Fishery Removals

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					Fishery Removals

2006 commercial fishery and regulation changes
Heather L. Gilroy, Lara M. Hutton, and Kirsten A. Gravel

    This section presents the 2006 regulations and the results of the commercial halibut fishery.
All 2006 catch and landing data are preliminary. The data sources were the International Pacific
Halibut Commission (IPHC), US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Fisheries, Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and state agencies including
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and Oregon Department of Fish and
Wildlife (ODFW).

Regulatory areas for 2006
    Boundary lines for the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) regulatory areas
(Figure 1) have remained the same since 1990. The southeastern flats in the Bering Sea, excluding
Bristol Bay, remained closed in 2006 to all halibut fishing. A brief description of the regulatory
areas for the 2006 halibut fishery follows:

    Area 2A - all waters off the coast of the States of California, Oregon, and Washington.
    Area 2B - all waters off the coast of British Columbia.
    Area 2C - all waters off the coast of Alaska, south and east of Cape Spencer.
    Area 3A - all waters between Cape Spencer and Cape Trinity, Kodiak Island.
    Area 3B - all waters between Cape Trinity and a line extending southeast from Cape Lutke,
              Unimak Island.
    Area 4A - all waters west of Area 3B and the Bering Sea closed area that are south of 56o20’ N
              and east of 172o00’ W.
    Area 4B - all waters in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea west of Area 4A and south of
              56o20’ N.
    Area 4C - all waters in the Bering Sea north of Area 4A and the closed area that are east of
              longitude 171o00’ W, south of 58o00’ N, and west of 168o00’ W.
    Area 4D - all waters in the Bering Sea north of Areas 4A and 4B, north and west of Area 4C,
              and west of 168o00’ W.
    Area 4E - all waters in the Bering Sea north and east of the closed area, east of Areas 4C and
              4D, and south of 65o34’ N.

Changes to the regulations for 2006
     The regulations for the 2006 fishery were adopted at the Commission’s 2006 Annual Meeting
in Bellevue, Washington and were later approved by the Canadian and United States governments
with one exception. The Canadian government allowed the landing of live halibut caught in British
Columbia waters by choosing not to approve the regulation that required commercially caught
halibut to have their gills and entrails removed before being offloaded from a vessel.

                                                    IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
     At the Annual Meeting, the Commission continued its discussions on season length and
received industry support for opening dates of February 26 or March 15. The U.S. Conference
Board (CB) members and Processor Advisory Group recommended February 26 and the Canadian
CB members recommended March 15. This was unusual as generally the CB presents a united
position with one recommended opening date. There was agreement to open the fishery on a
Sunday to facilitate marketing. The Canadian Individual Vessel Quota (IVQ) fishery in Area 2B
and the United States Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) and Community Development Quota (CDQ)
fisheries in Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E commenced at 12 noon local time on March
5 and closed at 12 noon local time on November 15. The treaty Indian commercial fishery in Area
2A was required to occur during the same calendar period (March 5 to November 15).
     The Commission adopts biologically-based catch limits for all individual regulatory areas
and for Areas 4CDE combined. The individual catch limits adopted for Regulatory Areas 4C,
4D, and 4E are determined by the catch sharing plan implemented by the North Pacific Fishery
Management Council (NPFMC). This catch sharing plan and IPHC regulations allow Area 4D
CDQ to be harvested in Area 4E and Area 4C IFQ and CDQ to be fished in Areas 4C or 4D. These
measures facilitate implementation of the action approved by the NPFMC.
     The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) allocates halibut catch limits between user
groups in Area 2A through a catch sharing plan. In 2000, the U.S. Federal courts ordered an
adjustment in the halibut allocations for the years 2000 through 2007. Therefore 25,000 pounds of
catch limit was transferred from non-tribal to tribal fisheries in 2006, after applying the allocation
percent by tribal (35%) and non-tribal (65%) fisheries. The Area 2A licensing regulations have
remained unchanged since 2000. All fishers have had to choose between a commercial or sport
charter vessel license. Further, commercial fishers have had to choose between a license for (1)
retaining halibut caught incidentally during the salmon troll fishery, or (2) fishing in the directed
commercial halibut fishery (south of Point Chehalis, WA) and/or retaining halibut caught
incidentally in the primary sablefish fishery (north of Point Chehalis). The 2006 deadline dates
for mailing license applications remained the same as previous years: March 31 for the incidental
halibut license for the salmon season, and May 1 (as April 30 was on the weekend) for the license
for the directed commercial fishery and halibut incidentally taken during the sablefish fishery.
     In Area 2A, the non-treaty directed commercial fishery had 10-hour fishing periods beginning
at 8:00 a.m. and closing at 6:00 p.m. local time, scheduled for June 28, July 12, July 26, August
9, August 23, September 6, and September 20, 2006. Catches were monitored after each fishing
period and the fishery was closed when the catch limit was taken.
     For the third year, IPHC adopted a combined sport and commercial catch limit for Area 2B
that was to be allocated to the sport and commercial user groups by the Canadian Department
of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). The catch limit was partitioned between commercial and sport
fishers by an 88 to 12 ratio.
     For Area 2A, the Commission approved regulations to change the sport fishery possession
limits. The 2006 sport fishery possession limit on land was two halibut (U.S. origin) in Washington,
three daily bag limits in Oregon, and two daily bag limits in California. The sport possession limit
on the water in Area 2A was the same as the daily bag limits. For the Area 2A commercial fishery,
the Commission passed a regulation requiring that the person completing the State fish ticket (first
recipient, commercial fish processor, or buyer) record on the fish ticket whether the halibut weight
is head-on or head-off fish, or record the corresponding product code.

     The IPHC regulations were changed to recognize the First Nation’s Food Fishery in Area 2B.
Also, the IPHC regulations were changed to require the new British Columbia Integrated Fisheries
Logbook, replacing the requirement to complete the Halibut Fishery Logbook. Additionally, the
requirement was removed that logbooks in Area 2B be completed no later than 24 hours after
midnight local time for each day fished and prior to offload, as this requirement was obsolete with
the new fisheries plan.
     The Commission removed an obsolete regulation that required vessel operators to record
personal use halibut in the vessel’s logbook within 24-hours of offload. This was not necessary as
all halibut caught are recorded in the logbook and all halibut retained are weighed and recorded on
the landing documentation whether they are sold or retained for personal use.
     For landings in Alaska, the IPHC regulations were revised to allow the Interagency Electronic
Recording System (eLandings) as an option along with State fish tickets. A definition of net weight
of halibut was added to the IPHC regulations. Net weight is defined as gutted, head-off, and without
ice and slime. The catch limits are always in terms of net weight and this was also stated in the

Regulations, catch limits, commercial catch, and seasons for the Area 2A,
Metlakatla, and the Quota Share fisheries.
     Commercial catch and catch limits by regulatory area for 1997 through 2006 are shown in
Table 1. In addition to the fishing season, catch, and catch limits, the expanded catch limit has been
provided for 2006 (Table 2). The expanded catch limit represents the IPHC catch limit including the
adjustments from the underage and overage programs. Prior to 1995, the IPHC research catch was
included in the commercial catch and not shown separately. For comparisons among years, total
catch should be used. The following paragraphs review catch limits, commercial catch, seasons,
and trends for each area.

