That’s the big question as the industry braces for the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s interim meeting this week in Seattle.
By all accounts, there appear to be lots of halibut in Alaska waters, but their unusually slow growth rates have forced catches downward for nearly a decade. Alaska’s total catch this year was about 22 million pounds.
Also up for review, 22 fishermen from remote communities in the mid-Aleutians (4A) are requesting an increase in their halibut catch to about half a million pounds. From the same region is a proposal to allow retention of halibut taken as bycatch in sablefish pot gear. Another proposal asks for mandatory length requirements for all halibut caught by sport charters.