IPHC posts catch limit proposals

In advance of its annual meeting in Victoria, British Columbia, Jan. 23-27, the International Pacific Halibut Commission accepted proposals through Dec. 31 on catch limits or harvest advice.

Of the eight proposals noted so far by the IPHC, six were specific to Area 2C in Southeast Alaska, including one from a group of processors and fishing associations who contend that reductions in Area 2C catch limits are not justified by current data or trends.

Area 2C stocks are increasing at current harvest rates, and the Area 2C survey weight per unit of effort is higher than any other IPHC area coast-wide, the proposal said.  The document was signed by Kathy Hansen, Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance; Megan O’Neil, Petersburg Vessel Owner’s Association; Dale Kelley, Alaska Trollers Association; Dan Falvey, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association Joe Morrelli, Seafood Producers Cooperative; Don Spigelmyer, Icicle Seafoods; and Mike Erickson, Alaska Glacier Seafoods.

Harvest rates across Area 2 in general and Areas 2B and 2C in particular should be consistent, their proposal said.

The group’s recommendations including consideration of fishery weight per unit of effort and number of fish per unit of effort trends in addition to survey data when setting 2017 Area specific catch limits, and establishing consistent net harvest rates across all of Area 2 and Area 3A so no one sub-area receives an excessive share of removals above the blue line in Area 2.

Their proposal also urged providing guidance and staff resources to the management strategy evaluation and management strategy advisory body process to produce recommendations on a new IPHC harvest policy and apportionment strategy, prior to the 2018 annual IPHC meeting.

The IPHC initiated the management strategy evaluation process and established the management strategy advisory body to re-evaluate the harvest policy and apportionment scenarios during its 2013 annual meeting.

Check for updates at www.iphc.int

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Margaret Bauman is a veteran Alaska journalist focused on covering fisheries and environmental issues. Bauman has been writing for The Cordova Times since 2010. You can reach her at mbauman@thecordovatimes.com.