The Halibut regulations for 2018 are set:
Daily Limit: One per angler
Size: Under 38 inches or over 80 inches
No annual limit
Halibut fishing has been on a steady upswing for nearly a decade off Sitka. That’s why the recommendation to significantly decrease the harvest for 2018 from the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) came as a surprise to both sport and commercial harvesters. What we’ve been seeing on the grounds doesn’t seem to suggest a resource declining in numbers. The data from the IPHC, however, indicates that recruitment (smaller fish growing into harvestable fish) has a gap that indicates we should be cautious in too aggressively harvesting the halibut currently on the grounds.
If you want to dig into the weeds on this, the IPHC website has a wealth of information: https://iphc.int/
The graph below shows the gap in recruitment. The various colored lines represent the results of different models. Of note is the dip in from 2009 and the next few years after. These are fish that will be recruiting into our fishery in the coming year.