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News Line: Halibut quota cut recommended

IPHC staff calls for 54-million-pound catch

 - IPHC staff calls for 54-million-pound catch
- Steven Hedlund
January 01, 2009

Pacific halibut may be a tad harder to source this year. International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) staff in late November recommended an 11.8 percent cut in the annual halibut quota, from 60.4 million pounds in 2008 to 54 million pounds in 2009.

If approved by IPHC commissioners at their annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, from Jan. 13 to 16, it would mark the quota's fifth consecutive cut. The halibut quota totaled 76.5 million pounds in 2004, a 500,000-pound increase from 2003, but has been slashed in each of the past five years.

This year's quota recommendation is based on last year's biomass survey and meetings with industry members. The IPHC manages halibut fishing from Washington to British Columbia to Alaska.

The largest quota reduction would come off Southeast Alaska, from 9 million pounds in 2008 to 6.96 million pounds in 2009. The only quota hikes would come south of the Aleutian Peninsula, from 10.9 million pounds to 11.67 million pounds, and north of the western Aleutian Islands, from 1.86 million pounds to 1.94 million pounds.

There are a total of eight halibut fishing areas. The bulk of the halibut catch occurs in the Gulf of Alaska and south of the Aleutian Peninsula. - S.H.



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