Area 2A
     Area 2A was managed to provide a total allowable catch of 1,380,000 pounds for all user
groups (Table 3). The allocation among user groups was recommended to the IPHC by the PFMC,
and the IPHC adopted their recommendations. The sport fishery was allocated 525,576 pounds and
is discussed in another section of this Report of Assessment and Research Activities (Blood 2007).
The treaty Indian fishery was allocated a total of 508,000 pounds: 36,000 pounds for ceremonial
and subsistence use and 472,000 pounds for their commercial fishery. The PFMC catch sharing
plan stated that if the Area 2A total allocation were over 900,000 pounds, the primary limited entry
longline sablefish fishery north of Point Chehalis, WA would be allocated part of the Washington
sport allocation poundage. Therefore, there was an incidental halibut fishery with a catch limit
of 70,000 pounds during this sablefish season. The remaining non-treaty commercial catch limit
was 276,424 pounds, with 234,960 pounds allocated to the directed fishery and 41,464 pounds
to the incidental catch in the salmon troll fishery. The directed commercial fishery was restricted
to waters south of Point Chehalis, WA (46°53’18”N) and the incidental halibut fishery during the
sablefish season was restricted to waters north of Point Chehalis under regulations promulgated
by NOAA.
     IPHC licensed sport charter and commercial vessels in Area 2A. In 2006, the IPHC issued
662 Area 2A vessel licenses: 224 licenses for the incidental commercial catch of halibut during

                                                      IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
the salmon troll fishery, 298 for the directed commercial fishery and the incidental halibut during
sablefish fishery, and 140 for the sport charter fishery. The number of 2006 sport licenses issued
(140) was similar to the number issued in 2005. There was an increase in number of licenses issued
between 2005 and 2006 for the directed commercial/incidental during sablefish fishery (+82) and
a decrease for the incidental halibut during the salmon troll season (-168). The change within
the commercial fisheries could be due to the restrictions placed on the salmon troll fisheries that
prompted fishers to try the directed halibut fishery as an option.
     In the incidental commercial halibut fishery conducted during the salmon troll season, the
allowable incidental catch ratio was one halibut per three chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha),
plus an “extra” halibut per landing. However, the total number of incidental halibut per vessel per
landing could not exceed 35. The 1:3 ratio of halibut to chinook has remained the same since 2000,
but had increased over the previous years, from the 1:20 ratio seen in the first year of the program
(1995). The incidental commercial halibut fishery during the salmon season opened on May 1 and
closed on November 15 when the commercial halibut fishery closed for the year. The halibut catch
was 18% (7,500 pounds) under the catch limit.
     The directed commercial fishery consisted of three 10-hour fishing periods with fishing period
limits (Table 4). The fishing period limits by vessel class remained high for the first two openings
with H-class vessels receiving 8,000 and 9,000 pounds per opening, respectively. The last fishing
period had a relatively low limit with H-class vessels receiving 2,300 pounds. The total directed
commercial catch was 0.4% (1,000 pounds) over the catch limit.
     The incidental halibut fishery during the limited-entry sablefish season opened May 1 and
closed on October 31 with the closure of the sablefish season. The catch was 7% (5,000 pounds)
under the catch limit of 70,000 pounds.
     Since 2005, the Treaty Indian tribes have agreed upon a management plan that includes
allocation levels to tribes or groups of tribes. In the tribal fishery, 75% of the commercial catch
limit was allocated to specific tribes or tribal groups and was taken between March 5 and July 18.
The remaining catch limit (25%) was open to all tribes, subject to daily limits of 500 pounds per
vessel. The total tribal commercial catch was 0.8% (4,000 pounds) over the catch limit.

Area 2C Metlakatla fishery
     The Metlakatla Indian Community was authorized by the United States government to conduct
a commercial halibut fishery within the Annette Islands Reserve. Nine 48-hour fishing periods
took place between June 10 and October 1, producing a total catch of 34,871 pounds (Table 5),
which was included in the Area 2C commercial catch. The catch was almost ten thousand pounds
less than last year’s catch of 45,000 pounds. The total catch has varied over time from a high of
126,000 pounds in 1996 to a low of 12,000 pounds in 1998.

The Quota Share fisheries
    The Quota Share (QS) fisheries of Area 2B and Alaska were open from March 5 to November
15. The following paragraphs discuss the fisheries by area and landing patterns.

Area 2B
    The IPHC adopted a combined sport and commercial catch limit of 13,220,000 pounds for
Area 2B that was to be allocated to the user groups by DFO. An additional 20,000 pounds was
added to include the projected commercial wastage, resulting in a total catch limit of 13,240,000

pounds. The commercial fleet allocation of 88% of the total catch limit (11,651,000 pounds) was
reduced by 20,000 pounds to account for wastage, resulting in an allocation of 11,631,000 pounds.
An additional 79,920 pounds was available from the 2005 underage/overage program. Each vessel
was allocated a fixed poundage of halibut, or an IVQ, as calculated by DFO. The Area 2B catch
of 11,720,000 pounds was within 1% of the catch limit.
     When the initial halibut IVQ program was implemented in 1991, four hundred and thirty-
five vessels received IVQs. Each initial IVQ was split into two shares called blocks. Numerous
changes have been made since then, including first allowing temporary block transfers (1993)
and then permanent block and IVQ transfers (1999). Since 1999, the number of active vessels has
varied from year to year, ranging from a high of 257 (in 1999) to a low of 214 (in 2002). Several
small sub-areas in Area 2B were closed to halibut fishing to protect localized stocks of non-halibut
species and to provide improved access to food fish for the First Nations’ communities.
     In 2006, DFO implemented a Groundfish Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (Plan) to
meet conservation needs, including addressing rockfish conservation concerns and improving
catch monitoring. This Plan was developed with consultation by the groundfish industry and other
stakeholders through the Commercial Groundfish Integrated Advisory Committee (CGIAC). A
pilot program was developed by a sub-committee of the CGIAC and implemented in 2006. With
the implementation of this three-year pilot program, significant changes were made to the longline
groundfish fisheries, including the halibut fishery. The pilot fishery included IQs for all longline
groundfish fisheries, transferability with limits between licence holders, 100% at-sea and dockside
monitoring, and vessel accountability for all catch, both landed and discarded.
     A key component of the Plan was the 100% monitoring through logbook recordings, video
camera coverage, and dockside coverage. A newly designed logbook, which allowed the recording
of all retained and discarded species, was to be used to compare to the video recordings.
     IPHC will be reviewing how the Plan has affected the halibut fleet dynamics and fishing
patterns. Data are not available to report on any changes to fishing patterns, number of active
vessels landing halibut, or number of vessels and landings from within the Native Communal
Commercial Fishing Program (F licenses).

