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Thread: Commercial Butt allotment down but prices up

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    Default Commercial Butt allotment down but prices up


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    This is a very interesting article.

    For example:
    "The fish are growing so slowly that the scientists are asking the halibut commission to consider a management strategy to reduce catches even further, given the current biological situation."

    Read more: http://www.adn.com/2010/12/04/158799...#ixzz17TF93CE4
    Why are the fish growing so slowly? Did the "scientists" screw up in the past and did they assume the fish reached maturity faster than they actually were?

    And..

    Sackton cautioned that total removals of sport and commercially caught halibut have been running 9 to 14 percent per year above recommended levels.

    Read more: http://www.adn.com/2010/12/04/158799...#ixzz17TFjYARj
    9-14%? How did they let that happen? That is nuts. And don't try to blame the charter fleet on that one!

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    The charter fleet played a part in the catch w/o a doubt. Do you doubt that somehow? As to your last question........why don't you go read the documents yourself? The changes can be attributed to a wacky thing called science. It's a crazy thing that you seek to improve over time. I included the stuff below from the IPHC website in case folks don't know how the internet works. It's a good read.



    IPHC Staff Preliminary Catch Limit Recommendations: 2011 Thursday, 02 December 2010 14:53 In making catch limit recommendations for 2011, staff has considered the results of the 2010 stock assessment, changes in the commercial and survey indices used to monitor the stock, and a harvest policy that reflects coastwide policy goals.
    Coastwide commercial fishery weight per unit effort (WPUE) decreased by approximately 6% in 2010 from 2009 values, primarily due to declines ranging from 6-24% in the central and western portions of the stock (Areas 3A to 4). In contrast, commercial WPUE increased substantially in Areas 2A and 2B, and modestly in Area 2C. However, the 2010 IPHC stock assessment survey WPUE values increased only in Areas 2A (109%) and 2B (3%) while decreasing from 5-36% in Areas 2C to 4. The coastwide survey index of abundance declined by approximately 15% from 2009 to 2010.
    The staff conducted several analyses in 2010 that have been incorporated into the staff’s catch limit recommendations. These included the addition of new Bering Sea survey data into estimation of exploitable biomass, and a statistical analysis resulting in an improved averaging procedure for the survey WPUE data used in apportioning the coastwide biomass estimate into regulatory area biomass estimates. At the request of the Commission, the staff also developed a procedure to directly deduct removals of halibut between 26-32 inches from available yield, in the area of occurrence.
    The staff and the Commission have also been concerned that the Commission’s Slow Up – Fast Down (SUFD) harvest policy adjustments have not achieved target harvest rate goals in the face of continued stock declines, decreases in halibut growth rate, and the history of high exploitation rates for some areas in recent years. The staff therefore recommends that the SUFD policy be modified to a Slow Up – Full Down (SUFullD) policy, to achieve the necessary reductions in harvest rate and promote increases in exploitable biomass. That is, staff recommendations would incorporate the existing policy of a 33% increase from previous year’s catch limits when stock yields are projected to increase but use a 100% decrease in recommended catch, when stock yields are projected to decrease.

    Catch Limit Recommendations for 2011

    The 2010 stock assessment resulted in a coastwide estimate for the 2011 Fishery Constant Exploitation Yield (FCEY) of 41.89 Mlb, a decline of approximately 6% from the 2010 value of 44.40 Mlb. While FCEY values increased in Areas 2A and 2B, these increases were offset by decreased values for Areas 2C and 3. The 2011 FCEY values for the combined subareas of Area 4 remained largely unchanged. For 2011, the staff has evaluated potential adjustments to the apportionment procedure for the coastwide exploitable biomass. Of the adjustments considered, the staff recommends continued use of the hook competition and survey timing factors. In addition, analysis supports the use of reverse-weighted average survey WPUE as the most appropriate averaging method, which places much higher emphasis on the most recent year’s survey WPUE than on those of previous years. For all areas, direct deductions for all bycatch and wastage mortality between 26-32 inches are made in the area of occurrence to determine the FCEY. Previously, the deductions for this mortality were included in calculation of the target harvest rate.
    The largest changes in recommended 2011 Catch Limits occur in Areas 2C and 3. For Area 2C the difference in the catch limit recommendation between 2010 and 2011 is primarily the result of the application of the SUFullD harvest adjustment. For Area 3, the primary cause of the change in recommendations between 2010 and 2011 is the estimated decline in exploitable biomass.
    The staff recommended Catch Limits totaling 41.02 million pounds for 2011, a decrease of approximately 19% from 2010 Adopted Catch Limits, are presented in Table 1. 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 allocates 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.
    For Areas 2C and 3A the catch limit recommendation includes the use of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) authorized Guideline Harvest Levels (GHL) for the halibut recreational charter fisheries of 0.788 Mlb and 3.650 Mlb, respectively, as the projected removals by that sector for 2011. 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.
    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 Victoria BC, Canada, during January 25-28, 2011. 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, 2010. Catch limit proposals are available on the Commission's webpage (http://www.iphc.int/meetings-and-events/annual-meeting/catch-limit-comments.html) or from the Commission's office. Additional details about the Annual Meeting can also be found on the web page.
    Table 1. IPHC staff recommended catch limits for 2011, by IPHC regulatory area (million lbs, net weight). The 2010 fishery catch limits are included for comparison.

