halibut

This Week in Bycatch - August 20

Aug 21, 2019
Halibut
Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

***CORRECTION:  A previous version of this piece overstated the amount of king salmon caught as bycatch to date in 2019.  The correct number is twenty-nine thousand five hundred thirty two.  KBBI regrets the error***

This Week in Bycatch - August 14

Aug 15, 2019
Halibut
Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

Halibut bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands in the week ending August 3 was lower than comparable weeks in the last five years.  Total mortality, as recorded by onboard observers and compiled by the National Marine Fisheries Service, was fifty-seven thousand pounds.  During the same week in 2018, halibut death in other fisheries totaled seventy-five thousand pounds.  In the past five years, the highest total during this period was one hundred twenty eight thousand pounds in 2016. 

This Week in Bycatch - August 6

Aug 7, 2019
Halibut
Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

Incidental catch of bairdi, opilio, and king crab remained low across the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands regulatory areas for the week ending July 27.  Less than three thousand crab were caught across all gear types.  King salmon bycatch stood at 62 fish for the week, while all other salmon species accounted for 18,971 fish.  About half of the non-chinook were caught in statistical area 517 north of False Pass just west of the entranc

This Week in Landings - 08/02

Aug 2, 2019
Salmon
University of Washington

Sockeye salmon continued pouring into Upper Cook Inlet.  Six hundred forty thousand found their way into the nets of the commercial gillnet fleet, up from three hundred ninety thousand the week before.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced that the Kenai and Kasilof rivers have exceeded escapement goals, and they have extended fishing periods for set gillnetters and opened expanded areas in the Kasilof, Kenai, and Anchor Point subdistricts  to drifters.

This Week in Bycatch - 07/23

Jul 24, 2019
Halibut
Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

Longliners targeting Pacific Cod posted the highest poundage of halibut bycatch for the week of July 13, according to public data released by the National Marine Fisheries Service, with 48,702 pounds.  Onboard observers recorded 3,946 pounds of that halibut was dead. Non-pelagic, or bottom, trawlers recorded a total halibut mortality of 46,319 pounds.

This Week in Bycatch - July 17

Jul 17, 2019
Halibut
Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

Bycatch of prohibited species in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands regulatory areas continued to be relatively low this week across all fisheries, according to the update by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) covering the week of July 6.  Only fifty kings and two thousand non-king salmon were caught incidentally. The bycatch of crab has also been low, only five thousand total animals.

Salmon
University of Washington

Halibut landings across the state have slowed down as boats turn their attention to salmon.  Homer landed 109,763 pounds of halibut on fifteen deliveries in the last week, over twice as much as Kodiak.  Seward recorded 37,573 pounds. Almost eight and a half million pounds have been caught so far around the state in the IFQ longline fishery.  

This Week in Landings - June 28

Jun 28, 2019
Salmon
University of Washington

The first two openers of the 2019 Upper Cook Inlet drift gillnet season are done.  The June 20 and 24 Central District fishing periods each yielded about two thousand salmon for a total harvest of four thousand one hundred thirteen (4013) fish on one hundred forty six (146) deliveries.  Ninety two percent were sockeye. Setnetters on the west side of the Central District caught just under twenty-five hundred fish, of which all but fifteen were sockeye.

This Week in Landings

Jun 20, 2019
Salmon
University of Washington

The Southern District of Lower Cook Inlet, which includes Kachemak Bay, opened to seiners this Monday, June 17, with sixteen-hour openers scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported Monday’s salmon harvest as four Chinook and 110 sockeye on four deliveries, all from the China Poot section. Sections with fewer than three deliveries are not included in public reports.

 

This Week in Bycatch - June 18

Jun 18, 2019
Halibut
Nancy Heise / Wikimedia

 

  The National Marine Fisheries Service reports a total halibut bycatch for the first two weeks of June of 506,747 pounds in all groundfish fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands management areas, excluding the halibut and sablefish longline fisheries.   Total halibut mortality for the month so far is 460,457 pounds for a mortality rate of just under ninety-one percent.

 

Rudy Gustafson

The U.S. Pacific halibut season kicked off Friday. Some of the first deliveries to Alaska ports are expected later this week and will set the tone for prices on the docks this year. Market conditions are expected to be more favorable for Alaska’s halibut fishermen and processors compared to last year.

Creative Commons photo by Ed Bierman

Southeast and Southcentral Alaska Pacific halibut charter regulations during the 2019 season will be similar to last year’s rules.  

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council set a range of charter regulations back in December, but those change based on the catch limits in each regulatory area. The International Pacific Halibut Commission set those limits today (Friday).

Area 2C in Southeast Alaska will see the same one-fish daily bag limit. Anglers can retain fish up to 38 inches or greater than 80 inches. There is also no annual bag limit for charter customers.

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.

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