     The IFQ halibut and sablefish fisheries have been in effect in Alaska since 1995. NOAA
Restricted Access Management (RAM) allocated halibut QS to recipients by IPHC Regulatory
Area. Quota share transfers were permitted with restrictions on the amount of QS a person could
hold and the amount that could be fished per vessel. In early June 2006, RAM reported that 3,237
persons held quota shares, down from the initial 4,830 persons at the start of the program.
     The total 2006 catch from the IFQ/CDQ halibut fishery for the waters off Alaska was 54,124,000
pounds, two percent under the catch limit. For Areas 2C and 4A, the commercial QS catches were
within three percent of the catch limits. For Areas 3A and 3B, the commercial QS catches were
within one percent of the catch limits and Area 4B’s catch was within seven percent of the catch
limit. The Commission adopts biologically-based catch limits for all individual regulatory areas
and for Areas 4CDE combined. The individual catch limits adopted for Regulatory Areas 4C,
4D, and 4E are determined by the catch sharing plan implemented by the North Pacific Fishery
Management Council (NPFMC). As mentioned, this catch sharing plan allowed Area 4D CDQ
to be harvested in Area 4E and Area 4C IFQ and CDQ to be fished in Areas 4C or 4D. These two

                                                     IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
regulations are the reason why the catch in Area 4D exceeded the catch limit. The total commercial
catch of 3,230,000 pounds was under the combined Area 4CDE catch limit (3,550,000 pounds).

Landing patterns and highlights
     Homer received over 9,500,000 pounds of halibut, or about 17% of the commercial Alaskan
catch (55,260,000 pounds). Kodiak and Seward received the second and third largest landing
volumes, each moving between 11%-15% of the Alaskan commercial catch. In southeast Alaska,
Sitka received 3,900,000 pounds, Juneau 3,100,000 pounds, and Petersburg 3,000,000 pounds.
Only 2.3% of the Alaskan QS catch was landed outside of Alaska.
     Commercial trips from Area 2B were delivered into 21 different ports in 2006. Several small
ports (Bella Bella, Delta, French Creek, North Delta, Quadra Island and Shearwater) received
fewer than three deliveries each in 2006. The ports of Prince Rupert/Port Edward, Port Hardy, and
Vancouver were the major landing locations, receiving about 87% of the Area 2B commercial catch.
Port Hardy and Prince Rupert/Port Edward received about 41 and 39% of the B.C. commercial
landings, respectively.
     The 2006 QS fishery landings were spread over nine months of the year (Table 6). On a
month-to-month comparison, May was the busiest month for Alaska landings, as it has been for
the last six years. May landings represented 17.2% of the total catch for Alaska, which was an
increase from 16.0% in 2005. As in 2005, March was the busiest month for poundage delivered
in British Columbia. In 2006, 19.3% of the Area 2B catch was landed in March compared with
16.9% of the catch being delivered during the same month last year. The 2006 average ex-vessel
price was likely well over $3.00 (U.S.) per pound, which was greater than in 2005, and some prices
reached over $5.00 per pound late in the 2006 season.
     The landing of live halibut from Area 2B was legally allowed by DFO. Live fish landings have
ranged from a low of 7,900 pounds in 1998 to a high of 103,000 pounds in 1999. Live fish landings
did occur in 2006 but information regarding the total amount landed is unavailable.

Electronic reporting project for Alaska
     IPHC, ADF&G, and NMFS staffs have worked with contractors initially hired by Pacific States
Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) to implement a cooperative interagency electronic fishery
reporting system for commercial landing records in Alaska. The project included designing a web-
based Interagency Electronic Reporting System (IERS) with the repository database in the Alaska
State Office Building in Juneau. In May 2006, IERS was optional for statewide groundfish landings
and for IFQ/CDQ halibut and sablefish. Since the program is operational 24/7 the governmental
agencies are working with an outside company to provide help desk support during non-business
hours. For halibut, the system reduces duplicative reporting resulting from the current requirements
of completing ADF&G fish tickets and NMFS RAM quota share reports. The software application
(eLandings) records data elements required by regulations, prints fish tickets, and connects with
the NMFS quota share database. The appropriate data from IERS are being sent to the agencies for
their internal databases. The application allows processors to import or export data into their own
databases so that double entry is not necessary. Industry personnel and agency staff have provided
feedback on the operation and the application is continuously being modified to add features.

Blood, C. L. 2007. 2006 sport fishery. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research
    Activities 2006: this volume.

                                                   IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
Table 1. Commercial catch (including IPHC research catch) and catch limits of Pacific halibut
by IPHC regulatory area (in thousands of pounds, net weight), 1997 - 2006.
    Reg                                                        Commercial Catch1
    Area           1997         1998        1999       20002         2001       2002          2003        2004      20052       20063
    2A4             413          460         450         482          680        851           819         892        803         820
     2B          12,420       13,172      12,705      10,811     10,288       12,074        11,789      12,161     12,331      11,775
     2C            9,920      10,196      10,143       8,445         8,403     8,602         8,410      10,295     10,625      10,469
     3A          24,628       25,698      25,316      19,288     21,541       23,131        22,748      25,052     26,033      25,381
     3B            9,072      11,161      13,835      15,413     16,336       17,313        17,231      15,614     13,171      11,026
     4A            2,907       3,418       4,369       5,155         5,015     5,091         5,024       3,476      3,404       3,313
     4B            3,318       2,901       3,571       4,692         4,466     4,080         3,863       2,708      1,975       1,603
     4C            1,117       1,256       1,762       1,737         1,647     1,210           886         956        534 5
    4D             1,152       1,308       1,891       1,931     1,8446        1,7536        1,9656     1,6676     2,5785,6    2,3975,6
     4E             251          188         264         351          4796      5556          4156        3106        3696        3566
    Total        65,198       69,758      74,306      68,305     70,699       74,660        73,141      73,131     71,823      67,644
    Reg                                                    Commercial Catch Limits      7

    Area           1997         1998        1999       2000          2001       2002         2003         2004       2005        2006
    2A 4
                   374.2       440.9       412.5       468.1         681.4     817.9         817.9       890.4      788.6       818.5
     2B          12,500       13,000      12,100      10,600     10,510       11,750        11,750      12,141     11,658      11,631
     2C          10,000       10,500      10,490       8,400         8,780     8,500         8,500      10,500     10,930      10,630
     3A          25,000       26,000      24,670      18,310     21,890       22,630        22,630      25,060     25,470      25,200
     3B            9,000      11,000      13,370      15,030     16,530       17,130        17,130      15,600     13,150      10,860
     4A            2,940       3,500       4,240       4,970         4,970     4,970         4,970       3,470      3,339       3,350
     4B            3,480       3,500       3,980       4,910         4,910     4,180         4,180       2,810      2,260       1,670
     4C            1,160       1,590       2,030       2,030         2,030     2,030         2,030       1,720      1,815       1,610
    4D             1,160       1,590       2,030       2,030         2,030     2,030         2,030       1,720      1,815       1,610
     4E             260          320         390         390          390        390          390          345        359         330
    Total       65,874.2    71,440.9    73,712.6    67,138.1   72,721.4      74,427.9   74,427.9      74, 256.4   71,685.6    67,709.5
  Commercial catch includes IPHC research catch and in Area 2C, the Metlakatla fishery catch.
  Poundage figures have been updated from previous publications.
  Does not include treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence fish.
  Area 4C IFQ and CDQ could be fished in Area 4D.
  Areas 4D CDQ could be fished in Area 4E by NOAA enforcement waiver (2001) and IFQ regulation (since 2002).
  Additional carryover from the underage/overage plan for the QS programs not included.

