IPHC Says 2020 Setline Survey is Most Data Rich in the Commission’s History

Officials with the International Pacific Halibut Commission have completed their 2020 survey designed to collect standardized fishery-independent data for use in their annual Pacific halibut stock assessment. The data is used also to study various aspects of the Pacific halibut resource, including growth, distribution, biomass, age composition, sexual maturity and relative abundance of other species.

A report released in late September by the IPHC said final offloads from this year’s Fishery-Independent Setline Survey (FISS) took place on Sept. 10. Approximately 70 percent of the standing stock biomass of Pacific halibut in the convention area were sampled, with that sampling producing the most data-rich setline-survey in the IPHC’s history. Despite planned gaps in coverage at the northern and southern ends of the distribution, the 2020 FISS produced a precise and reliable index of Pacific halibut stock, to provide the primary source of trend information for the 2020 stock assessment and the basis for the 2021 management decision making process, the IPHC said.

The 2020 FISS also proved an economic success, even though fish prices overall were lower than 2019, so that the IPHC maintained a strong positive revenue stream, ensuring that the FISS remains fiscally independent from external sources, the commission said.

Survey data collected is to be posted online at https://iphc.int/ in mid-October and during the IPHC’s 96th interim meeting, set for Nov. 18-19 in Seattle.

All sessions are open to the public and will be webcast. Those webcast sessions are to include accepting audience comments and questions, as directed by Paul Ryall, chairperson of the commission. A compendium of meeting documents is already posted online at https://iphc.int/venues/details/96th-session-of-the-iphc-interim-meeting-im096

IPHC commissioners representing the U.S. include Chris Oliver, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries; Bob Alverson, manager of the Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association, a trade association of longline vessel operators based in Seattle; and Richard Yamada, owner of Shelter Lodge, a sport fishing lodge near Juneau.