The 98th International Pacific Halibut Commission interim meeting is underway online Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, with all sessions to be webcast and open to the public.
Topics up for discussion include fishery monitoring, stock status of Pacific halibut for 2022 and the 2023 harvest decision table, project updates on biological and ecosystem science research activities, a management strategy evaluation and proposals for the 2022-23 process regarding IPHC fishery regulations.
Meeting discussions are expected to begin with an update on actions arising from the 98th session of the IPHC annual meeting, 2022 special sessions and intersessional decisions, plus the IPHC five-year program of integrated research and monitoring, and a report from the 23rd session of the IPHC research advisory board.
The IPHC took its annual coastwide stock assessment of Pacific halibut this year. The assessment represents a full analysis, following the previous full assessment conducted in 2019, updated in 2020 and again in 2021. Changes from the 2021 assessment were developed and reviewed by the IPHC’s Scientific Review Board in June and September of this year.
Changes made include standard updates to mortality estimates from all fisheries, directed commercial fishery and fishery-independent setline survey biological and trend information plus other data collected this year.
The 2022 stock assessment estimates a lower level of fishing intensity and higher relative stock status compared to previous assessments, as well as a 26% increase in the yield corresponding to the reference level of fishing intensity for 2023 compared to 2022.
Halibut issues are also on the agenda for the December meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Anchorage from Dec. 5 through Dec. 14. Final action on charter halibut management is scheduled to be heard on the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 12.