The 2013 Pacific Halibut season is fast approaching and will run from March 22 through November 7. According to a January 26 report from the Anchorage Daily News, Halibut quotas fell 7.5% to 31 million pounds, which is still much less than the predicted 30% decline that many fishermen feared. Alaska’s allotted catch is 23 million pounds, down 2.5 million pounds from 2012. The International Pacific Halibut Commission expressed concerns about the impact of over fishing and habitat destruction and felt that it was extremely important to balance fishermen’s economics with the future of the halibut population.
The Commission addressed several other regulatory proposals, none of which were approved. Some of these regulations include the manner in which the fish are caught, new regulations of fishing waters, and reducing bycatch mortality rates. Many of the new proposals were not approved due mostly to the difficulties and problems with enforcing the new regulations.
While halibut fleets have seen their catches cut by almost 70% over the past few years the allowable bycatch limit still tops over 5 million pounds in the Gulf of Alaska alone. The commissioners urged stakeholders to take a more active role in pressuring government and management agencies to adopt the best practices in reducing bycatch mortality rates over the next several years. The halibut managers outlined projects to be undertaken by a new “team” focused on better understanding the effects of bycatch and looking at new options to reduce bycatch and mitigating it’s effects.
Here at SeafoodS.com, we are reading everything we can get our hands on to understand what is in store for the 2013 Halibut Season. We are committed to being your trusted adviser, and you can bet we will have your halibut solution this year!