Table 2. Commercial fishing periods, number of fishing days, catch limit, commercial, research
and total catch (thousands of pounds, net weight) by regulatory area for the 2006 Pacific
halibut commercial fishery (preliminary, landing as of November 22, 2006).
                                                 Catch             No. of         Commercial        Research     Total
       Area 2A           Fishing Period          Limit             Days             Catch            Catch       Catch
     treaty Indian          3/5 – 7/18                                                    364
                            3/22- 7/18                                                      112
         total                                        472.0                                 476                       476
     Incidental in      May 1 – Nov 15
                                                       41.5                 199              34                        34
    Salmon fishery

      Incidental in                                                                          65                        65
                          May 1- Oct 31                70.0                 184
    Sablefish fishery
        Directed             June 281                               10-hours               78
                             July 121                                      “              113
                             July 261                                      “               45
      Direct total                                     235                                236               9        245
       2A Total                                      818.5                                811               9        820
                                                 Catch          Expanded          Commercial        Research     Total
         Area            Fishing Period
                                                 Limit         Catch Limit2         Catch            Catch       Catch
         2B                3/5   – 11/15            11,631           11,711           11,7203              55     11,775
         2C                3/5   – 11/15            10,630           10,964           10,3744              95     10,469
         3A                3/5   – 11/15            25,200           25,497            24,908             473     25,381
         3B                3/5   – 11/15            10,860           11,032            10,797             229     11,026
         4A                3/5   – 11/15             3,350            3,413             3,260              53      3,313
         4B                3/5   – 11/15             1,670            1,734             1,555              48      1,603
         4C                3/5   – 11/15             1,610            1,643              4985               6        504
         4D                3/5   – 11/15             1,610            1,635           2,3785, 6            19      2,397
         4E                3/5   – 11/15               330              330              3546              27        356
     Alaska Total                                   55,260           56,257            54,124             925     55,049
     Grand Total                                  67,709.5           67,968            66,655             989     67,644
  Fishing period limits by vessel class.
  Includes adjustments from the underage and overage programs.
  Includes the pounds that were landed by Native communal commercial licenses (F licenses).
  Includes pounds taken by Metlakatla Indians during additional fishing within reservation waters.
  Area 4C IFQ and CDQ can be fished in Area 4D.
  Areas 4D and 4E CDQ can be fished in either area regardless of quota share by NMFS regulations.
  Includes 1,337 pounds from closed area.

                                                                    IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
Table 3. The Area 2A 2006 catch limits allocated by the Pacific Fishery Management Council
Catch Sharing Plan and preliminary catch estimates (pounds, net weight).
                          Area                                      Catch Limit     Catch
 Non-treaty directed commercial                                         234,960    236,000
 Non-treaty incidental commercial with salmon troll fishery               41,464     34,000
 Non-treaty incidental commercial with sablefish fishery                   70,000     65,000

 Treaty Indian commercial                                               472,000    476,000
 Treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence                                36,000     36,000

 Sport - North of Columbia River                                        237,257    243,901
 Sport - South of Columbia River                                        266,122    276,975

                                                 Total allocation     1,380,000   1,375,000
                                             IPHC research catch                      9,000
                                                            Total     1,380,000   1,384,000

Table 4. The fishing period limits (net weight) by vessel class used in the 2006 directed
commercial fishery in Area 2A.
     Vessel Class                      Fishing Periods (Pounds)
   Letter      Feet               June 28      July 12          July 26
     A         0-25                   670          755              200
     B        26-30                   840          945              240
     C        31-35                 1,345        1,510              385
    D         36-40                 3,705        4,165            1,065
     E        42-45                 3,985        4,480            1,145
     F        46-50                 4,770        5,365            1,370
    G         51-55                 5,320        5,985            1,530
    H          56+                  8,000        9,000            2,300

Table 5. Metlakatla community fishing periods, number of vessels, and halibut catch (net
weight), 2006.
    Fishing Period Dates         Number Of Vessels                Catch (Pounds)
    June 10 – 12                                       9                     6,347
    June 23 – 25                                      11                     4,683
    July 7 – 9                                         6                     2,266
    July 21 – 23                                       8                     4,485
    August 4 – 6                                       7                     8,298
    August 18 – 20                                     9                     5,589
    September 1 – 3                                    5                     2,231
    September 15 – 17                                  3                       972
    September 29 – Oct. 1                              0                         0
    9 Fishing Periods                                                       34,871

Table 6. The total pounds (thousands, net weight, preliminary) of 2006 commercial landings
(not including research catch) of Pacific halibut for Alaska and British Columbia by regulatory
area and month.
                     March     April     May       June         July    Aug.      Sept.      Oct.      Nov.        Total
        2B1           2,267    1,839 1,360       1,152         1,329 1,306         858     1,190        419     11,720
        2C            1,117    1,483 1,621       1,756           968 1,469         933       759        268     10,374
        3A            3,329    3,159 5,156       3,240         1,920 3,122       2,035     2,124        823     24,908
        3B              350      613 2,152       1,581         1,966 1,982       1,053       773        327     10,797
        4A                         7    222        491           526 1,105         568       247         94      3,260
        4B2              20       19    133        450           339    354        151        66         23      1,555
        4C2               -        -      -         54           202    202         40         -          -        498
        4D2               -        -     19        154           530    734        656       285          -      2,378
        4E2               -        -      -         83           172     61         24        14          -        354
    Alaska Total      4,816    5,281 9,303       7,809         6,623 9,029       5,460     4,268      1,535     54,124
       Total          7,083    7,120 10,663      8,961         7,952 10,335      6,318     5,458      1,954     65,844
    Based on landing ratios from DFO website.
    Based on NOAA monthly catch ratios of IFQ landings.

                                                                IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006

                      4D    4C    4E                                            British
   N. Latitude

                                                                     2C           Columbia

                       4B                                                  2B



                           North Pacific Ocean

                           175     165          155           145    135           125        115

                                                      W. Longitude

Figure 1. IPHC regulatory areas for the 2006 fishery.

