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Thread: How do you manage halibut...

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    Default How do you manage halibut...

    ...when the biology presented to managers is badly flawed? There is an interesting article today in ADN. The biological information the IPHC is basing its information upon is badly flawed, according to the biologists supplying the information, and the halibut bycatch level of 2011 may have been nearly 3 times what is sustainable. http://www.adn.com/2011/12/01/219807...#disqus_thread

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    I'm not sure where you are getting bycatch out of that article.

    15.3 million pounds for total catch. Lets talk about it. How do we allocate 15.3 Million pounds TOTAL?

    That includes Longliners, Bycatch, Charters, Sport, and subsistence. That is ALL of Alaska.

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    At least they're recognizing that their previous data was flawed. Can't change the past, but I commend them for putting out more accurate information once they found out they were previously wrong.

    I don't envy those who are going to have to make allocation decisions in the next few years. Tough gig, no doubt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    At least they're recognizing that their previous data was flawed. Can't change the past, but I commend them for putting out more accurate information once they found out they were previously wrong.

    I don't envy those who are going to have to make allocation decisions in the next few years. Tough gig, no doubt.
    I'm still trying to figure out what biological information was flawed? Anyone? I understand they recognize an issue exists, but I'm not sure the biologists know what was flawed?

    "Biologists do no know whey their estimates have been consistently too high." - ADN

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    I'm not sure where you are getting bycatch out of that article.

    15.3 million pounds for total catch. Lets talk about it. How do we allocate 15.3 Million pounds TOTAL?

    That includes Longliners, Bycatch, Charters, Sport, and subsistence. That is ALL of Alaska.
    You're right. Paints a grim picture for halibut fishing, and collateral fisheries that catch halibut, if the total biomass harvest of all users has to be cut by nearly 2/3 to be sustainable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grampyfishes View Post
    I'm still trying to figure out what biological information was flawed? Anyone? I understand they recognize an issue exists, but I'm not sure the biologists know what was flawed?

    "Biologists do no know whey their estimates have been consistently too high." - ADN
    They're admitting data is flawed. They aren't sure what data is flawed. That's how I read it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    You're right. Paints a grim picture for halibut fishing, and collateral fisheries that catch halibut, if the total biomass harvest of all users has to be cut by nearly 2/3 to be sustainable.



    It'll be interesting, once more facts come out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    They're admitting data is flawed. They aren't sure what data is flawed. That's how I read it.
    That's not how I read it.

    "Biologists do not know whey their estimates have been consistently too high." - ADN

    Any number of reasons could exist for the high estimates...foreign interception, a lack of funding research, unknown illegal activity, ocean conditions, unknown migration patterns, etc.

    So before you spin this article into something it is not, please show exactly where it says the biological data was flawed.

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    Grampy- estimates come from the model that is used. if the estimates of sustainable harvest are acknowledged to have been wildly overblown, then the model was wildly inaccurate, due to inaccurate, or omitted, data. omitting data would make the model inaccurate, and the model is the synthesis of all the biological data.

    I am not surprised that the sustainable harvest estimates have tended to be too high. Erring on the side of conservation seems prudent, but rarely has this been the norm.

    I believe most models do not take into account the fact that some fish populations/species face substantial harvests year after year, while others do not. It doesn't take much deduction to conclude that this sort of management will substantially shift biomass to non-harvested species over time (all other factors equal). maximizing the sustainable harvest will tend to produce overharvests...because there is a lot of economic/political pressure to MAXimize the sustainable harvest, which would involve models that put more faith on data that suggest higher populations, recruitment, etc, and less faith on data that suggest lower productivity.

    do the halibut models account for non-harvested competitors in any way, shape, or form?

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    I don't think we should get in a habit of playing connect-the-dots and jumping to conclusions.

    Nothing in that article implies the model was inaccurate or that data was ommitted.

    For example, Biologists are just learning that although the number of halibut are increasing, the size of them are getting smaller and smaller. So it takes more halibut to make up the same pounds of harvest. This means more female spawners (now smaller) are taken. Biologists are also just learning how migrations and area-specific interception of those migrations might affect the stock. The life cycle of the halibut is not yet completely understood, particularly with regard to fishery impact.

    Those are all things like that could've caused over-estimations. That doesn't mean the data was flawed...the best data available at the time was used. If anything, it shows a learning process. Managers and Biologists don't have the luxury of a crystal ball. They do have the ability to make adjustments when necessary, which is what they are doing to sustain the stock. That's a good thing.

    If flawed data and models were the cause, Biologists could pinpoint why their estimates were too high...

    "Biologists do not know whey their estimates have been consistently too high." - ADN

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    what???? think a little harder. Just because the best available data were used....and this all depends on what values you use to define "best" DOES NOT somehow imply an absence of flaws.

