ACA President Richard Yamada attended the IPHC along with Mike Flores (representing the Homer Charter Association), Kevin Burchfield (Juneau Charter Association), Tom Ohaus (SEAGO) and Andy Mezirow (Seward Charter Association) to work on this year's halibut catch limits and regulations.
While the stock assessment was positive, Commissioners were cautious in setting limits. Even so, most areas received an increase over the "Blue Line" staff recommendations.
Commercial season dates are 3/19-11/7. The IPHC adopted an earlier closing date to make data available for the Interim Meeting in December 2016.
Area 3A was allowed a combined catch limit of 9.6 million pounds, and Area 2C received approval for 4.95 million pounds. Each was around 300,000 pounds above the Blue Line.
Area 2C will have a one-fish daily bag limit, with a reverse slot limit (under 43" or over 80"). This represents a 1-inch increase in the lower size limit.
Area 3A will have a two-fish daily bag limit, with a maximum size limit on the second fish of 28".
Each vessel is limited to one trip per calendar day.
Each permit is limited to one trip per vessel per calendar day.
4-fish annual limit.
Record in ink, date, area, #halibut, on State license or on duplicate license if necessary.
Halibut with IPHC external tags will be exempt from sport and personal use bag limits, seasons, size and possession limits.
On the commercial side, the IPHC considered lowering the size limit in areas 3B-west to 30 inches. (70% of the fish in these areas are undersized). The motion failed with Canadians opposed and the US supporting for a tie vote.
Dates for this year's meeting were set for the 2016 Interim Meeting (November 29-30th in Seattle, WA) and for the 2017 Annual Meeting (January 23-27 in Victoria, B.C.). The 2018 Annual Meeting will be on January 22-26 in Portland, OR.