2006 sport fishery
Calvin L. Blood

    Estimates of 1977-2005 Pacific halibut sport fishery landings, with projections for 2006, are
summarized. The 2005 sport harvest was the highest ever recorded. Landings in Area 2B, 2C and
3A were the highest recorded for each area. Current year’s harvest and catch performance for Area
2A are also reported.

     Sport fishing regulations for 2006 in Alaska and British Columbia were similar to those in
2005. Allocative regulations for sport, commercial, and treaty Indian fisheries in Area 2A specified
by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) as a Catch Sharing Plan (Plan) were adopted
by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) at the 2006 IPHC Annual Meeting. In
accordance with United States domestic law, the Plan was published in the Federal Register with a
request for public comment. The sport fishery in Area 2A was divided into several subareas within
which seasons were managed by catch limits (Tables 1 and 2). Charter vessels were required to
obtain a license from the IPHC to possess halibut during open seasons. Vessels were also required
to declare whether they intended to operate as a sport charter or commercial vessel; licenses could
be held for only one category. Minor modifications to the Plan were implemented to facilitate
management strategies. Specific area-closures were also in effect to protect certain species of
rockfish (Sebastes spp.) on sport halibut fishing grounds.
     Final estimations of the 2005 sport halibut harvest indicate that the charter sector had exceeded
the Guideline Harvest Level (GHL) in Areas 2C and 3A by 36 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
Discussions are underway in the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) on which
management measures would be best to bring the catch back under the GHL for 2007 or 2008. At
the NPFMC’s December 2006 meeting several discussion papers were reviewed by the Council.
Included among the papers were: 1) a proposal to implement a 5-halibut annual limit in Area 2C,
2) a possible Halibut Act amendment to delegate limited management of halibut to the State of
Alaska, 3) technical corrections to a Council adopted moratorium (limited entry) program for the
charter halibut fisheries in Area 2C and 3A, and 4) assistance to the Council in narrowing options
for analysis of a permanent solution for the charter halibut fisheries, either in the form of a direct
allocation or a quota share system. Results of those discussions were unavailable at press time.

Harvest estimations
    The 2006 Area 2A harvest estimates for the various subareas were provided to IPHC by the
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW; D. Bodenmiller and L. ZumBrunnen, ODFW,
Marine Region, 2040 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, Oregon 97365, pers. comm.) and
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW; M. K. Culver, WDFW, 48 Devonshire
Road, Montesano, Washington 98563-9618, pers. comm.) from in-season creel census estimates.
The exception to estimation via creel census was Washington Inside Waters (WIW), which was

                                                       IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
assessed by a post-season phone survey. The Area 2B harvest estimate was provided by the
Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO; D. Adams, DFO Regional Headquarters,
Vancouver, British Columbia, pers. comm.) and modified by the IPHC to include the Canadian
catch landed at Neah Bay, Washington. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)
typically provides final harvest estimates for the previous year for Areas 2C, 3, and 4. Current year
projections are made annually by ADF&G staff for the IPHC, based on a creel survey in Area 2C
and port sampling in Area 3A. The Area 3A estimate for 2006 was based on a linear projection
of total numbers of halibut harvested during the five most recent annual harvests. The resultant
numbers of halibut were converted to total pounds net weight by multiplying numbers by the
respective 2006 average individual fish weight (average weight) for each area (Table 3).
     In Area 2C, the projected number of fish harvested within each Statewide Harvest Survey
(SWHS) area was also based on a linear projection of the most recent five years of harvest
estimates. This change in methodology now aligns Areas 2C and 3A with respect to how the
projections are conducted. The previous method used for Area 2C (moving five-year average of
the ratio between the SWHS and creel survey harvest data) resulted in consistent underestimation,
especially of the harvest within the charter sector. Retrospective analysis indicated that the linear
trend method would have provided less error in the previous projections. (M Jaenicke, ADF&G,
Division of Sport Fish, Box 240020, Douglas, Alaska 99824-0020, pers. comm.). In addition, an
alternative estimate was presented using charter harvest logbook data though August 16, 2006.
This method produced a 2.4 percent lower estimate among charter vessels for Area 2C and an 8.1
percent higher estimate for Area 3A charter vessels, than did the estimates based upon the SWHS
survey. These differences may not be significant for stock assessment purposes and the ADF&G
Sport Fish Division will continue to assess the quality and accuracy of the logbook data. In the
meantime, ADF&G recommends to the IPHC that SWHS projections be used, for the following
reasons: 1) the charter GHLs for Area 2C and Area 3A are based on SWHS estimates, 2) past stock
assessments have been based on SWHS estimates, and 3) the quality and accuracy of the 2006
logbook data have not yet been fully evaluated (S. Meyer, ADF&G, Division of Sport Fish, 3298
Douglas Place, Homer, Alaska 99603-8027, pers. comm.).
     Harvest estimates for Areas 3B and 4 were based on a linear projection of the 2001-2005
harvest estimated from the SWHS. The average weight from 2006 for Kodiak, the nearest sampled
port, was applied to the projected numbers of fish harvested in each Area to generate the 2006
estimated net harvest weights (Table 3). The total coastwide estimated sport landings for 2005
were the highest on record, driven primarily by Areas 2B and 3A reaching their highest ever

Area 2A
     The estimated 2006 harvest from Area 2A was 520,876 pounds (Table 2). This was about one
percent under the catch limit of 525,576 pounds. The harvest estimate for WIW was unavailable
at press time, and reports are uncertain as to the relative magnitude of the catch this year. This
is the fourth year the WIW area has been partitioned into sub-regions. The Washington North
Coast fishery left an estimated 13,439 pounds on the grounds relative to the 119,244 pound quota.
Leaving such a large amount of poundage led to several inquiries by anglers as to how managers
might allow an orderly clean-up in the future, without exceeding the quota. The North Coast
average weight of 23.2 pounds was similar to the average weight of previous years. This year’s
fishery closed after only seven days of fishing. The unique method of splitting the fishery into

separate days of fishing, rather than running consecutively, provided no more fishing than in 2005
and left more halibut unharvested. The Washington South Coast fishery, centered principally out of
Westport, closed an estimated 4,532 pounds above the quota. The average weight of South Coast
halibut was 24.6 pounds, much higher than last year’s average weight of 18.5 pounds. Because
of the overage, the nearshore Washington South Coast fishery could not be re-opened to allow for
incidental retention of halibut while fishing for other groundfish. The Columbia River area closed
at 549 pounds over its quota. Pacific halibut caught later in the summer in the Columbia River area
weighed considerably more on average on the Oregon side (22 pounds) than on the Washington
side (about 16 pounds). While overall fishing days were lower than 2005, fishing extended into
September. Early in the season, small halibut were much more available than larger halibut. As in
previous years, a very high proportion (ranging from 30 percent of the North Washington Coast
catch to 68 percent of the South Washington Coast catch) of the catch was sampled to provide the
average weights for their respective areas.
     The Oregon sport fishery closed closer to the catch limit than it has in recent years. Ample
opportunity was provided to anglers into September, weather permitting. The spring fishery stretched
into the first week of July, when anglers seemed to turn their attention to salmon (Onchorynchus
spp.) and albacore (Thunnus alalunga). Oregon anglers enjoyed a brief increase to a two-fish bag
limit in September, which seemed to encourage more attention to the halibut fishery and hastened
the taking of the Oregon Central Coast quota. As a result, the <40 fathom fishery was shut down
when the Oregon Central Coast fishery exceeded its quota. The overall average weight for the
Oregon sport halibut fishery was 18 pounds in 2006, the same as it was in 2005. As in Washington,
a substantial portion (50 percent) of the available harvest was measured to determine the average

