New Pacific halibut regulations are in effect in Alaska as a result of actions by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). The Alaska Pacific halibut commercial fishery season will run from March 8 through November 7, 2014.
At its annual meeting in January, the IPHC recommended to the governments of Canada and the United States catch limits for 2014 totaling 27,515,000 pounds. The IPHC adopted area-specific catch limits for 2014 that were lower than 2013 in all of its management areas except Area 2C (Southeast Alaska).
In 2014, advised by the Catch Sharing Plan recommended by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the IPHC set combined charter and commercial catch limits for Areas 2C and 3A (Southcentral Alaska).
Voluntary annual transfers of commercial halibut individual fishing quota to charter halibut permit holders in Areas 2C and 3A will be available as “guided angler fish” for additional harvest opportunities in the charter fishery.
The charter fishery will fish under revised regulations which include:
Area 2C (Southeast Alaska)
The charter fishery will be subject to a one-fish daily bag limit with a “reverse slot limit.” Charter anglers may only keep a halibut that is less than 44 inches or greater than 76 inches in length.
If halibut are filleted at sea, the carcass must be retained onboard until landing.
Area 3A (Southcentral Alaska):
Charter fishery two-fish daily bag limit: one any size / one less than or equal to 29 inches total length
Trip limit for charter vessels: vessels are limited to one charter halibut fishing trip in which halibut are retained per calendar day (if no halibut retained, vessel may take an additional trip to catch and retain halibut that day). Applies to vessels only, not charter halibut permits.
If halibut are filleted at sea, the carcass of the halibut that is less than or equal to 29 inches must be retained onboard until landing.
Halibut operators must also observe other new regulations implemented this year under the CSP.
Unguided halibut fishers in Alaska will observe a daily bag limit of 2 fish any size per person per day.
For more information, visit NOAA Fisheries Alaska Regional website: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/
source: NOAA Fisheries