.

KBBI

The International Pacific Halibut Commission, or the IPHC, will kick off its annual meeting in Portland Monday. The international regulatory body is expected to slash the total allowable catch of halibut on the West Coast by 24 percent due to declining stocks. With potentially less Pacific halibut on the market, prices are likely to increase, but a new direct competitor on the East Coast may hamper the market’s ability to compensate for lower halibut stocks in Alaska.

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