IPHC Staff Recommendations for 2009


Area                2008 fishery Catch Limit                  2009 IPHC Staff Recommendation 

2C                                 6.21                                                              4.47 

3A                               24.22                                                              22.53 

3B                               10.90                                                              11.67 

4A                                 3.10                                                                2.65 

4B                                 1.86                                                                1.94 

4CDE                            3.89                                                               2.93 


2A                                 1.22                                                                0.86 

2B                                 9.00                                                                6.96 

Total                           60.40                                                             54.01

November 25, 2008


International Pacific Halibut Commission Staff Preliminary Catch Limit Recommendations: 2009

In making catch limit recommendations for 2009, staff has considered the results of the analytic assessment, changes in the commercial and survey indices used to monitor the stock, estimated recruitment of incoming year classes, and a harvest policy that reflects coastwide policy goals. The staff also drew on the outcome of both the September 2008 Biomass Apportionment Workshop and recent regional meetings with industry. Detailed results of these additional investigations will be reported in the 2008 Report of Assessment and Research Activities. Ongoing tag returns from the coastwide PIT tagging program continue to demonstrate that regulatory areas cannot be treated as closed management units. Changes in the stock biomass as indicated by our analytic assessment as well as changes in relative abundance indices from our surveys and the commercial fishery were also influential in our recommendations for 2009.

With the exceptions of Areas 2C, 4A, and 4D commercial catch per unit effort (CPUE) in 2008 decreased from 2007 values. The 2008 IPHC setline survey CPUE values increased in Areas 2B, 4A, 4B, and 4D but decreased in all other areas. These fluctuations were generally in the ±10% range.

The analysis of optimum harvest rates for the coastwide assessment conducted in 2006 resulted in a target harvest rate of 20% of coastwide exploitable biomass. The staff examined multiple alternatives, including industry suggestions, for apportioning the estimated coastwide exploitable biomass among regulatory areas and concluded that the use of the IPHC setline survey data offered the most standardized and consistent data with which to achieve this partitioning. However, the staff also recognized some regional differences in hook competition with other species and applied an adjustment to accommodate that feature. Accordingly, the distribution of biomass, as determined by the three-year average CPUE of legal-sized fish obtained on the stock assessment survey adjusted for hook competition, was used to partition the coastwide exploitable biomass estimate into regulatory area biomass totals. The staff also removed an adjustment that was applied in Area 2A for the 2008 apportionment following reanalysis of the depth distribution of survey data compared with bottom depth distribution. While the 20% harvest rate is appropriate for the majority of the stock, a harvest rate of 15% is indicated by the analysis of productivity for Areas 4B and 4CDE conducted in 2005, and a similar analysis for Area 4A conducted in 2008. Therefore, staff recommended Catch Limits for Area 4 use a 15% harvest rate. Fishery statistics and biological characteristics of halibut in Area 3B are also of some concern to staff and a detailed analysis of this area will be conducted in 2009.

Catch Limit Recommendations for 2009

The staff recommendations totaling 54.01 million pounds for 2009 are presented in the following table. The Area 2A recommendation includes all removals (commercial, treaty Tribes, and sport) allocated by the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Catch Sharing Plan. Area 4CDE is treated as a single regulatory unit by the Commission, although the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Catch Sharing Plan partitions the Commission catch limit into limits for the individual regulatory areas. The Area 2B catch limit recommendation includes totals for the commercial and sport fisheries. The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans will allocate the adopted catch limit between the sport and commercial fisheries. The catch limit recommendations are made with the assumption that both Canada and the U.S. will manage to their domestic targets for sport fish catch.

The use of a coastwide assessment and apportionment of coastwide biomass based on survey estimates of distribution creates some substantial changes in Total Constant Exploitation Yield (Total CEY) and recommended catch limits among areas, compared to previous assessments. Lower recommended catch limits are identified for Areas 2, 3A, 4A, and 4CDE while Areas 3B and 4B have somewhat higher recommended catch limits. These differences are associated with the different distribution of biomass associated with survey apportionment of a coastwide total biomass, compared with the previous biomass distribution estimated from closed-area assessments, as well as CPUE changes in both the survey and the commercial fishery. As noted in the 2007 stock assessment, the distribution of biomass based on survey estimates is more consistent with other estimates of biomass distribution that are independent of the stock assessment.

