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Beginning in 2017, IPHC Regulations require that all commercial Pacific halibut must be landed and weighed with their heads attached for data reporting purposes (fish ticket – USA, validation record – Canada) and be subject to the 32-inch minimum size limit. The only exception to this requirement is that vessels that freeze Pacific halibut at sea may possess and land their frozen fish with the head removed and subject to the 24-inch minimum size limit. This regulation change will reduce a recently identified bias in commercial landing data.


The IPHC staff harvest advice is being restructured to present more information and more options for consideration by Commissioners as they set the annual catch limits. This change is in response to Commission direction at the 2012 Annual Meeting, reinforced by the 2012 Performance Review and stakeholder feedback. Although this restructured advice format is new to the IPHC, it is becoming common practice in world fishery management. This procedural approach provides a more transparent delineation between scientific results and management/policy decisions, ultimately enabling a better understanding of the risks associated with different fishery harvest options.

In the past, IPHC staff harvest advice centered on point biomass estimates and catch limit recommendations (i.e., single numbers for each). This format does not adequately convey the uncertainties around stock estimates and the risks of various possible outcomes at different catch levels. This year, the IPHC staff harvest advice will be summarized in a table which integrates uncertainty surrounding the stock assessment as it relates outcomes to estimates of risk.

The new format will give the Commissioners a wider range of advice to consider as they set catch limits for 2013. For example, different catch levels (outcomes) can be evaluated and presented in terms of their impact (risk) on the stock and harvest rates. The Commissioners will be able to examine a range of harvest options and the probable impacts on the stock as they deliberate. The table below illustrates the structure of how the staff will be providing advice to the Commission and stakeholders. This table is only an example; the particular metrics (column headings) may be different in the final version.

This year's stock assessment and catch advice will undergo a scientific review by a small work team of fishery experts before being presented to the Commissioners at the Interim Meeting. The Commission intends to make scientific peer review, with stakeholder participation, a regular feature of the annual assessment cycle. During the coming year a more formal structure will be developed for future reviews, following discussion at the Interim and Annual Meetings and with stakeholder input.


Example risk table

Example of Restructured Harvest Advice Format

Printable PDF Version

The following Information Bulletins are available online:

Please note that these documents are for reference purposes only and that the information contained may be out of date.

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Industry Features

Commercial Fishery

Commercial Feature

Commercial halibut fishery updates from Alaska, British Columbia, and the U.S. West Coast.

Sport Fishery

Sport Feature

Sport fishing information from Alaska, British Columbia, and the U.S. West Coast.

Advisory Bodies

Advisory Bodies Feature

The IPHC maintains an auxilary website for its Advisory Bodies at iphc.info.