Seawatch: Halibut commission sets draft 2020 quotas

The International Pacific Halibut Commission held its interim meeting last month and lead quantitative scientist Dr. Ian Stewart is recommending a quota increase in all areas of Alaska.

For Alaska waters, the quota recommendations, all in millions of pounds, are: Area 2C, Southeast, 5.16; Area 3A, Central Gulf of Alaska, 14.11; Area 3B, 3.12; Area 4A, Eastern Aleutians, 2.51; Area 4B, Western Aleutians, 1.47; Area 4CDE, Bering Sea and Pribilof Islands, 3.98.

Area 2B, British Columbia, is also expected to go up, from 4.64 to 7.0.

Those numbers include the charter allocations in Areas 2C and 3A.

Part of the reasoning for raising the quota in some areas is due to an increase in catch per unit of effort (CPUE), according to Peggy Parker at

CPUE is one of hundreds of other data points that are part of an ensemble model that Stewart uses. The model has a good track record. So far, the biomass is doing as the model has predicted for the past eight years, she notes.

In the eight regulatory areas, from California to the Bering Sea, CPUE is up in four and down in four this year. Those changes in all are in single digits except in Area 2B which is down 10% and Area 3A which is up 24%.

However, “Spawning biomass trends continue downward, although the 2020 assessment reports less decline than anticipated, partly as a function of mortality reductions in 2020,” Stewart said in his presentation.

“The 2011 and 2012 year-classes, estimated to be stronger than any since 2005 remain uncertain and are highly important to short-term projections of stock and fishery dynamics,” he said.

But the uncertainty in the size of the 2011 and 2012 year-classes is high.

Compared to the magnitude of the 2005 year class, which was estimated to be very large when it was first seen in trawl surveys, before they were large enough to enter the commercial fishery, the estimates of the 2011 and 2012 year-classes range “from below to above the magnitude of the estimated 2005 year-class. Even with a third year of observation from the (setline survey), and now a year from the commercial fishery, these two important year-classes remain uncertain,” Stewart said.

The final decision will be made at the annual meeting, which will take place electronically January 25-29. For details and meeting documents visit

Cristy Fry can be reached at

More in News

An area set up to administer doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
An area set up to administer doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska.
Large vaccine clinics to happen later this month

Clinics are being offered by Soldotna Professional Pharmacy and Nikiski Fire/OEM

Homer’s Bergen Knutson (left) and Toby Nevak (right) try to fend off Dimond’s Kaden Daniels during a Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 game at the 2020 ASAA First National Cup Division I Hockey State Championship at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Middle, high school sports resume

Middle and high school sport programs started back up this week as… Continue reading

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Tribe wins lawsuit in herring roe subsistence claim

Sitka Tribe of Alaska claimed state wasn’t providing “reasonable opportunity” in herring roe harvest.

Sanitization equipment is seen inside of a classroom at Kenai Middle School on Friday, Jan. 8 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
As in-person learning resumes, parents ask for more changes

Many called for allowing students in all grades to resume in-person learning five days a week or for eliminating mask requirements for student athletes while active.

Homer News file photo
Homer High School.
School announcements

School district risk level update and upcoming events

The Homer office of the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles. (Courtesy photo Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles)
Cuts in governor’s budget would close DMV office in Homer

Policy analyst: DMV costs more to operate than it brings in

Homer City Hall. (Homer News file photo)
City to pay assessment fees on parcel eyed by moose habitat group

The Homer City Council delved into issues of land conservation at its… Continue reading

Most Read