    Regulatory Area2010 Adopted Fishery Catch Limit2011 IPHC Staff Recommended Fishery Catch Limit2Aa0.810.862Bb7.507.652C4.402.333A19.9914.363 B9.907.524A2.332.414B2.162.184CDEc3.583.72Total50. 6741.02a Includes sport, tribal, and commercial fisheries.
    b Includes sport and commercial fisheries.
    c Individual catch limits for Area 4C, 4D, and 4E are determined by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council catch sharing plan.


    Figure 1. International Pacific Halibut Commission Regulatory Areas.

    Last Updated on Friday, 03 December 2010 08:38

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    My apologies, finding why they are smaller at age is harder to find than I thought it would be. I can find numerous mentions of it, and reports of it, but not why it may be occurring. The smaller size of the halibut at any given age is certainly part of the stock assesment. I skimmed it trying to find an answer to your question. There were a lot of interesting graphs of the change in age at size though for every stat area and by fishery. Pretty neat stuff really. I'll keep looking to see what I can find on why they are smaller, but have a feeling it's many various reasons.

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    IPHC, international Pacific Halibut Commission, website link if you'd like to read the stock assesment yourselves.

    http://www.iphc.washington.edu/

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    We've been telling the NPFMC that the stocks are declining and being overfished for years now. Typical educated idiots, no common sense and behind the eight ball.

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    As to your last question........why don't you go read the documents yourself?
    My apologies, finding why they are smaller at age is harder to find than I thought it would be. I can find numerous mentions of it, and reports of it, but not why it may be occurring.
    I read several articles on this, and found it very interesting that nobody addressed the issue of WHY the halibut weren't reaching 32" as quickly.. Lack of feed? Habitat destruction? Predation? Over harvest of the little guys? Massive bycatch of the little guys by the draggers? Or, are the halibut growing at the rate as before and they just figured out how long it took a halibut to reach 32 inches? But admitting that would be admitting that the fish managers screwed it up.

    It's absolutely mind blowing that they allowed the fishermen (both sport and commercial) to overharvest by 9-14%, on a yearly basis! Not to mention the bycatch issue they they are attempting to get a handle on with the new observer program. (lets hope it works this time around). Honestly though.. what did they think would happen? This is not a sport/charter/commercial issue. It's a *** were the fish managers thinking issue! Or does big seafood hold such sway that they weren't thinking?

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    Funny how everyone on earth could see the Halibut were in a steep decline,except IPHC and NPFMC, put a bunch of commercial fishermen on the council, this is what you get. they manage for short term profits.

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    Interestingly enough, the scientists appear to have confirmed what fishermen on the docks have observed for years- more small halibut are coming in! Though not always obvious on this forum, scientists and fishermen actually CAN reach the same conclusion sometimes!

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    As a commercial fisherman for halibut, and a few other species, I am not surprised at the cuts, and I agree it is necessary. I have seen a decline in larger fish, lots of small fish that are not quite legal. Rare to see big ones in the local off-shore old hot spots anymore. Makes me wonder how much the scientists know. I foresee the prices staying high with less fish on the market in the future, although not enough to make up for such cuts. It is what it is though and not all fisherman can be generalized as all for short term profits and greed. Many are for sustainability. This is my career and lifestyle and I have many years left I want to spend fishing and pass it on to my kids. I have no desire to fish everything out and have to get a land job
    I don't blame the charter guys. Mainly the NPFMC and IPHC at this point. Something has also got to be done about the by-catch in the trawl fishery before it is too late. That one I will associate with greed...

    Another thing, when I first started halibut fishing during the derby days (late 80's), the ol' fisherman I learned most of what I know about fishing from, would release the really big butts at the rail as they are the spawners. Not something I would ever see from charter boats, as they are after the trophy fish. Mmmm, nothing like eating the big ones. I would be all for an upper size limit, kinda like the sturgeon on the columbia.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelikofkid View Post
    As a commercial fisherman for halibut, and a few other species, I am not surprised at the cuts, and I agree it is necessary. I have seen a decline in larger fish, lots of small fish that are not quite legal. Rare to see big ones in the local off-shore old hot spots anymore. Makes me wonder how much the scientists know. I foresee the prices staying high with less fish on the market in the future, although not enough to make up for such cuts. It is what it is though and not all fisherman can be generalized as all for short term profits and greed. Many are for sustainability. This is my career and lifestyle and I have many years left I want to spend fishing and pass it on to my kids. I have no desire to fish everything out and have to get a land job
    I don't blame the charter guys. Mainly the NPFMC and IPHC at this point. Something has also got to be done about the by-catch in the trawl fishery before it is too late. That one I will associate with greed...

