The days of anglers coming home from a fishing trip to Homer, Alaska -- "The Halibut Capital of the World" -- with two, big, honking halibut appear to be over.
In an effort to hang onto a two-fish limit in Cook Inlet next summer, the Alaska Charter Halibut Management Implementation Committee is asking the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council to limit one fish to a so-called "chicken," a halibut under 30 inches. Such a fish weighs about 12 pounds -- or slightly more than a big Kenai River sockeye salmon.
The recommendation came Monday after the group met with Scott Meyer, the Homer-based sport halibut management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Given a shrinking halibut stock and the efforts of the council -- an organization dominated by commercial fishing interests -- to shift halibut catch from tens of thousands of anglers to about 1,000 commercial fishermen, Meyer informed the group the charter-catch quota is no longer large enough to support the traditional two-fish limit.