    Quite the opposite of what you are saying is true. an absence of flaws in a model would produce accurate forecasts. Most important with a model, is knowing its LIMITATIONS. Just because a model suggest that you can harvest up to X fish sustainably, does not mean that's the case. If a model produces inaccurate results, it is quite a process to refine the model to improve its correlation w/ emperical (actual) results.


    Think critically for a moment about the NPFMC...and think about whether the political pressures are on long-term conservation and the precautionary principle, or shorter-term maximum "sustainable" harvests.

    sustainable in quotes b/c apparently there has been a bit of over optimism.

    Seems fairly clear that the model missed a few components in the system. And it is no surprise that the model missed with HIGHER projections for sustainable harvest levels, as opposed to LOWER, more conservative projections.

    A lot easier to increase harvests, rather than decrease them....

    it won't be the "Big Fish" who take it on the nose in this allocation....we've already seen that begin to transpire.

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    So now could this be a move to put charters out for good?

    The charters they did this to the halibut fishery! Shut them down will be the cry.

    The data was the best it could be! Not!

    The biologists are doing a great job! Woops, no now they are, well soon they will maybe? They are learning so it's ok!

    The data was just as good as who was paying for it! Just remember, if it walks like a duck, flys like a duck, sounds like a duck, it might be a duck!

    The dollar beat out sound management!

    On a good note IFQ's sould sell at about 99 dollars. Same as a charter permit

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    With most of the guided anglers fish under 32", there catch should not be an issue. The U32 biomass is huge. I fished in Cook Inlet this year and had to move away from fish. There were halibut at the surface literally chasing the boat. More fish than any time in my 30 years of charter fishing out of Homer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flatfish View Post
    With most of the guided anglers fish under 32", there catch should not be an issue. The U32 biomass is huge. I fished in Cook Inlet this year and had to move away from fish. There were halibut at the surface literally chasing the boat. More fish than any time in my 30 years of charter fishing out of Homer.
    You point to your individual anecdotal observation of lots of halibut while fishing, as empirical evidence that "the U32 biomass is huge"? If that was the kind of "scientific" input being used in the prediction model, there would be no wonder the predictions were consistently erroneously high. Come on.
    He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. ~Thomas Jefferson

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    I have not got into this in detail but I understand that there are two models. Scientists are not all in agreement which one is best. However, given this situation the precautionary principle should apply and thus the more conservative model should be used until it is sorted out. This will have huge short term economic impacts. However, if over harvest is real then the long term economic costs will far exceed the short term costs. Tough situation but trying to figure out marine fisheries is just tough. Not the fault of anyone it is just hard to understand all the variables.

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    Here is a link to the staff presentations that were shown the other day and the IPHC news release
    http://www.iphc.int/meetings-and-events.html

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    iofthetaiga...

    It is not just flatfishes observations and conclusions that the U32 biomass is high, but nearly every charter guide in cook inlet will tell you lot's of fish probably more than ever, just smaller than ever. If you really question commercial guys with the right questions you will even get them to admit this same fact. I know a couple commercial longliners that fish cook inlet that admitted this, but do you think they will admit and testify to the IPHC to this fact? Heck no. They will just say it's 10 times harder to catch fish now than 20 years ago before there was all the charter boats and private anglers, which is what one of them told me at first before I started questioning him further. The real reason why it is harder is not due to charters and private anglers, but the fact that spots they used to fish in middle of cook inlet where there was a good ratio of O32 fish to U32 fish is now horrible with almost all U32 fish to little O32 fish, which makes it unfishable for them. Now they all have to fish down in the southern Inlet almost to the Gulf of AK where the ratio is better, but slower fishing.

    Seems fishy that the biologists are presenting this data right when the IPHC is trying to force the new CSP upon central Gulf fishermen. I'm not sold on the accuracy of this new data. Presenting this data is at this time is almost going to assure that charter guided anglers will be reduced to one fish. Something just doesn't seem right about the timing this new data is coming out.

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    33outdoorsman, I think you have it right, it's just a to justifying cutting charters out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    This will have huge short term economic impacts.
    Agreed. 5 million pounds for 3a will hurt everybody. Hard to even imagine what is on the horizon for all commercial, charter, sport, and subsistence fishermen.

    Fullbush.. I hope you didn't invest in that charter halibut permit!

    I don't see this as a conspiracy theory to wipe out charters. Believe me, this is the last thing anybody wants, including the comm fish fleet.

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    A blind man could have seen that the stocks were being overfished, the managers were told time and again about the drastic decline,they opted to go for the short term profits, the fox was watching the hen house.

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