    Another thing, when I first started halibut fishing during the derby days (late 80's), the ol' fisherman I learned most of what I know about fishing from, would release the really big butts at the rail as they are the spawners. Not something I would ever see from charter boats, as they are after the trophy fish. Mmmm, nothing like eating the big ones. I would be all for an upper size limit, kinda like the sturgeon on the columbia.
    Good post. I'll say though that I know of many big halibut that have been released on charter boats. Happens a lot more than the charter guys are given credit for. (at least in my neck of the woods)

  12. #12

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    270ti -I guess I will have to believe you. Probably is some catch and release or guys wanting smaller ones for better eating. I've just seen so many tourists standing next to the monsters hanging by their tales on the dock. Thanks for the comments.

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    I remember my first year of guiding watching an experienced guide cut a 250lb+ halibut off at the side of the boat that they had hooked while salmon fishing, and watching his clients clap as the fish swam off. I didn't get it then, but I sure get it now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelikofkid View Post
    As a commercial fisherman for halibut, and a few other species, I am not surprised at the cuts, and I agree it is necessary. I have seen a decline in larger fish, lots of small fish that are not quite legal. Rare to see big ones in the local off-shore old hot spots anymore. Makes me wonder how much the scientists know. I foresee the prices staying high with less fish on the market in the future, although not enough to make up for such cuts. It is what it is though and not all fisherman can be generalized as all for short term profits and greed. Many are for sustainability. This is my career and lifestyle and I have many years left I want to spend fishing and pass it on to my kids. I have no desire to fish everything out and have to get a land job
    I don't blame the charter guys. Mainly the NPFMC and IPHC at this point. Something has also got to be done about the by-catch in the trawl fishery before it is too late. That one I will associate with greed...

    Another thing, when I first started halibut fishing during the derby days (late 80's), the ol' fisherman I learned most of what I know about fishing from, would release the really big butts at the rail as they are the spawners. Not something I would ever see from charter boats, as they are after the trophy fish. Mmmm, nothing like eating the big ones. I would be all for an upper size limit, kinda like the sturgeon on the columbia.
    When was the last time you released a large Halibut ? The only time it happens with me is if the client already has two Halibut and is fishing for ling and hooks a large butt.

    Sport fishing for Halibut is about catching big fish, nobody comes all the way to Alaska to go catch a 30 pound Halibut, and the locals want to fill their freezer. So your right there.

    If a Halibut is released ,the hook should be removed, I know of a Halibut that was lost due to the line breaking, and a year later another captain caught the same fish, and the hook looked brand new. There was enough leader left on the hook to recognize who's rigging it was. It was a 260 pound fish.

    We catch many fish every year with hooks in them, and they are always light for their length, so it impedes their feeding. I think it's an old wife's tale that the hooks rust away quickly, I think it takes years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelikofkid View Post
    As a commercial fisherman for halibut, and a few other species, I am not surprised at the cuts, and I agree it is necessary. I have seen a decline in larger fish, lots of small fish that are not quite legal. Rare to see big ones in the local off-shore old hot spots anymore. Makes me wonder how much the scientists know. I foresee the prices staying high with less fish on the market in the future, although not enough to make up for such cuts. It is what it is though and not all fisherman can be generalized as all for short term profits and greed. Many are for sustainability. This is my career and lifestyle and I have many years left I want to spend fishing and pass it on to my kids. I have no desire to fish everything out and have to get a land job
    I don't blame the charter guys. Mainly the NPFMC and IPHC at this point. Something has also got to be done about the by-catch in the trawl fishery before it is too late. That one I will associate with greed...

    Another thing, when I first started halibut fishing during the derby days (late 80's), the ol' fisherman I learned most of what I know about fishing from, would release the really big butts at the rail as they are the spawners. Not something I would ever see from charter boats, as they are after the trophy fish. Mmmm, nothing like eating the big ones. I would be all for an upper size limit, kinda like the sturgeon on the columbia.
    Nice to see a fresh perspective from a commfish guy. Thanks

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    I'll admit it's been a few years since we've released a big fish deliberatly. We rarely see many large ones (over 180 lbs) anymore. We have a method of using the gaff hook while the halibut is still over the side of the boat to unhook them, but it can be tough if they start fighting you. We have just cut the gagnion a time or two that I can remember and left the hook. I know thats not ideal but if its through the lip area the fish will survive fine. We commonly catch butts of all sizes with hooks still in them, depending of the type of steel used, some are actually rusting away, and some look brand new. Seen lots of otherwise healthy looking butts with deformed faces from being ran through crucifiers also. My point is they are a very hardy, resilient fish. Never have understood why they legalized crucifiers when IFQ's started. I don't use one the way we fish. I know some fishermen who use them responsibly.

