Federal fisheries officials have issued a reminder of regulations of the International Pacific Halibut Commission on the eve of the opening of Alaska’s commercial halibut IFQ fishery on March 19. The fishery will continue through Nov. 7.
For Southeast Alaska, Area 2C, the commercial catch limit this year is 3.9 million pounds, and for Southcentral Alaska, Area 3A, the commercial catch limit is 7.3 million pounds.
This season NOAA Fisheries’ electronic Groundfish/Individual Fishing Quota Daily Fishing Longline and Pot Gear logbook has been added to the list of acceptable logbooks for use in the Alaska commercial halibut fishery.
The IPHC also authorized longline pot gear as legal gear for the commercial halibut fishery in Alaska, where National Marine Fisheries Service regulations permit the use of this gear in the sablefish individual fishing quota fishery.
NMFS is in the process of developing a proposed rule to implement a recommendation by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to authorize longline got gear in the Gulf of Alaska sablefish IFQ fishery.
Unguided halibut sport anglers will continue to have a daily bag limit of two fish of any size per person.
In Southeast Alaska, anglers on charter boats will have a one-fish daily bag limit with a “reverse slot limit. They may keep only a halibut that is less than or equal to 43 inches or greater than or equal to 80 inches in length.
In Southcentral Alaska, charter boat patrons will have a two-fish daily bag limit, one of any size and one no more than 28 inches in length.
Links to more information about this fishery are at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/