Good and lousy news for Alaska halibut anglers

The Council, for its part, decided to stick with a two-fish-per-day limit for flatfish anglers fishing out of Southcentral ports near Anchorage, the state’s largest city, next year. There had been worries about a reduced limit, as is already in place in the state’s Southeast Panhandle because of a shrinking “biomass” — as the scientists call it — of halibut.

The not-so-good news from Fish and Game was related directly — and sadly — to that biomass problem. There appear to be plenty of fish, but most of them are small. The state’s Preliminary Estimates of Sport Harvests concluded Southcentral anglers caught about 300,000 of the tasty, white-fleshed fish in 2012, about the same as in 2011. But state fisheries biologist Scott Meyer from Homer reported the average size of halibut kept by Southcentral anglers dropped under 15 pounds for the first time ever. Some Kenai River sockeye salmon get bigger than that.

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