    The processors paying more per lb. for large fish doesn't help the situation.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain T View Post

    Sport fishing for Halibut is about catching big fish, nobody comes all the way to Alaska to go catch a 30 pound Halibut, and the locals want to fill their freezer. So your right there.
    Unless something changes, the meat hunting days are over. The tricky part for you guys is going to be to provide good enough service that you'll still attract guests, with them only catching a 30lb halibut. The charters on the west coast of POW pull it off. Combo charters is the way to go. Halibut is a bonus, but certainly not the focus. Keeping your customers in a "big or bust" frame of mind ain't gonna work any more.

    As for cutting big halibut loose. I've never heard of or seen skinny halibut with hooks in them. I'm sure it also depends on the size and material of the hook. The circle hooks I procure locally rust quickly. The halibut I posted about was caught on salmon gear. 4/0 gamakatsu hooks rust very easily.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    Unless something changes, the meat hunting days are over. The tricky part for you guys is going to be to provide good enough service that you'll still attract guests, with them only catching a 30lb halibut. The charters on the west coast of POW pull it off. Combo charters is the way to go. Halibut is a bonus, but certainly not the focus. Keeping your customers in a "big or bust" frame of mind ain't gonna work any more.

    As for cutting big halibut loose. I've never heard of or seen skinny halibut with hooks in them. I'm sure it also depends on the size and material of the hook. The circle hooks I procure locally rust quickly. The halibut I posted about was caught on salmon gear. 4/0 gamakatsu hooks rust very easily.
    Most everyone hope's to catch a Derby fish but many are just wanting a reasonable opportunity to take home enough fish to make the trip worthwhile and enjoy a day on the water. The would prefer to "catch their own" then buy it in the local sweatshop sea food market.

    I don't think the mangled lips happened just because of a hook that got left behind. Looks like the result of a crucifier to me. Just think how the public would think if we did this to cattle where they could see and observe it. Out of sight, out of mind I suppose. Maybe we should send pictures like this to the public, who so desperately needs seafood market halibut, what they're truly supporting. Maybe we should hang a sign at the market along with a picture that says, This fish wasn't big enough in his youth, but he manage to grow up anyway......his friends weren't so lucky. Just a thought. Just two of many I saw this year.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_0214.jpg   DSC_0011.jpg  

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    It's my understanding that a certain percentage of commercially caught halibut are considered "dead" because of injuries such as the ones on the picture. So while you may have caught them again, they were in fact subtacted from the halibut biomass. These injuries are not ignored in the commercial fishery . One, it's not legal to do that to a halibut. Two, IPHC does mortality studies to see how many die from various injuries. Three, groundfish observers to viability/injury studies on thousands of halibut. I know IPHC follows a ten year rolling average for groundfish mortality for all sectors with literally hundreds of thousands of data points. NFMS tracks how much every fishery catches, and then the mortality rate is applied to that to determine how many are dead.
    So halibutgrove while your pictures are troubling, they don't really tell the whole story do they?

  20. #20

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    [QUOTE=Akbrownsfan;850266]
    It's my understanding that a certain percentage of commercially caught halibut are considered "dead" because of injuries such as the ones on the picture. So while you may have caught them again, they were in fact subtacted from the halibut biomass. These injuries are not ignored in the commercial fishery .
    I suppose what your saying is that a percentage of every fish released is considered dead. So how accurate is are the numbers for released halibut? As a small halibut is being run through the crucifer are they accurately tallied?

    One, it's not legal to do that to a halibut.
    I would hope not but it's obviously occurring. I've seen days where 50% of the 12 fish brought in had torn lips. Most of it on fish over 50lbs. I would venture to say that most larger halibut have been caught on a hook before, and that the biomass of previously uncaught fish is dwindling.


    Two, IPHC does mortality studies to see how many die from various injuries. Three, groundfish observers to viability/injury studies on thousands of halibut. I know IPHC follows a ten year rolling average for groundfish mortality for all sectors with literally hundreds of thousands of data points. NFMS tracks how much every fishery catches, and then the mortality rate is applied to that to determine how many are dead.
    So halibutgrove while your pictures are troubling, they don't really tell the whole story do they?
    I think it paints a sad story and a troubling one which the general public is unaware is occurring. Maybe the best way to deal with this would be to institute a "fish caught is a fish retained" If a fish released is statistically going to die if released we just killed it for nothing.

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