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Thread: 2012 Halibut Charter Catch

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    Default 2012 Halibut Charter Catch

    Subject: 2.35 mil projected catch for 2012



    I have taken a first crack at charter harvest projections for 2012. We're still using logbook data to make a projection of what the mail survey estimate will be, but using a better projection method that takes into account the variation in the relationship between those two data sources. For now, it appears the Area 2C charter harvest for 2012 was around 627,000 lb, with about 43,000 fish harvested and an average weight of about 14.6 lb. The Area 3A charter harvest projection was about 2.35 M lb, with about 177,000 fish harvested at an average weight of 13.3 lb. Average weight was down from 2011 in all subareas of 3A except Prince William Sound. The overall average weight for 3A was about 13.3 lb, compared with 15.2 lb last year. I do not yet have estimates of release mortality, and we're still looking at the size class information we obtained for released fish in Area 2C. Scott




  2. #2

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    Thanks for posting it. I hope they tighten up the slot a bit for 2c, considering we weren't even close to our GHL. (again) It's be good to have a O48/U65 slot next year. Bet we still don't crack 900k.

    Interesting to see the average weight rising in 2c, yet declining in 3a.

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    I don't see where he said average wt was rising for 2C? In fact it said that all subareas except PWS saw a decline in average wt. I could be wrong, but am curious what you saw.

    Also while it's cool to see how much catch is projected...what's the point? I'm not trying to provoke a response but am wondering. I would be really curious about one thing you mentioned Capt....how is any information on release mortality collected?

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    Akbownsfan,

    The average weight was a little over 9lbs for 2c in 2011. A bit misleading as we were under a 37" max sized limit. You'll see that it said "Average weight was down from 2011 in all subareas of 3A except Prince William Sound." So, 2c is rising, but 3a is decreasing.

    In 2010, the average size was 26ish pounds for 2c, with a 1 fish any size limit. But that doesn't tell the whole story either, as Glacier Bay really throws off the averages for the rest of 2c, with a 47lb average. (probably the highest in AK. they have a ton of big fish up there, and eat up GHL in a hurry) Petersburg and Sitka also had a high average.

    2c is very big and has some interesting dynamics. Info here:

    http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/...nalysis312.pdf

    Information on release mortality is collected via logbooks. NOAA was "raiding" docks this year to make sure the charter guys were recording all halibut.

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    Thanks 270ti. I missed two key words there ("of 3A") and thought he said all subareas as in areas. Me being stupid and reading to fast.

    I don't see the differences from year to year not matching up with what I've read in the stock assesment. there are a lot of small fish out there right now. That is a fact. So while the average weight is down now, I have no doubt we will see it rise as the predominant year class starts to move through the fishery. Now the stock assesment could be wrong..........I really don't know......but it seems sound to me, and follows a historic sampling method. While the migration thing is sure throwing a monkey wrench in things, and new ways to model the biomass seem to be improving..........I'm hopeful the overall facts are correct. As far as year class distribution it seems like it should be. I'm not an expert though. I've only read the document.

    On the release mortality that is interesting. How is it recorded in the logbooks? How would anyone know the information is factual? (not that people shouldn't trust you, but no one shoule be trusted.......verify whenever possible. )

    I thought there were IPHC estimates for charter release and overall sport release but they weren't that good, and so used a fairly high mortality rates when extrapulating it? I will try to find that as I read it in a link in one of these threads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akbrownsfan View Post
    On the release mortality that is interesting. How is it recorded in the logbooks? How would anyone know the information is factual? (not that people shouldn't trust you, but no one shoule be trusted.......verify whenever possible. )
    Logbook is fairly simple, except in the middle of the season when you are dead tired. Other than the normal stuff, (area fished, hours fished, CHP number, guide license number, etc) Clients name, clients signature, and clients fishing license number. Then all the species.. A "kept" box, and a "released" box for most species. Charter operators pretty much have nothing to gain from lying, and a whole lot of money, loss of reputation, and a lot of hassle if they lie on their logbooks. So, we don't do it. As I said, NOAA LE likes to pop up on docks, and go through logbooks, talk to captains, fish cutters, clients, etc. They can pull clients aside and ask "how many halibut did you release".. and it better match up to what's in your logbook. Now they they have the CHP, captain's are very careful how they deal with halibut. Lose that, and you are out of business.

