The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) is seeking commercial longline vessels to conduct survey fishing in 2012.

The purpose of the setline survey is to collect standardized data used for halibut stock assessment. This information is used to study aspects of the halibut resource such as growth, distribution, biomass, age composition, sexual maturity, and relative abundance of other species. The 2012 setline survey will cover 27 regions, from the southern Oregon border to the northern Bering Sea including the Aleutian Islands. All regions are open for single year bids. For the 2012 survey, a bait comparison experiment will be integrated into the usual survey work. Vessels will fish 8 skates of gear (four baited with chum salmon, one baited with pink salmon, one baited with pollock, two blank skates with no hooks separating the baited treatments) at each station following standard survey protocol. A maximum of 3 stations will be permitted per day for the first trip, and a maximum of 4 stations per day will be permitted thereafter, if the survey/experiment design allows. Most regions require 15 - 23 fishing days plus additional days for running, loading and offloading gear and fish, foul weather days, etc. Depending on the region, total charter duration can be expected to be 22 - 34 days. Vessels are encouraged to bid for multiple areas. Survey fishing must be completed between May 27th and August 31st 2012.

Bids must be received at the IPHC office in Seattle by 12:00 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time) on Friday, March 16th, 2012.

To receive the latest news, ask to be added to Claude Dykstra's mailing list.

2012 Hook Modification Charter: Whisker Hooks

The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) is requesting bids from commercial vessels to conduct a hook modification experiment in southeastern Alaska during the early summer of 2012. Rockfish bycatch continues to be a problem in hook & line fisheries targeting Pacific halibut. This is particularly so for Yelloweye and Quillback rockfish which in some areas are under some degree of protection. Single circle hooks modified with spring wires across the hook gap will be observed with a drop camera to evaluate the effects of different wire configurations on the hooking success for halibut and rockfish. A light frame constructed from rebar will hold a camera focused on a single baited hook. This gear will be deployed to a depth of up to 200 feet using either an electric or hydraulic hauler supplied by the IPHC or the vessel's crab or longline hauler. A separate cable may be hand deployed to carry a video signal from the camera to the vessel, where a monitoring system will allow for observance of fish behavior. Hook attacks will be monitored and recorded.

Bids must be mailed or faxed in time to arrive in the Commission's Seattle office by 12:00 noon (Pacific Daylight Time) on Friday, March 16, 2012.