International Pacific Halibut Commission Interim Meeting 2012

And Preliminary Staff Harvest Advice

 

The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) conducted its Interim Meeting in its Seattle offices on November 28 and 29, 2012.  The Interim Meeting IPHC staff presentations and copies of the webcasts are posted on the Commission's website at http://iphc.int/meetings-and-events/interim-meeting.html.

 

The 2012 Stock Assessment

 

During 2012, the assessment staff at the IPHC conducted a full review of the data, specific model equations, and general approach used to assess the stock in recent years.  The retrospective bias seen in recent assessments was found to be a direct result of transient overestimation of incoming recruitment.  This arose because the model did not correctly reflect variation in the availability of different sizes of fish in different areas.  With the agreement of two external scientific reviewers, a more flexible model structure was adopted to address this problem and correct the retrospective bias. The assessment model results are now more consistent with observed fishery and survey results.  As a result of changes to the assessment model, estimates of recent recruitment are much lower than previously thought.

Including this year's data, the results of the 2012 stock assessment indicate that the Pacific halibut stock biomass has been declining continuously over much of the last decade as a result of decreasing size at age as well as below average recruitment.  Based on the reductions in recent harvest levels, evidence from the survey index of abundance, as well as the age-composition data, the stock assessment estimates that the population decline has now slowed and the stock trajectory is relatively flat, with spawning biomass about 5% higher than a level which would require a reduction in harvest rate.

 

An executive summary of the 2012 stock assessment is posted on the IPHC website at

http://www.iphc.int/meetings/2012im/im2012execsumm.pdf.

 

Preliminary Staff Harvest Advice for 2013

 

As described recently in Information Bulletin 70 (http://iphc.int/library/bulletins/300-ib0070.html), the IPHC staff harvest advice has been restructured this year to present more information and more options for consideration by the Commissioners as they set the annual catch limits.  This procedural approach provides an estimation of the probabilities of risks and benefits involved with specific harvest choices.  The staff harvest advice is summarized in a decision table (Table 1, next page).

 

The application of the current harvest policy, consistent with the approach used in recent stock assessments, produces the harvest option of the Table 1 "Blue Line," with a coastwide Fishery CEY of 22.7Mlb.  Alternative metrics of performance as well as different increments of total removals may be considered in the decision-making process.  Refinements in the decision table directed by the Commissioners at the Interim Meeting will be included in the final staff harvest advice presented at the Annual Meeting.


Table 1.  2013 Preliminary Decision Table, with probabilities of various risk metrics given alternative harvest levels. (Note that the first column lists both fishery CEY and total removals.  Total removals include all halibut mortality caused by humans, i.e., all removals except natural mortality.)

nr20121218table1

 

 

The apportionment of the Blue Line harvest level example by regulatory area is presented in Table 2.

 

 

Table 2.  Apportionment results for the Blue Line (biomass, CEY, removals in Mlb [net wt])

 

Regulatory Area

2A

2B

2C

3A

3B

4A

4B

4CDE

Total

Exploitable biomass

3.81

24.54

23.28

70.38

26.02

11.97

6.75

19.74

186.49

Percent of total

2.0%

13.2%

12.5%

37.7%

14.0%

6.4%

3.6%

10.6%

100.0%

Effective Coastwide Harvest Rate

21.5%

21.5%

21.5%

21.5%

16.1%

16.1%

16.1%

16.1%

19.6%

Total CEY

0.82

5.28

5.00

15.13

4.20

1.93

1.09

3.18

36.63

Other O26 removals

0.11

0.69

1.89

5.89

1.46

1.08

0.47

2.33

13.92

Fishery CEY

0.71 a

4.58 a

3.12

9.24

2.73

0.85

0.62

0.85

22.70

a Includes sport in Areas 2A and 2B and ceremonial and subsistence in Area 2A


How to Submit Catch Limit Proposals for 2013

 

Proposals for and comments on 2013 catch limit changes should be submitted to the Commission by December 30, 2012.  Copies of catch limit proposal forms can be located on the Annual Meeting page of the IPHC website (http://www.iphc.int/meetings-and-events/annual-meeting.html) or by calling the IPHC office at (206) 634-1838.  A running summary of all submitted proposals is posted on the IPHC website.

 

 

Looking Ahead to the 2013 Annual Meeting

 

The Eighty-Ninth Annual Meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission will be held from Monday, January 21 through Friday, January 25, 2013 at The Fairmont Empress in Victoria, B.C.  A block of rooms has been reserved for attendees at the hotel until December 21, 2012 at a special rate of $119 CAD for a single (Fairmont type), plus taxes. After the cut-off date, the rate and/or rooms may not be available. Please identify yourself as attending the International Pacific Halibut Commission Annual Meeting to receive the special rate and ensure room availability.  For reservations please call (250) 384-8111 or visit the meeting site available at: https://resweb.passkey.com/go/intlpacifichalibutcomm.

 

Changes have been made to the Annual Meeting to make its proceedings more open and transparent.  In contrast to previous meetings, this year all public sessions and administrative sessions (except Financial sessions) will be open to the public.  These open sessions will also be webcast. In addition, more time has been added throughout the schedule to accommodate the open session formats and public discussion.  This year's meeting will begin on Monday afternoon (January 21) and run through mid-day on Friday (January 25).

 

Current information regarding the 2013 Annual Meeting can be located on the Annual Meeting page of the Commission website (http://www.iphc.int/meetings-and-events/annual-meeting.html) or by calling the IPHC office at (206) 634-1838.  The website will be updated regularly with new information as the meeting date approaches.

 

 

Changes to IPHC Meetings - We Want Feedback!

 

The International Pacific Halibut Commission has adopted several changes to the schedule and format for its Interim and Annual Meetings in response to recommendations from the 2012 Performance Review and using input from stakeholders across the halibut community.  They are designed to improve the workings of the Commission by making its meetings and deliberations more open and transparent to the public.  The new meeting formats were used for the 2012 Interim Meeting and are in place for the 2013 Annual Meeting, after which they will be re-evaluated with stakeholder input to make further improvements for the next meeting cycle.

 

Comments or recommendations from the halibut community are welcome, and may be submitted via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling or writing the IPHC office (contact information at http://www.iphc.int/contacts.html).  Interim Meeting webinar participants are also invited to respond to the webinar questionnaire which was sent out after the meeting.

 

- END -

Bruce M. Leaman
Executive Director
Phone: (206) 634-1838
Fax: (206) 632-2983

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