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    thanks 270ti, to be clear I was not trying to say you or any charter operator would lie. However I'd still say industry reported figures are barely better than anactodal as who trusts a sector to self report? Industry provided data is useful, and great but could/should be vetted. Would you trust draggers to do so? If the trawl fishery was managed soley by their logbooks and say interviewing crewmembers? They'd likely say much as you have above if asked before NMFS simply pre-opted that by putting observers on boats. It's not about what anyone THINKS in regards to fish it's what you KNOW. And the less that is known the more conservative any management has to be. So if the logbooks are that closely gone over then maybe I'll revise my opinion. If it could be vetted by an independent person/EM from dock to dock by some means that would really change my mind on it.

    I also wondered when I asked if there was actually a mortality rate of released fish. Not just how many are released but of those how many die? the charter fleet currently is kind of operating under a high mortality as there simply isn't enough "known" to give less conservative ones from what I understand. I know other sectors have a better grasp on release mortality and how they handle those fish is taken into account in allocation. So I was hoping that somehow there could be some good data on charter release and the mortality rates could better match reality. It could allow for more harvest.

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    The way I look at it, is that every charter has 4-6 observers on board. (clients) All LE has to do is ask them, and 99% of them would sell the charter out if they were committing any crime. Us Captains know that. Most of the outlaw captains were weeded out in the last economic downturn. The strong survived, but that's about it.

    You can't really compare that to a Commercial Vessel with a paid crew, as far as self reporting goes.

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    With the charter catch around a half million pounds under the GHL, there's no reason why they should have to take any cuts.

    The comm fish benefited hugely from 95 until 5 years ago when they had to start reducing their catch. remember they started at 36 million pounds, went up to 70 million pounds then started reducing their IFQ.

    When their IFQ was being raised every year you never heard the comm guys say, hey the charter guys should expand and catch more Halibut, now thats its declining they want to steal sport fish Halibut. Greedy b******s.

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    In an email I received, for options floating for 2c for next year. Not sure if they'll be accepted, but my clients would be very very happy with either of them. Limits of salmon, rockfish, ling, yelloweye, AND a very nice sized halibut.

    Representatives from Area 2C have asked ADF&G to analyze two different options. The first option is a liberalized reverse slot-limit, with the liberalization applied only to the lower- end of the slot (current is U45/O68, suggested may be U50/068). The other option the sector is interested in investigating is the possibility of a "trophy" option which would be the combination of daily bag/size limits and an annual "trophy fish" (one fish annually of any size). What the second option would look like in practice would be that if a client were to book a 3 day charter, one fish could be of any size and the other two would fall under a maximum size limit.

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    TS, with natural populations the biomass will go up and down over time. If you tie quotas to biomass then it will go up and down. I don't personally think management should only happen in times of low abundance as you see to imply.

    270ti, those are interesting.

    On the liberalized lower limits.....I'd be ok with that I think. The overall quota would be the same. I wonder if it would make any enforcement more difficult though. Also since most fish are small right now, and the largest part of the biomass it seems to work towards some conservation. However if you harvest them while little prior to breeding it will have a negative outcome on a fishery over time.

    The trophy, again seems like it would complicate enforcement maybe. It would also likely remove good breeders. I am not sure how bad this one would impact the biomass, and might not really.

    The 3 day idea seems to me to favor traveling tourists over Alaskans. While that is not really a legal issue (I think)_ as an Alaskan I don't like it. Who but a tourist on a trip of a lifetime goes on three day charters? However given the reality in the SE of that the vast majority of clients are tourists it might not change anything much, beyond helping charters make more money. I like that part, but again seems to be something normal folks wouldn't benefit from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TS View Post
    With the charter catch around a half million pounds under the GHL, there's no reason why they should have to take any cuts.

    The comm fish benefited hugely from 95 until 5 years ago when they had to start reducing their catch. remember they started at 36 million pounds, went up to 70 million pounds then started reducing their IFQ.

