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Thread: Halibut Stocks In Cook Inlet

  1. #1
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    Default Halibut Stocks In Cook Inlet

    Maybe someone out there can answer a question about the conservation of halibut stocks in Cook Inlet. I have often wondered why the Inlet charter associations and derby sponsers have ALWAYS based there derbys on the size of the fish. Given the fact that each time you catch and remove a halibut over 100 lbs, there's a good chance you are killing the female brood stock for future generations. - it seems counter productive. I would suggest the charter associations step up to the plate and start tagging and/or microchiping several hundred fish a year and base there awards on that system. This data would give the biologists a valuable tool about the health and movement of the stocks. I know there is a system being used in other parts of the country where fish are tagged and the data is entered on the internet about the size, tagging location Etc. Anyone that catches that fish can also enter the the same data. Anyone that's fished Cook Inlet and seen the catches coming in knows that the number of fish being landed each year over 100 pounds has significantly dropped in the last ten years. After all if your stocking the freezer a 40-60 pound fish is better in my opionion anyway. Maybe a slot limit to protect the brood stocks needs to be started?

    Places close to shore where you used to be able to catch large halibut, no longer have the average sizes they used to. If you drive thru Nilnilchik and see the charter catches hanging on the racks, you are not seeing anywhere near the number of 100 pound fish you seen 10-12 years ago.
    If they don't do something soon - it will be like the king crab that used to be caught from the old docks in Homer in the 70s- GONE

  2. #2
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default It's all about "hogs"

    As long as the charter folks and the chambers glorify catching those big muthas, they are effectively poisoning their own pot, and ours along with it.

    The ONLY reason to target and keep a big halibut is the bragging rights and hope that it might be a derby winner. They don't eat well, and my guess is, after eating half a dozen dry/grainy/wormy halibut dinners, much of it gets pitched. What a shame.

    If they are going to target the big girls, they should practice some sort of catch and release if they are going to maintain this fishery.

    I will continue to fill my freezer with the boys in the 20-40 lb. range as long as I am allowed because they are tasty and still fun to catch. Hope the chambers and the fish pimps don't ruin it for everyone in their pursuit of the temporary buck.

  3. #3
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    Its all about making a buck! I will not keep a fish over 45lbs. i will also not enter the halibut contest. You are right it is foolish to kill all your really good breeding females. I just hope we stop before its to late

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Default

    Back in the early 80's (81-83) before I left to go to college the butt fishing was great. No tractors at the time. After the king fishig closed at deep creek the campground was empty. I used to take my zodiac off the beach. head out about 15 minutes toward augustine and stop inline with the tower. 80 feet of water there. We used to pull put consistant 40-50lb fish every weekend. Dang to be 16 again
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Default

    Yup, I'm with alaskachuck...'bout the same age, too. I remember the zodiac days off deep creek as well. Crazy. In K-bay, all you had to do was run off Seldovia and you were pretty much guaranteed a limit of decent fish. Same spot now you're lucky to catch any, it seems. You've gotta run half way to Kodiak now. Even Flat Island area is getting fished out, and that used to be where the charters went. Now they just keep going for another hour or two before they stop and wet a line.

    As much as I hate the thought of reducing the limit on halibut, it does seem like some intelligent restrictions on keepers are in order. I think we need a slot limit for 'but, too. Fisherman will be happy, locals should be happy (most folks I know like the small-medium chickens cause they taste better). Tourism might take a hit, might not. Halibut are going away like the crab and shrimp did when we over-fished them. We ought to learn from our mistakes and keep the same thing from repeating over and over.

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    Member Mel Roe's Avatar
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    Default Big halibut =more money

    The charter boats seem to be the big target of this line of thinking but what many people don't realize or think about is what a longliner catches. They put out thousands of hooks per boat and the cannery's pay more money for big fish. One good sized longliner puts out more hooks in a day than the entire charter fleet, multiply that by the number of longliners and the few big fish that are caught by charter boats seems pretty insignificant. If you are in doubt take a trip to the cannery when they are off loading halibut from the longliners and see what is coming off those boats. The by-catch from the commercial fishing sector is double what is caught by the entire sport fishing sector and that number is based only on fish 32" and over. Halibut are a federally managed fish that belong to the people of the United States, however 90% of the total allowable catch goes to the commercial sector. Should the people of this country who want to catch their halibut on a rod and reel be restricted to one fish while the commercial sector is allowed to catch 90% ? Halibut is a totally renewable resource if managed properly but there is little to no representation on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council for sport fish. Here is a link to the International Pacific Halibut Commision's web page, you can take a look there for the statistics on both sport and commercial fisheries.

  7. #7

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    I won't keep a halibut over 60 pounds. I target halibut for food and the enjoyment of catching a fish; I get no joy from having the biggest hog at the dock. I agree with Akfishnut, promoting the catching of the big breeders seems counterproductive to the future of the stock.

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    Member Mel Roe's Avatar
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    Default perspective

    I forgot to mention that I also do not personally keep the bigger fish as I prefer the 40-60 pounders but I do not begrudge the person who catches their fish of a lifetime. To some it is a great trophy just as a full curl ram or 60" plus bull moose is to others. Take care

  9. #9

    Default

    To me a comparison would be to open season to cow moose. A great way to kill off the population.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  10. #10

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    How many eggs does a large halibut lay compared to a small halibut?

