The 2014 halibut season wrapped up last week with dock prices in Homer running about $6.60 per pound, well above the $6.15 per pound being paid for red king crab at the dock in Dutch Harbor, something of a head scratcher for seafood lovers.
The full season saw high prices, occasionally over $7 per pound, due to reduced inventory going into the season and drastically reduced quotas.
That is a big jump from the 2013 average statewide price for halibut, which came to $4.83 per pound, but may end up close to the average price in 2011, which ended up at $6.29.
And it is a far, far cry from the statewide average in 1992, which came in at 96 cents per pound.
Homer took the lead as the top halibut port with a total of 2.76 million pounds crossing the dock from a total of 386 landings.
Kodiak took second in poundage with 2.6 million pounds landed, but led the state in the number of landings at 502. Seward trailed Southcentral ports with 1.75 million pounds from 277 landings.
In Southeast Alaska, Petersburg was by far the high port with 1.16 million pounds crossing the dock in 321 landings. Yakutat trailed a distant second with 510,407 pounds from 216 landings. Ketchikan came in third at 128,321 pounds from 64 landings.
The statewide average of pounds per landing was 4,586. In total, 99 percent of the statewide quota of 15.9 million pounds of halibut was caught, with 188,852 pounds left in the water.
Most of it, 103,321 pounds, was in Southeast where there are more boats with small poundage, and it may have not been economical to rig up to catch.
Some of the uncaught pounds will be rolled over to next year’s catch. IFQ holders are able to leave 10 percent on the table to catch the following season.
Meanwhile, industry stakeholders are preparing for the International Halibut Commission’s interim meeting, taking place Dec. 2 and 3 in Seattle.
The interim meeting is where IPHC biologists present the latest stock assessments and issue what were once called “staff recommendations” for the next year’s quotas. Those recommendations are not presented in a table from which commissioners can choose various options. More information can be found at http://www.iphc.int/.
Cristy Fry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.