The staff continues to recommend a slow rate of increase in catch limits when estimated CEY is increasing and a more rapid reduction of catch limits when CEY is decreasing (a Slow Up – Fast Down policy). For Areas 2, 3A, 4A, and 4CDE the staff recommends catch limits that are lower by one-half of the difference between 2008 catch limits and the estimated fishery CEYs for 2009. For Areas 3B, and 4B, the staff recommends an increase over the 2008 catch limit equivalent to one-third of the difference between the 2008 catch limit and the estimated 2009 fishery CEY.

The staff recognizes that adoption of the coastwide assessment and survey apportionment results in a significant shift in the estimated distribution of exploitable biomass. This analysis concludes that exploitation rates on the eastern portion of the stock have been too high in the past decade, resulting in lower biomass in Area 2 than would be realized if harvest rates had been near the target level. In the longer term, a lowered harvest rate will permit rebuilding of the exploitable biomass in Area 2 and an increase in available yield. The pace of that rebuilding will be affected by the strength of year classes recruiting to the fishery over the next several years.

These recommendations, along with public and industry views on them, will be considered by IPHC Commissioners and their advisors at the IPHC Annual Meeting in Vancouver, BC Canada, during January 13-16, 2009. These recommendations are preliminary and, as final data are included in the assessment, may be updated for the Annual Meeting but are not expected to change significantly.

Proposals concerning changes to catch limits should be submitted to the Commission by December 31, 2008. Catch limit proposals are available on the Commission’s web page (http://www.iphc.washington.edu/halcom/default.htm) or from the Commission’s office. Additional details about the Annual Meeting can also be found on the web page


Leave a comment

Task Force Agenda’s

The Gillnet task force meeting is DEcember 1st at 8:30 am, Centennial Hall, Hickel room

Gillnet Agenda 2008

The Seine task force meeting is December 2nd 10:00 am, Centennial Hall, Hickel room

Seine Agenda 2008

Leave a comment

Organic Farmed Fish allowed to Use wild fishmeal

The USDA’s national organic standards board voted to adopt standards for organic farmed fish for the first time. They accepted the proposal of the aquaculture subcommittee, and will allow an organic designation for farmed fish with up to 25% of its feed from wild fishmeal, so long as the fishmeal comes from sustainable sources.

Leave a comment

Halibut One Fish Bag Limit Lawsuit Dismissed

The NMFS this fall withdrew the final rule for the one fish bag limit and then asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit as being moot since the rule had been proposed.  The charter fleet contested the dismissal, but the court granted the dismissal without prejudice. 

It is expected that very soon the new one fish proposed rule will be published as a proposed rule with a 30 day comment period.

Leave a comment

Sport Fish Guide Services Board

As many of you know, I have been on the State task force looking at ways to limit the charter fleet in State fisheries.  The task force started out looking at limited entry options but could not find a way to create a limited entry program under the constitutional amendment that the State of Alaska voters passed to allow for limited entry for the commercial fisheries.  The criteria for a program just can’t be made to fit a charter operation.  Instead the task force has moved to an occupational licensing program modeled after the big game guides services board.  The task force is meeting November 19th in Anchorage at Homewood Suites.  You can get information and post public comments on the ADFG web site.  http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/Guides/index.cfm/FA/issues.overview

 I have submitted the following comments to the task force.

Sport Fish Guide Services Board 11.08

Task Force Questionaire

Leave a comment

Sablefish Stock Assessment Out for Review

The sablefish stock assessment is out for review prior to the plan team meeting.  A quick glance at the assessment looks like the recommendations for sable fish for the 2009 catch limits will be reduced from 2008.