Area 2B
     The catch in numbers of halibut for 2005 was provided to the Commission by the Pacific
Region of DFO. This catch estimate was based on a methodology developed in 1998 by King
and Gjernes (1999). Since average weight information was lacking from British Columbia waters,
average weights compiled in adjacent areas were used to expand the catch in numbers of fish to
total pounds. The catch in the northern DFO region (statistical areas 1-11; King and Gjernes 1999)
was expanded using an average weight from Area 2C (preferably the Ketchikan area) and the catch
in the southern DFO region (statistical areas 12-29; King and Gjernes 1999) was expanded using
the average weight from the catch at Neah Bay, Washington. The final catch estimate for 2005 was
1.841 million pounds and exceeded the sport allocation just shy of 250,000 pounds.
     The 2006 projected harvest (Table 3) was provided by DFO and is based on in-season
estimates. The previous method of projecting the catch used a linear regression to predict the
catch in numbers. The catch in numbers was then expanded into pounds by the aforementioned
average weights from Alaska and Washington for 2006. The Commission will update these harvest
estimates using average weights from British Columbia waters when they become available. The
projected catch in 2006 was 2.262 million pounds.
     In 2006, Washington anglers caught 12,990 halibut in Canadian waters and landed them in
Neah Bay, a number that is nearly 50 percent higher than the 8,816 halibut landed in 2005 and
ends three consecutive years of declining catch from Canadian waters. Using the average weight
of 23.2 pounds provided by WDFW, the estimated harvest was 300,719 pounds.

                                                     IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
Area 2C
     The updated 2005 Area 2C harvest was estimated to be 2.798 million pounds net weight
(Table 4) and the 2006 projected harvest was estimated to be 30,117 million pounds (Table 3). The
numbers of fish harvested were identified by SWHS area and were converted to net weight using
the average weight from each respective user group. Length data were gathered in Ketchikan,
Klawock, Craig, Petersburg, Wrangell, Sitka, Gustavus, Elfin Cove, and Juneau. In 2002, a catch
sampling program was initiated in Gustavus and Elfin Cove so the Gustavus/Elfin Cove average
weight is now applied to Glacier Bay. Neither Haines nor Skagway have been sampled for length
information, so their harvests have historically been projected using Juneau average weights as
a surrogate. The overall average weight for Area 2C in 2005 was 17.2 pounds net weight and
preliminary indications showed the average net weight to have been 17.7 pounds in 2006.

Area 3A
     The Area 3A projected harvest biomass for 2006 was 6.088 million pounds, whereas the 2005
updated estimate was 5.672 million pounds (Tables 3 and 4). As in Area 2C, the 2006 catch estimate
will be updated when the 2006 SWHS catch in numbers become available. The Area 3A harvest
biomass was also estimated for each user group using estimates of the numbers of fish caught by
each group as supplied by the SWHS, and expanded using average weight estimated from length
data collected from the primary ports of sport landings. The sampled ports for 2006included
Yakutat, Whittier, Valdez, Seward, Homer, Deep Creek and Anchor Point beaches, and Kodiak.
The estimate of the charter average weight in Homer was stratified by user group to account for
differences in sizes of halibut cleaned at sea and cleaned onshore. Care was taken to properly
account for harvests by the charter, private, and military recreation camps. The average weight
for 2005 was 17.0 pounds. Preliminary indications suggest the average net weight in 2006 had
dropped slightly, to 16.7 pounds.

Areas 3B and 4
     As in Areas 2C and 3A, 2006 SWHS numbers were not yet available for Areas 3B and 4
at press time, so an estimate of the catch in pounds was made. When the survey data become
available, harvest figures will be updated. In 2005 and 2006, the average weight obtained from
ADF&G sport fish sampling on Kodiak Island was used to estimate the Areas 3B and 4 harvests
in pounds. The average weight increased from 18.4 to 20.9 pounds net weight between 2005 and
2006 (Tables 3 and 4). This may or may not reflect the actual catches. Anecdotal information
gleaned from sport fish publications and conversations with local charter operators suggested that
average weight may have been quite high in Dutch Harbor and Unalaska; therefore, the harvest in
Areas 3B and 4 may have been higher than reported in this document.

Sport tag recoveries
     Only one conventional tag recovery of note occurred in 2006, but it was mighty traveler.
A small halibut tagged in April 2003 for the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby was recovered this
summer off at the north end of the Bandon High spot near southern Oregon. [where?]. Reportedly
the tag was taken off the halibut, but it was returned to the sea unharmed. Young halibut are
known to migrate long distances, but this is the furthest south a Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby
tagged halibut has been recovered. A few years ago a derby tag was recovered off a halibut by a
commercial fisher that landed in Prince Rupert.

     Additionally, two electronic Pop-up Archival Transmitting (PAT) tags (see Loher and Blood,
this volume) were recovered by sport anglers. One fish was captured off Newport, Oregon only 37
days after tagging, whereas the other was captured off Sitka after nearly 11 months at-liberty. The
Oregon fish had strayed less than 30 miles (45 km) between tagging and capture, a relatively short
dispersal that is not unexpected over one month in the summer. Still, the tag return was exciting
if for no other reason than the rich data this type of tag contains. These tags record environmental
data (temperature, depth and light) every minute while attached to the fish, and if recovered we can
learn a lot about the fish’s activity during the tagging interval. For example, the Alaskan fish was
captured less than a mile from its tagging site, and yet from the depth data we were able to determine
that the fish left the area in winter and moved to deep-water grounds on the shelf edge. From such
data we are learning that halibut can actively home to their summer grounds interannually, something
we could never have truly proven from conventional tag returns (Loher, this volume). Several PAT
tags have been recaptured by the commercial longline fleet, but these two were the first recovered by
sport fishers.

King, J. R. and Gjernes, T. W. 1999. Estimate of 1998 recreational catch in British Columbia
    waters. Can. Stock Assessment Secretariat Res. Doc. 99/121.

Loher, T. 2007. Using Pop-up Archival Transmitting (PAT) tags to study seasonal migration
   timing and summer homing rates in the Gulf of Alaska. Int. pacific Halibut Comm. Report of
   Assessment and Research Activities 2006:(this volume).

