IPHC Plans 2024 Setline Survey in 5 of 8 Regulatory Areas

Image: International Pacific Halibut Commission.

A Fishery-Independent Setline Survey (FISS) across three of four bioregions and five of eight regulatory areas are planned by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) to begin in late May, with the intent of sampling a total of 525 stations.

The IPHC said in a Feb. 15 announcement that it expects first hooks to be in the water by May 25.

Financial woes for the IPHC, whose funds are directly related to halibut sales, have resulted in fewer stations being scheduled this year, compared to 2022, which the survey planned for 958 stations and completed sampling of just 864.

The overall allowable coastwide catch of halibut in Alaska for 2024 is down about 5% and prices are also lower, all of which impacts IPHC income.

A list of stations to be surveyed, by regulatory area and charter region, with the number of stations to be fished was provided by the IPHC, including:

  • Regulatory Area 2B: St. James, 60 stations; Charlotte, 89 stations.
  • Regulatory Area 2C: Ketchikan, 43 stations; Ommaney, 52 stations.
  • Regulatory Area 3A: Albatross, 49 stations; Shelikof, 64 stations.
  • Regulatory area 3B: Trinity, 56 stations.
  • Regulatory Area 4CDE: 4CDE South, 60 stations

At the time of the Feb. 15 announcement, the IPHC Secretariat was in the process of finalizing vessel assignments, staffing and deployment plans, with relevant parties still to be notified.

The Alaska Charter Association noted in its November 2023 newsletter that the Halibut Coalition had met with members of Congress to get supplemental funding for the IPHC, which was facing an estimated shortfall of $2.43 million.

As of mid-February, representatives of halibut harvesters were still working with Congress to get some financial relief for the IPHC.