  11. #11

    Default Few thosand to few million

    Quote Originally Posted by skydiver View Post
    How many eggs does a large halibut lay compared to a small halibut?
    Here's the F&G take on it: http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/statewide/halibut/
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  12. #12

    Red face I mean a few million to a few thousand (kept relative)

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug from Anchorage View Post
    Had it backwards. Sorry.
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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Roe View Post
    The charter boats seem to be the big target of this line of thinking but what many people don't realize or think about is what a longliner catches. They put out thousands of hooks per boat and the cannery's pay more money for big fish. One good sized longliner puts out more hooks in a day than the entire charter fleet, multiply that by the number of longliners and the few big fish that are caught by charter boats seems pretty insignificant. If you are in doubt take a trip to the cannery when they are off loading halibut from the longliners and see what is coming off those boats. The by-catch from the commercial fishing sector is double what is caught by the entire sport fishing sector and that number is based only on fish 32" and over. Halibut are a federally managed fish that belong to the people of the United States, however 90% of the total allowable catch goes to the commercial sector. Should the people of this country who want to catch their halibut on a rod and reel be restricted to one fish while the commercial sector is allowed to catch 90% ? Halibut is a totally renewable resource if managed properly but there is little to no representation on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council for sport fish. Here is a link to the International Pacific Halibut Commision's web page, you can take a look there for the statistics on both sport and commercial fisheries.
    All true. The commfish fleet can decimate a population faster then sport fishing ever could. Unfortunately, the IPHC pretty much caters to them. I had a longliner dropping gear by Flat Island, getting ticked at the sport boats for being in his way and basically bullying everyone to move by sidling right up next to and in between boats even though we were there first. Acted like he owned that piece of water or something.

    All blame aside, thouogh, the sport fisherman could take the lead by voluntarily imposing reasonable size/catch standards. I don't think it's fair to tell everyone they can't keep a 2-300 lb fish if they catch one...but maybe there could be a halibut stamp or something only allowing 1 per year over a certain weight or length.

  14. #14
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Answer

    Quote Originally Posted by skydiver View Post
    How many eggs does a large halibut lay compared to a small halibut?
    The large halibut lay the eggs. A halibut has to be in the upper 50" range to be mature enough to reproduce. The little guys just dream about being able to spawm some day.

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  15. #15

    Default All so very true, Halibut Report too

    In the 70's Halibut fishing was super out of Homer, charter was $60. Did the Zod's off deep creek when there was a boat ramp.
    Funny thing about Derbys, Homer has a catch and release prize, in May (I think it was) only one person turned a fish in and won.
    I don't keep fish over say 50 pounds, did thato once, ate the whole 155# fish but it was not near as good.
    I beleive the statment is very true, Wasted Fish, I hear of folks dip netting one year and the next year, dumping it so they can filler up again. Pure dumb!
    Rock fish can be easy to wipe out also, a 24" Yellow Eye is a very old fish, most rock fish don't reproduce fast either.

    For sure I'd vote, and it has been brought up at F&G board meeting about size limits. But fought tooth and nail but the charter folks.
    Maybe a line should be added here and hunting showing the dates of board meeting, with public input allowed. Was on the board as a intern, biggest joke some meetings ever. More people knew about maybe more would go, One small line in the ADN is hard to find!
    Last edited by alaskapiranha; 11-29-2008 at 12:56.

  16. #16
    Sponsor offshore's Avatar
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    Default more fish talk

    I think in most cases, you have to go farther for the same fishing 20 years ago. First of all there is simply more pressure. Recreational guys have fast four strokers, and secrets leak out and spots get hammered. This forum is a perfect example. Guy finds good spot, tells everyone (or they steal the spot via gps), and two years later the fish are much smaller or gone. I've seen this repeated over and over. One problem most fishermen (sport, charter, commercial) have is that they are too proud of themselves to keep their mouths shut. The bottom line is that to consistently find good halibut fishing, you need to go where no one else is.

    Another issue, at least where I fish, is that since IFQs in 1995 commercial effort seems to have concentrated. Instead of a hundred boats fishing a hundred different spots for a couple of weeks, you have a few boats making lots of trips almost all year long, fishing lots of leased quota in the same spots.

    Last but certainly not least, another factor to keep in the forefront of this conversation is that halibut are not growing nearly as fast as they used to. I don't have numbers off the top of my head, but growth rates are considerably lower than 20 years ago... The ocean is changing.

  17. #17
    Member captaindd's Avatar
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    Default Derby Fish

    From 1999 thru 2001 the Valdez Derby's fished for a weekly targeted weight fish. They would pick a weight from a jar for each weekly. Weights where from 10 pounds to 100 pounds. At the end of the season the over all winner was drawn from out of the group of weekly winners. This program was dropped because it did not save any big Halibut. The department of fish and game said we where wasting our time. In order for any program to work all parties must be involved. The IFQ program is slowly reducing the size of halibut that are being caught. Larger halibut are worth more money.

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    Member BigBrown767's Avatar
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    Default Exactly!

    Quote Originally Posted by wildog View Post
    To me a comparison would be to open season to cow moose. A great way to kill off the population.
    Anybody ever told you that you had an eye for the obvious, I don't think it could have been stated any better.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Before everyone dumps blame on the com guys

    ... it might be worth remembering that, for the most part, these guys fish their IFQs well beyond where the recreational and charter guys go. They may be cleaning up, but they're not cleaning up the inshore fish.

  20. #20
    Sponsor offshore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    ... it might be worth remembering that, for the most part, these guys fish their IFQs well beyond where the recreational and charter guys go. They may be cleaning up, but they're not cleaning up the inshore fish.

    Just FYI, there are commercial boats fishing almost constantly where I fish. At times they displace charter boats. Charters are having to go much, much farther out for the same fishing as years ago while commercial boats pick away at the closer spots. Not trying to put down all commercials, but most of the time most of the effort where we fish is from commercial boats. I'm sure captdd can confirm this.

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