Leave a comment

Need Recipes

SEAFA is putting together a cookbook as a fundraiser and we need your recipes.  In particular we are looking for your favorite seafood, game or good boat galley receipes.  Please email the recipe to seafa@gci.net or mail to SEAFA, 9369 North Douglas Hwy, Juneau AK 99801

Leave a comment

SEAFA Can Now Offer Members Email addresses

We have now set it up so that you can get an email address through seafa.  The address would be your user name @seafa.org.  You can access the email through our webpage – bottom right hand side of the page, click on link called webmail to access the account.  If you are interested in one of these email account, please contact the SEAFA office and we will set one up for you. 

Leave a comment

Southeast Alaska Herring Stock ESA request for Information

In 2007, the Juneau Sierra Club petitioned for protection of the Lynn Canal herring under the Endangered Species Act.  In April 2008, NMFS announced that they were denying the petition on Lynn Canal herring as it was not a distinct population segement but that the Southeast stocks were a distinct population segment and it was warranted to assess this population.  NMFS is requesting information, data and comments pertinent to a risk assement as part of a status review of the Southeast Alaska population of Pacific herring.  Comments are due December 8,2008


Leave a comment

International Declaration Against Unsustainable Salmon Farming Being Sent to United Nations

Fish farm opposition – the gathering storm goes international
International Declaration Against Unsustainable Salmon Farming sent to United Nations

Norway. Chile, U.S., U.K. Canada
November 3, 2008
     International environmentalists, First Nations, scientists, tourism operators and
owners, fishermen/women met in Chile, Norway and Canada on the impact of salmon farms. Joined by people from Scotland, U.K and the U.S. they are sending the Declaration Against Unsustainable Salmon Farming to the United Nations reporting that industrial salmon farming is using the same ruinous tactics worldwide.
     Industrial net pen salmon farming originated in Norway then moved into Scotland, Ireland, Canada and is now spreading rapidly through Chile at huge ecological cost. Scientific studies show that wild salmon populations are crashing wherever there are salmon farms due to pathogen amplification and genetic pollution, but the damage runs much deeper. Participants signed the Declaration in united opposition to the current practices of industrial salmon farming, citing not only damage to wild salmon, but also labor law infractions in Chile, viral epidemics, impact on the indigenous Sami of Norway and First Nations in Canada, fouling of local food resources with drug and waste release as well as reduction of the global food supply – taking more wild fish than it produces.
     Anne Mosness, of the U.S. Go Wild Campaign says, “In Washington and Maine massive escapes, diseases and the possibility of genetically engineered fish and offshore farms pose huge risks to the viability of our oceans. We cannot ignore our obligation to future generations to keep our oceans alive.”
     The 1995 United Nations Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries states “As a primary goal, aquaculture development should conserve genetic diversity and minimize negative effects of farmed fish on wild fish populations, while increasing supplies of fish for human consumption.” “We declare each of these principles violated by today’s salmon farmers,” says Canadian biologist Alexandra Morton.
     While some would like to see salmon farms in closed tanks, Dr. Wolfram Heise, of Chile states “It is simply not possible to produce salmon in a sustainable way. You will never get it into ecological balance. There is no right way of doing the wrong thing! This industry plunders the wild fish stocks of the oceans and to destroy the coastal marine ecosystems which will need decades to recover, if ever.”
     The signatories have spent years working to protect their coastlines from salmon farming with little result and today come together in a global response to a global industry. They invite others to sign the Declaration Against Unsustainable Salmon Farming at www.ourglobalocean.org.

Alexandra Morton, Canada 250-973-2306, 250-974-7086 info@adopt-a-fry.org
Chief Bob Chamberlin, First Nations, Canada 250-974-8282 mooguy@Shaw.ca
Kurt Willy Oddekalv, Norway +47 90 89 22 68 kurt@nmf.no.
Anne Mosness, USA west coast 360-671-6478, cell 360-224-4100 Eatwildfish@aol.com
Don Staniford: USA +1 202 251 3997, don_staniford@yahoo.co.uk
Wolfram Heise, Chile +56-65-250079 wolframheise1@gmx.de
Bruce Sandison, Scotland 01847 611274, 0759 3187634 (mobile) bsandison@btinternet.com

 International Salmon Farming Declaration

Salmon Farming Declaration Press Release  (full press release – only partial provided in text)

Leave a comment

  • Archives