Clearances must be submitted to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement (NOAA Fisheries OLE).
As referenced in Section 15 of the 2017 IPHC regulations(http://iphc.int/publications/regs/2017iphcregs.pdf), vessels fishing for Pacific halibut in IPHC Regulatory Area 4 are required to clear before fishing and before unloading for each trip, with the exception of local Bering Sea vessels or vessels with an operating Vessel Monitoring System (VMS). Full details on the VMS program are available on the NOAA Fisheries OLE website (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ole/about/our_programs/vessel_monitoring.html) or by phone at (907) 586-7225.
The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) has collected logbook information since the 1930s. The weight per unit effort, gear, and location information from the logbook is essential for the annual stock assessment and aids in determining the condition of the Pacific halibut resource. We have been successful in managing the resource primarily because of cooperation from participating harvesters. IPHC regulations require the operator of any vessel commercially fishing for Pacific halibut, that has an overall length of 26 feet or greater, to maintain a logbook. All detailed trip information obtained and retained by the IPHC is kept strictly confidential and cannot be subpoenaed because of IPHC immunities as an international organization.
The IPHC has been contracted by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Auke Bay Laboratory (ABL) to collect sablefish log sheets for use in the sablefish stock assessment. This program was developed at the request of the sablefish industry and is voluntary. Any logbook information provided to the NMFS ABL requires a skipper's signature acknowledging and agreeing to the following: 'IPHC will forward to Sablefish Assessment, Auke Bay Lab'. Only sablefish data that have this acknowledgement are provided to ABL. To meet the IPHC confidentiality requirements, sablefish catch, set data, and landing locations are provided, but each vessel is assigned a unique number code preventing the vessel from being identified. These data cannot be obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
For the 2017 season, IPHC has samplers in the following ports in Alaska: Dutch Harbor, Homer, Juneau, Kodiak, Petersburg, Seward, Sitka, and St. Paul. We also have samplers in Bellingham, Washington and Newport, Oregon.
Providing the log to the port sampler is the most efficient way to provide accurate data for inclusion in the stock assessment, to clarify details, and to provide you with a venue to ask questions and provide direct feedback to the IPHC and ABL. If you need a new logbook, one can be obtained from any port sampler or from the Seattle office. At the end of the fishing season, if a sampler has not collected logbook information from all trips, please tear out the IPHC/IFQ copy from your logbook, or make a copy of the information, sign to release the sablefish catch information, and send it to the Seattle office at the address listed above.
Please refer to the log example to complete your IPHC-approved log as accurately, legibly, and completely as possible. Thank you again for your continuing cooperation.
Beginning in 2017, IPHC Regulations require that all commercial Pacific halibut must be landed and weighed with their heads attached for data reporting purposes (fish ticket – USA, validation record – Canada) and be subject to the 32-inch minimum size limit. The only exception to this requirement is that vessels that freeze Pacific halibut at sea may possess and land their frozen fish with the head removed and subject to the 24-inch minimum size limit. This regulation change will reduce a recently identified bias in commercial landing data.
Hats for ALL crew who participate … and jacket lottery draw to be awarded to 3 vessels.
We are asking for your assistance in marking fish as either male or female while dressing them at sea, so that the port samplers can add sex information from the Pacific halibut that they sample to the length and age data that they routinely collect.
NEW FORMAT FOR IPHC STAFF HARVEST ADVICE
The IPHC staff harvest advice is being restructured to present more information and more options for consideration by Commissioners as they set the annual catch limits. This change is in response to Commission direction at the 2012 Annual Meeting, reinforced by the 2012 Performance Review and stakeholder feedback. Although this restructured advice format is new to the IPHC, it is becoming common practice in world fishery management. This procedural approach provides a more transparent delineation between scientific results and management/policy decisions, ultimately enabling a better understanding of the risks associated with different fishery harvest options.
In the past, IPHC staff harvest advice centered on point biomass estimates and catch limit recommendations (i.e., single numbers for each). This format does not adequately convey the uncertainties around stock estimates and the risks of various possible outcomes at different catch levels. This year, the IPHC staff harvest advice will be summarized in a table which integrates uncertainty surrounding the stock assessment as it relates outcomes to estimates of risk.
The new format will give the Commissioners a wider range of advice to consider as they set catch limits for 2013. For example, different catch levels (outcomes) can be evaluated and presented in terms of their impact (risk) on the stock and harvest rates. The Commissioners will be able to examine a range of harvest options and the probable impacts on the stock as they deliberate. The table below illustrates the structure of how the staff will be providing advice to the Commission and stakeholders. This table is only an example; the particular metrics (column headings) may be different in the final version.
This year's stock assessment and catch advice will undergo a scientific review by a small work team of fishery experts before being presented to the Commissioners at the Interim Meeting. The Commission intends to make scientific peer review, with stakeholder participation, a regular feature of the annual assessment cycle. During the coming year a more formal structure will be developed for future reviews, following discussion at the Interim and Annual Meetings and with stakeholder input.
Example of Restructured Harvest Advice Format