The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) is seeking longline vessels to conduct survey fishing in 2016. 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. Legal-sized halibut from all skates and some bycatch will be retained, sampled for biological data, and sold by the IPHC to reduce charter expenses. The 2016 setline survey will cover 29 regions, from Oregon to the northern Bering Sea including the Aleutian Islands. The 2016 fishing effort includes an expansion into the northern 4D Edge. All regions are open for single year bids. Vessels will fish 6 skates of gear at each station following standard survey protocol. A maximum of 4 stations will be permitted per day. Most regions require 12 - 22 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 20 - 35 days. Vessels are encouraged to bid for multiple areas, and may be awarded up to three regions. Survey fishing must be completed between May 29th and August 31st, 2016.

Vessels need not be licensed for halibut fishing in Canada or the U.S. to be eligible. The IPHC is not restricted as to nationality of the vessels it charters for operation in any area as long as customs regulations are followed. The IPHC will consider only those vessels with captains and crews that have halibut fishing experience. Most areas require vessels that have adequate deck space and suitable accommodations for two to three Commission employees (who may be women). Vessels must supply conventional fixed-hook setline gear built to Commission Standards (see Charter Specifications) as well as all associated equipment normally required for commercial halibut fishing. Interested vessel owners are invited to submit bids based upon standard IPHC contract structure.

The IPHC may require an inspection of the vessel by IPHC staff prior to awarding the charter. Bids will be evaluated based on (1) the experience of captain and crew with halibut fishing, (2) the characteristics and safety features of the vessel, (3) vessel's availability, and (4) IPHC operating costs. The lowest or any bid will not necessarily be accepted, and the Commission will contract according to its own best interests.

For further information please contact Anna Henry (ext. 7668), Tracee Geernaert (ext. 7665), or Heather Gilroy (ext. 7666) at (206) 634-1838.

Charter Specifications and Vessel Tender Forms for this project may be requested from the Commission or downloaded using the links below. Bids must be received at the IPHC office in Seattle by 12:00 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time) on Monday, March 14th, 2016.

Please be advised that we have revised the bid specifications for Expanded Survey Stations: 4D Edge South, 4D Edge Central, and 4D Edge North.

Stations will now be fished if they are within the depth range of 50 fm to 400 fm. This is a change from previous specifications with a depth range of 75 fm to 400 fm.

The updated specifications are as follows (new text is in red):

  • The same standards for gear and effort as the standard survey apply.
  • As some of the station locations are new to IPHC surveys, the skipper will be provided some discretion (within predefined limits listed below) in station positioning to maximize successful station completion.
  • Prospect all new stations to ensure they are within the expanded depth parameters (>50 fm and <400 fm)
  • If shallower (<50 fm) or deeper (>400 fm) at the designated coordinate, then forego (don’t fish) that station.
  • If the station depth is within our parameters, but bottom topography or other constraints (land, rocks, drop offs, traffic lanes, etc.) preclude setting the center of the gear through that location, move the station no more than 3 nm from the original coordinate while striving to keep it within the depth band of the original coordinate (>50 – 275 fm, or >275 and <400 fm). If the station is between 50 fm and 75 fm strive to keep it as close to 75 fm as possible.
  • A single coordinate indicating the center of the set is given for each station location. The gear should be set through this position in either a N-S or E-W orientation.
  • Unfished stations will be deducted on a prorated basis from your final lump sum payment (e.g. Lump Sum Bid Dollar Value / Total Number of Stations bid upon). Please factor in costs for prospecting stations when considering bids in these areas.

If you have already submitted a bid and would like to revise your bid for these regions due to this new information, please submit your revised bid by 12:00 noon (Pacific Daylight Time) on Monday, March 14, 2016. If your bid is not impacted by these changes please disregard.