SEATTLE — In January, the International Pacific Halibut Commission put a Band-Aid on a Bering Sea halibut situation that needs a blood transfusion from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
Halibut fishermen earned a breather in 2015, with slightly raised allocations all around and a status quo 1.285 million pounds for the central Bering Sea quota holders, but the bulk of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s February meeting took a look at every way possible to get those numbers higher.
The council voted on Feb. 8 to release an amended table of halibut bycatch reduction options for public review. In the meantime, Northern Economics, an Anchorage firm, will study the economic impacts of the proposed reductions after a rough cross-examination by council and staff for its initial report.
The council will take final action on the reduction proposals in their June meeting in Sitka.
The motion added 40 percent, 45 percent and 50 percent options to each of the originally proposed reductions and was part of a larger package of halibut bycatch reduction proposals and studies that received no action.
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