Loher, T. and Blood, C. L. 2007. Using Pop-up Archival Transmitting (PAT) tags to assess early-
   season dispersion of halibut in Areas 2A and 2B. Int. pacific Halibut Comm. Report of
   Assessment and Research Activities 2006:(this volume).

                                                       IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
                                                              Table 1. Fishing dates, opportunity, size limits, and bag limits for the 2005 Pacific halibut sport fishery.
                                                               Area                                            Fishing dates     Fishing days     Days open       Size limit   Bag limit
                                                                WA Inside Waters (east of Low Point)           April 9-June 18         51         5 (Th-Mon)        None          1
                                                                WA Inside Waters (Low Point to Sekiu River)    May 25-Aug 5            53         5 (Th-Mon)        None          1

                                                                WA North Coast (Sekiu River to Queets River)    May 9, 11, 13          3        5 (Tu, Th, Sat)     None          1
                                                                                                                 May 16, 18            2          (Tu-Thurs)        None          1
                                                                                                                 June 22, 24           2           (Th, Sat)        None          1

                                                               WA South Coast (all depths; Queets River to       May 1-17              13        5 (Sun-Thur)       None          1
                                                               Leadbetter Point)
                                                                 South Coast (nearshore fishery)                  May 1-17              17             7             None          1

                                                               Columbia River (Leadbetter Point to Cape        May 1-May 27            27             7             None          1


                                                                                                                  Aug 4-27             15         3 (Fri-Sun)       None          1
                                                                                                                  Sept 1-3              3         3 (Fri-Sun)       None          1

                                                               OR Central Coast (Spring, all depths; Cape        May 11-27              6         3 (Th-Sat)        None          1
                                                               Falcon to Humbug Mt.)
                                                                                                                 June 1-24              7         3 (Th-Sat)        None          1
                                                                                                                  July 6-8              8         3 (Th-Sat)        None          1

                                                               OR Central Coast (Summer/Fall, all depths;       August 4-18             6         3 (Fri-Sun)       None          1
                                                               Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt.)                        Sept 1-17              9         3 (Fri-Sun)       None          1

                                                               OR Coast (<40 fathoms; Cape Falcon to           May 1-Sept 21          144             7             None          1
                                                               Humbug Mtn.)
                                                               OR/CA (south of Humbug Mt.)                     May 1-Oct 31           184             7             None          1

                                                               2B, 2C, 3 and 4                                  Feb 1-Dec 31          335             7             None          2
Table 2. 2006 catch limits and harvest estimates (in pounds, net weight) by subarea within
Regulatory Area 2A.

 Subarea                             Catch limit            Harvest estimate                     Over/under
      WA Inside Waters                    68,607                         68,607                                0
      WA North Coast                     119,244                        105,805                        -13,439
      WA South Coast                      53,952                         58,484                        +4,532
      Columbia River                      21,170                         21,719                             +549
      OR Central Coast
                                         175,474                        183,689                        +8,215
      (all depths)
      OR Coast                            58,491                         65,860                        +7,369
      OR Coast (<40
                                          20,345                           8,419                       -11,926
      OR/CA (south of
                                              8,293                        8,293                               0
      Humbug Mt.)
      Total                              525,576                        520,876                         -4,700

Table 3. 2006 sport halibut harvest projections for Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, and 4.
 Regulatory                                              Numbers              Average          Net weight in
 Area                  Areas                             projected             weight                pounds
 2B                    DFO Areas 1-11                       55,795               15.8                883,235
                       DFO Areas 12-29                      46,552               23.2              1,077,679
                       WDF&W Neah Bay                       12,990               23.2                300,719
                       Total                               115,337                                 2,261,632

 2C                    Southeast Alaska
                        Charter                            105,651                 20.0             2,113,000
                        Private                             70,798                 14.2             1,004,000
                        Total                              176,449                 17.7             3,117,000
 3A                    Southcentral Alaska
                        Charter                            216,551                 18.2             3,947,000
                        Private                            147,325                 14.5             2,141,000
                        Total                              363,876                 16.7             6,088,000
 3B                    Kodiak Island West                      530                 20.9                11,077
  4                    Bering Sea/Aleutians                  3,035                 20.9                63,432
                        Grand Total                        543,890                                  9,279,509

                                                   IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
Table 4. Estimated harvest by sport fishers (millions of pounds, net weight) by IPHC
Regulatory Area, 1977-2006.
    Year           Area 2A         Area 2B         Area 2C         Area 3A   Area 3B   Area 4    Total
    1977             0.013           0.008           0.072           0.196                       0.289
    1978             0.010           0.004           0.082           0.282                       0.378
    1979             0.015           0.009           0.174           0.365                       0.563
    1980             0.019           0.006           0.332           0.488                       0.845
    1981             0.019           0.012           0.318           0.751              0.012    1.112
    1982             0.050           0.033           0.489           0.716              0.011    1.299
    1983             0.063           0.052           0.553           0.945              0.003    1.616
    1984             0.118           0.062           0.621           1.026              0.013    1.840
    1985             0.193           0.262           0.682           1.210              0.008    2.355
    1986             0.333           0.186           0.730           1.908              0.020    3.177
    1987             0.446           0.264           0.780           1.989              0.030    3.509
    1988             0.249           0.252           1.076           3.264              0.036    4.877
    1989             0.327           0.318           1.559           3.005              0.024    5.233
    1990             0.197           0.381           1.330           3.638              0.040    5.586
    1991             0.158           0.292           1.654           4.264     0.014    0.127    6.509
    1992             0.250           0.290           1.668           3.899     0.029    0.043    6.179
    1993             0.246           0.328           1.811           5.265     0.018    0.057    7.725
    1994             0.186           0.328           2.001           4.487     0.021    0.042    7.065
    1995             0.236           0.887           1.759           4.511     0.022    0.055    7.470
    1996             0.229           0.887           2.129           4.740     0.021    0.077    8.084
    1997             0.355           0.887           2.172           5.514     0.028    0.069    9.025
    1998             0.383           0.887           2.501           4.702     0.017    0.096    8.585
    1999             0.338           0.859           1.843           4.228     0.017    0.094    7.379
    2000             0.344           1.021           2.258           5.305     0.015    0.073    9.017
    2001             0.446           1.015           1.925           4.675     0.016    0.029    8.106
    2002             0.399           1.260           2.090           4.202     0.013    0.048    8.011
    2003             0.404           1.218           2.258           5.427     0.009    0.031    9.348
    2004             0.487           1.613           2.937           5.606     0.007    0.053   10.703
    2005             0.484           1.841           2.798           5.672     0.014    0.050   10.860
    20061            0.521           2.262           3.117           6.088     0.011    0.063   12.062
    Only Area 2A is current; all other areas are projected harvests.