    When their IFQ was being raised every year you never heard the comm guys say, hey the charter guys should expand and catch more Halibut, now thats its declining they want to steal sport fish Halibut. Greedy b******s.
    You are correct when the IFQ's were going up, the charter sector was not allowed to expand to a three fish limit but as the shares have gone down the longliners have given back those fish as abundance went down. Under the catch sharing plan, the charter sector's allocation grows as abundance goes up and there is nothing in regulation that in the event of a significant increase in abundance that the limit can't go up too.

    Without all the information, calling one sector greedy !@$#$@#'s only w=makes the situation worse for coastal communities.

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    The strangest thing I see in all of this is that the comm fish have convinced some of the charter guys that we need to take cuts. If our GHL would have doubled at the same time the IFQ doubled then I would say yep we need to cut also. Yeh I know all the history it never has been equitable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TS View Post
    The strangest thing I see in all of this is that the comm fish have convinced some of the charter guys that we need to take cuts. If our GHL would have doubled at the same time the IFQ doubled then I would say yep we need to cut also. Yeh I know all the history it never has been equitable.
    Actually we do not need to take cuts. We are still at two fish and will be in 2013.

    Here are the facts to consider moving forward though:

    The sport fishery for Pacific halibut has undergone substantial change over the last several decades. Sport fishing regulations were not established until 1973. In 1975, the statewide sport harvest of halibut was estimated to be about 10,000 fish and there were few charter boats. By 2007, the sport harvest had grown to over 580,000 fish, with about 60 percent of the harvest taken by anglers fishing on charter boats.

    Even of the GHL had doubled it wouldn't have mattered in 3A we almost never exceeded the allocation. It provided us enough fish for the last decade. In the last five years halibut biomass in the Gulf has dropped and the Fishery CEY has been cut by 65%, so it wouldn't surprise me if the time comes when we do need to take a cut in the name of conservation.

    The arguments that resonated from the charter sector in the past did not take into account the information that IPHC provided last year and that is the game changer:

    "The Commission has expressed concern over continued declining catch rates in several areas and has taken aggressive action to reduce harvests. In addition, the staff has noted a continuing problem of reductions in previous estimates of biomass as additional data are obtained, which has the effect of increasing the realized historical harvest rates on the stock. Commission scientists will be conducting additional research on this matter in 2012. For 2012, the Commission approved a 21.5% harvest rate for use in Areas 2A through 3A and a 16.1% harvest rate for Areas 3B through 4."

    Translation, their modeling was flawed and there are serious problems with halibut stocks. Everyone will need to be ready to take reductions in the future. That is simply the facts right now. I have not been convinced by the commercial sector about anything. I have read all the information and sat through countless hours of analysis and presentations that lead me to realize that we may all need to be prepared to take reductions to keep the halibut stocks healthy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akbrownsfan View Post
    TS, with natural populations the biomass will go up and down over time. If you tie quotas to biomass then it will go up and down. I don't personally think management should only happen in times of low abundance as you see to imply.

    270ti, those are interesting.

    On the liberalized lower limits.....I'd be ok with that I think. The overall quota would be the same. I wonder if it would make any enforcement more difficult though. Also since most fish are small right now, and the largest part of the biomass it seems to work towards some conservation. However if you harvest them while little prior to breeding it will have a negative outcome on a fishery over time.

    The trophy, again seems like it would complicate enforcement maybe. It would also likely remove good breeders. I am not sure how bad this one would impact the biomass, and might not really.

    The 3 day idea seems to me to favor traveling tourists over Alaskans. While that is not really a legal issue (I think)_ as an Alaskan I don't like it. Who but a tourist on a trip of a lifetime goes on three day charters? However given the reality in the SE of that the vast majority of clients are tourists it might not change anything much, beyond helping charters make more money. I like that part, but again seems to be something normal folks wouldn't benefit from.
    I honestly don't like the 1 any size proposal. Enforcement nightmare. I do really like the U50/O68. Those 60-160lb halibut still get let go and no charter operator should ever be having a halibut in that size range hitting the docks. The nice thing about the 50" halibut is that you can lift them aboard for a quick measure and unhooking and get them back in the water unhurt if using the right gear. I did it all the time last summer, and it was much easier on the fish, IMO than shaking with a gaff or leaving the hook in the fish. Never had one get away from me and thrash around on the deck as you have a few minutes where they are calm before they go nuts.

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    Here is some addittional info.
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