IPHC Halibut History

Federal Observer aboard US INTREPID 2012 Experimental Fishery - Deck Sorting

The IPHC (International Pacific Halibut Commission) has acknowledged that we have seen unprecendented Halibut recruitment over the past 2 decades but what we are seeing today is likely a return to 'normal.'  See the graph below that shows the Halibut historical data:

Recruitment during the period from 1977 to 2006 was estimated to have been far higher than observed during any portion of the historical record (Fig. 5), leading to much larger stock sizes (Fig. 6), and therefore fishery yields available during this period.  

IPCH Historical Halibut Recruitment 

Figure 5 (above) Trend recruitment strengths (by birth year) estimated by the long time-series model

Figure 6 IPHC Spawning Biomass Halibut

Figure 6 (above) Spawing Biomass estimates from the long time-series model.

As we are driven down the path dictated by the IPHC to the NPFMC (North Pacific Fishery Management Council), it is important to realize that the directed Halibut fishermens' 'need' to be made whole (getting back to the quota levels of 5 years ago) is not based in reality, as 5 years ago was an anomoly over the historical quoto levels as indicated by the IPHC. 

The reality is that the quotas were unprecedented and at record highs; with normal recruitment the Halibut biomass probably won't be getting back to those level for some time.  

Do not allow the Halibut biomass anomoly, and the resulting issues with the Halibut directed fishery, to damage our Amendment 80 Fishery - a fishery that has been lauded by the Council for 'doing everything right' when it comes to bycatch avoidance, increased retention, and cooperative fishing.

Read More on this issue (content gathered by FF): NPFMC Sitka Agenda C-2

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