Fish Hooks: News from the World of Fisheries

The winter months tend to be active in fisheries management, with fishery regulatory meetings of the Alaska Board of Fisheries, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the International Pacific Halibut Commission, the Federal Subsistence Board, as well as reports from various state and federal agencies and local meetings of municipal and state interest. We will periodically post links and updates to fisheries news of interest.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission will set the 2013 catch limits for halibut in the next few months. The initial recommendations call for a coast-wide reduction of up to 30 percent in harvest of halibut for 2013, which would mean a cut in harvest levels for the ninth year in a row. Molly Dischner in the Alaska Journal of Commerce has a good summary of the meeting.

The Commission met in Seattle, WA at the end of November to hear the preliminary recommendations for 2013 by IPHC staff. Available online is a meeting summary with updates on the IPHC performance review, changes to the annual meeting cycle, an announcement for management strategy evaluation and a new management strategy advisory board, overview of halibut fisheries, the stock assessments, harvest reports and advice for 2013. The call for a 30 percent reduction in halibut harvest is not specific to coastal areas, as in past years, but the overall target that would need to be implemented with potential regional variations.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting this week in Anchorage – on tap are important discussions for Chinook bycatch reductions in the Gulf of Alaska non-pollock trawl fisheries, research on salmon excluders in pollock trawl fisheries, and recommendations for charter halibut catch levels and regulations for 2013.

You can listen to the NPFMC meetings online.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released the 2013 Stikine and Taku Rivers King Salmon Forecast, and the outlook precludes any harvest in directed fisheries for either Alaska or Canada in May.

ADFG released the 2013 Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Forecast, for 26 million sockeye, with is 33 percent lower than the previous 10 year mean of total runs.

An economic study by the McDowell Group shows that Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp. hatcheries produce big returns on investments, but growing concerns remain on the impact of hatchery salmon on wild stocks and on forage fisheries such as herring.

An inspiring story on restoration efforts for coho salmon in Idaho is discussed.