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IPHC News Release 2018-005 Revised Pacific Halibut Catch Limits for 2018

23 March 2018

REVISED PACIFIC HALIBUT CATCH LIMITS FOR 2018

The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) completed its 94th Annual Meeting (AM094) in Portland, OR, U.S.A. on 26 January 2018. As noted in previous IPHC News Releases 2018-01 and 2018-03 (available at the IPHC website [https://iphc.int]), the Commission did not reach agreement on new Pacific halibut catch limits for the 2018 fishing period. Thus, by default, the catch limits set for the 2017 fishing period remain in place, unless more restrictive regulations are put in place by the Contracting Parties, in accordance with The Convention between Canada and the United States of America for the preservation of the [Pacific] halibut fishery of the Northern Pacific ocean and Bering sea (Article I, paragraph 2).

Canada

On 13 February 2018, Canada, via Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), announced the adoption and implementation of the following ‘more restrictive’ 2018 catch limits for Pacific halibut fisheries in IPHC Regulatory Area 2B:

Catch limit (pounds)

Catch limit (metric tons)

IPHC Regulatory Area 2B

6,223,985

2,823.18

    Commercial Total Allowable Catch

5,295,995

2402.25

    Recreational Total Allowable Catch

927,990

420.93

Note that these catch limits are more restrictive than the catch limits published by the IPHC in the Pacific Halibut Fishery Regulations (2018) (https://iphc.int/uploads/pdf/regs/iphc-2018-regs.pdf).

These catch limits have been incorporated into Canada’s Pacific Fishery Regulations (http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-93-54/index.html) and are described in the conditions of licence for the directed fishery.

Canadian Pacific halibut fishing periods and catch limits are also noted in the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan, Groundfish published at: http://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40657814.pdf.

United States of America

On 23 March 2018, the United States of America, via NOAA-Fisheries, announced the adoption and implementation of the following ‘more restrictive’ 2018 catch limits for the commercial Pacific halibut fisheries in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A, to be effective as of 24 March 2018:

Catch limit (pounds)

Catch limit (metric tons)

IPHC Regulatory Area 2A

1,190,000

539.78

    Treaty Indian commercial     

389,500

176.68

 Non-treaty directed commercial (south of Pt. Chehalis)

201,845

91.56

Non-treaty incidental catch in salmon troll fishery

35,620

16.16

Non-treaty incidental catch in sablefish fishery (north of Pt. Chehalis)

50,000

22.68

More restrictive 2018 catch limits for non-commerical fisheries in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A – the Treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence and recreational (sport) fisheries in Wasington, Oregon, and California – were not specified in the 23 March 2018 announcement of this interim final rule. Revised catch limits for these sectors are expected to be included in the final promulgation of the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Catch Sharing Plan for 2018.

On 19 March 2018, NOAA-Fisheries announced the adoption and implementation of the following ‘more restrictive’ 2018 catch limits for the Pacific halibut fisheries in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B and 4CDE:

Catch limit (pounds)

Catch limit (metric tons)

IPHC Regulatory Area 2C

4,450,0001

2,018.511

    Commercial (IFQ)

3,570,000

1,619.32

    Charter sport

810,000

367.41

IPHC Regulatory Area 3A

9,450,0001

4,286.491

    Commercial (IFQ)

7,350,000

3,333.91

    Charter sport

1,790,000

811.94

IPHC Regulatory Area 3B

 2,620,000

1,188.41

IPHC Regulatory Area 4A

1,370,000

621.42

IPHC Regulatory Area 4B

1,050,000

476.27

IPHC Regulatory Area 4CDE

1,580,000

716.68

    IPHC Regulatory Area 4C

733,500

332.71

    IPHC Regulatory Area 4D

733,500

332.71

    IPHC Regulatory Area 4E

113,000

51.26

1 In accordance with the catch sharing plan in place for this IPHC Regulatory Area, this overall total includes estimates for discard mortality.

NOAA-Fisheries also announced the following ‘more restrictive’ 2018 management measures for the charter recreational fisheries in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C and 3A, based on the revised 2018 catch limits:

In IPHC Regulatory Area 2C: a one-fish daily bag limit, with a reverse slot limit that allows retention of Pacific halibut less than 38 inches or greater than 80 inches, and no annual limit.

In IPHC Regulatory Area 3A: a two-fish daily bag limit, a maximum size limit of less than or equal to 28 inches on one of those Pacific halibut, and a four-fish annual limit. In addition, Wednesdays will be closed to charter fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 3A all season, along with six Tuesday (July 10, July 17, July 24, July 31, August 7, and August 14) closures in the summer. Vessels and charter permit holders will continue to be limited to one trip per day.

Note that these catch limits and charter management measures are more restrictive than the catch limits and charter management measures published by the IPHC in the Pacific Halibut Fishery Regulations (2018) (https://iphc.int/uploads/pdf/regs/iphc-2018-regs.pdf).

The complete texts of the interim final rules published by NOAA-Fisheries are available at the Federal Register website: https://www.federalregister.gov. The NOAA-Fisheries interim final rule for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A is available on file as of 23 March 2018 at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/current and is scheduled to appear in the Federal Register on 26 March 2018.

- END -

David T. Wilson, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Phone: (206) 634-1838
Fax:     (206) 632-2983
Web:  www.iphc.int


Document Title PDF Link Date Published
IPHC-2018-NR005 2018-005 Revised Pacific Halibut Catch Limits for 2018

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23 March 2018