According to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the agency will be implementing new regulations for Pacific halibut. The measures are in response to recommendations from the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). The final rule to implement the management measures has published in the Federal Register.
The halibut season opens for commercial fishers from California to Alaska on Saturday, March 23, and closes November 7, 2013.
For Area 2C (Southeast Alaska), charter anglers will continue to observe a “reverse slot limit” for the 2013 season. The “reverse slot limit” rule limits the size of retained halibut to less than or equal to 45 inches or greater than or equal to 68 inches in length for charter anglers. A one-fish per day, per person bag limit for charter anglers, which has been in effect for Southeast Alaska since 2009, remains in effect through the 2013 season.
For Area 3A (Central Alaska), charter anglers will operate under the same measures as last year, with a 2 fish of any size per person daily bag limit.
The 2013 guideline harvest levels for Area 2C and Area 3A published in the final rule will be revised in a forthcoming Federal Register notice.
Unguided halibut fishers in Alaska will observe a daily bag limit of 2 fish of any size per person per day.
Charter and commercial halibut fishers in Area 2A (Washington, Oregon, California) will adhere to the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan for 2013.
Under the Halibut Act, members of the IPHC—a joint U.S. and Canadian body—adopted recommended management measures for the 2013 Pacific halibut fishery at the Commission’s annual meeting in January. The recommendations were formulated through the combined efforts of harvesters, processors, Commission staff, and the Commission.
NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region continues to develop a Catch Sharing Plan for Areas 2C and 3A, which was developed through the North Pacific Fishery Management Council with robust public input. According to NOAA, the plan is intended to establish a clear allocation between the commercial and charter sectors. The Catch Sharing Plan is expected to be in place for the 2014 season.
source: NOAA Fisheries