The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) identified concerns regarding data validation for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A as documented in the 2016 Report of Assessment and Research Activities (IPHC 20171). The IPHC currently does not have access to direct estimates of sublegal discards in the Pacific halibut fishery in Regulatory Area 2A due to the lack of observer coverage. Further, the IPHC must rely on logbook-reported discards of legal Pacific halibut and is unable to determine accurate weight-per-unit-effort estimates when legal discards occur due to trip limits. In order to obtain more accurate estimates of both Pacific halibut mortality and associated catch rates, the IPHC is working with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to implement observer coverage for this fishery to fill these important data gaps. This observer coverage will also provide direct data on discards of non-Pacific halibut species, including any protected species, to NMFS, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, and the State agencies, an improvement upon the current process of extrapolating these data from the annual IPHC fisheries-independent setline survey. The IPHC is looking forward to working with Regulatory Area 2A permit holders and NMFS staff on meeting this need and successfully implementing the observer program for the 2017 Regulatory Area 2A directed commercial fishery.
Clearances must be submitted to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement (NOAA Fisheries OLE).
As referenced in Section 15 of the 2017 IPHC regulations(http://iphc.int/publications/regs/2017iphcregs.pdf), vessels fishing for Pacific halibut in IPHC Regulatory Area 4 are required to clear before fishing and before unloading for each trip, with the exception of local Bering Sea vessels or vessels with an operating Vessel Monitoring System (VMS). Full details on the VMS program are available on the NOAA Fisheries OLE website (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ole/about/our_programs/vessel_monitoring.html) or by phone at (907) 586-7225.
The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) has collected logbook information since the 1930s. The weight per unit effort, gear, and location information from the logbook is essential for the annual stock assessment and aids in determining the condition of the Pacific halibut resource. We have been successful in managing the resource primarily because of cooperation from participating harvesters. IPHC regulations require the operator of any vessel commercially fishing for Pacific halibut, that has an overall length of 26 feet or greater, to maintain a logbook. All detailed trip information obtained and retained by the IPHC is kept strictly confidential and cannot be subpoenaed because of IPHC immunities as an international organization.
Hats for ALL crew who participate … and jacket lottery draw to be awarded to 3 vessels.
We are asking for your assistance in marking fish as either male or female while dressing them at sea, so that the port samplers can add sex information from the Pacific halibut that they sample to the length and age data that they routinely collect.
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.
NEW FORMAT FOR IPHC STAFF HARVEST ADVICE
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 of Restructured Harvest Advice Format