Wastage in the 2006 Pacific halibut fishery
Heather L. Gilroy

     Wastage in the commercial fishery includes legal-sized halibut killed by lost and abandoned
longline gear and sublegal-sized halibut that are discarded and die. Information on lost gear is
collected through logbook interviews and fishing logs received by mail. The ratio of sublegal- to
legal-sized halibut is determined from the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) stock
assessment charters. Wastage estimates from the commercial halibut fishery from 1985-2006 are

     The removals of Pacific halibut from the population accounted for in the International Pacific
Halibut Commission (IPHC) stock assessment include commercial and sport catch, personal use
(ceremonial and subsistence), bycatch, and wastage. Since 1997, the commercial fishery wastage
estimate included in the stock assessment has represented legal-sized removals occurring from lost
or abandoned gear. The estimated mortality of discarded sublegal halibut is accounted for when
setting exploitation rates. Prior to 1997, wastage from the mortality of discarded sublegal halibut
was deducted prior to calculating the setline constant exploitation yield (CEY). The estimated
mortality of discarded sublegal halibut is reported in this paper in order to provide a record of
annual amounts, although the current level will not be shown under total removals in the 2006
stock assessment tables. The 2006 data are preliminary and the 2005 data were recalculated using
the final catch figures.
     Wastage can also occur if more gear is set than is needed to obtain fishing period limits in Area
2A, individual vessel quota (IVQ) in Area 2B, and individual fishing quota (IFQ) and community
development quota (CDQ) in the Alaska regulatory areas. Wastage occurs when the halibut above
these limits are discarded and die. In addition, halibut may occasionally be discarded at sea due
to poor fish quality, which can result from sand flea, shark, or other predation. The amount of
legal-sized halibut caught in excess of quota, or catch limits, and discarded at sea is recorded
during logbook interviews. These amounts are reviewed and over-limit legal-sized discards are not
currently included in the wastage removals.

Wastage from lost or abandoned gear
     Information on the amount of gear lost or abandoned in the halibut longline fishery was
collected through logbook interviews or from fishing logs received via mail. Fishery-wide estimates
were then extrapolated to total catch values using qualified logbook catch and effort statistics. Gear
types varied considerably as to the length of skates, hook size, and hook spacing but the data were
standardized. Only this standardized gear was used in subsequent calculations. Some log data
could not be standardized because there were missing data or because the gear fished differently;
such data were not used in the calculation of effective skates. With the directed halibut IFQ fishery
in Alaska, and with the incidental halibut catch during the sablefish longline fishery in Area 2A,

                                                      IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
there were mixed halibut and sablefish trips as well as trips which targeted sablefish and landed
incidentally-caught halibut. Sablefish gear is considered a non-standard halibut gear that fishes
differently, and therefore was not included in the calculation of wastage.
     Wastage was calculated from the ratio of effective skates lost to effective skates hauled,
multiplied by total catch. The calculation was performed using both fixed hook and snap gear in all
areas. Prior to 1998 the gear-standardization process described above was not conducted. Rather,
the gear type used for the wastage calculation was the gear type used to calculate catch per unit
effort (fixed hook gear was used in Alaska and a combination of fixed hook and snap gear was used
in B.C. and Area 2A). The Area 2A catch has always included the non-treaty directed commercial
catch, treaty commercial catch, and incidental catch during the longline sablefish fishery. Wastage
from lost or abandoned gear was first calculated in 1985 and the wastage estimates by regulatory
area are provided in Table 1.
     The 2006 ratios of effective skates lost to effective skates hauled by regulatory area were as
follows: Area 2A = 0.002; Area 2B = 0.003; Area 2C = 0.002; Area 3A = 0.002; Area 3B = 0.001;
and Area 4 = 0.002. Since the implementation of the quota share fisheries in 1995, the ratios
have fluctuated slightly between years, but have remained lower than they were during the derby

Discard mortality of sublegal halibut
     Discussions at the 1999 IPHC Annual Meeting resulted in changes to calculations of estimated
wastage from sublegal-sized halibut. It was suggested that the IPHC setline survey catch ratio of
sublegal- to legal-sized fish did not represent that of the commercial fleet as the survey vessels
catch more sublegal fish. Prior to 1999, the amount of sublegal halibut caught in the commercial
fishery was estimated from the setline survey catch ratio of sublegal to legal pounds at all survey
stations. The current method used to estimate sublegal catch by the commercial fleet is adjusted
to calculate the sublegal/legal ratio from the setline survey stations that represent the highest one-
third of the legal catch weight in each regulatory area. The ratios of sublegal to legal pounds
calculated from 2006 grid survey data are as follows: Area 2A = 0.09; Area 2B = 0.24; Area 2C
= 0.17; Area 3A = 0.17; Area 3B = 0.27; and Area 4 = 0.11. These adjusted ratios result in 50 to
86 percent less sublegal catch than ratios calculated using all stations. In comparison to the 2005
ratios, the 2006 ratios of sublegal to legal pounds increased in Area 2B and 3B, and decreased in
the other regulatory areas.
     A discard mortality rate (DMR) of 16 percent has been used for all U.S. areas since 1996
and for the Canadian IVQ fishery since 1991. Because of the lack of actual fishery observations,
the rate was originally based on discard mortality rates derived from the 1992-1993 Bering Sea/
Aleutians sablefish hook and line fishery, where the fishing pace is similar to that of the quota
halibut fisheries. Background information on DMRs in that fishery can be found in Williams and
Chen (2003). For the other years, a rate of 25 percent was used as the halibut fishery at the time
was a derby fishery and not a quota share fishery. This rate was based on observations from the
1992-1993 Gulf of Alaska sablefish fishery which had a similar management structure.
     To estimate the pounds of sublegal-sized halibut captured in the commercial halibut fishery,
the Area-specific ratios of sublegal halibut from the annual IPHC setline surveys were multiplied
by the estimated commercial catch in each regulatory area, for each year. The resulting poundage
was then multiplied by the discard mortality rate to obtain the estimated poundage of sublegal-
sized halibut killed in the commercial fishery (Table 2).

Williams, G. H. and Din Chen. 2003. Pacific halibut discard mortality rates in the 1990-2002
    Alaskan groundfish fisheries, with recommendations for monitoring in 2004. Int. Pac. Halibut
    Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2003: 227-244.

Table 1. Estimates of legal-sized Pacific halibut, in thousands of pounds (net weight), killed
by lost and abandoned longline gear in the commercial halibut fishery by IPHC Regulatory
Area for 1985 through 2006.
                                       Regulatory Area
      Year         2A          2B         2C           3A              3B               4          Total
      1985         n/a         n/a        n/a          n/a             n/a            n/a          1,600
      1986         n/a         n/a        n/a          n/a             n/a            n/a          3,200
      1987           3        173        368       1,580              341            257           2,722
      1988         <1          49        206       1,506              122             69           1,952
      1989           7         46        193       1,458              194            130           2,029
      1990         15         117        327        1,110             216            238           2,023
      1991           2         72        347       1,143              418            245           2,227
      1992           7         53        245          643             181            126           1,255
      1993           9         96        192          341              63            113             814
      1994           1         69        228          845              39            107           1,289
      1995           3         39         54          128                9            24             257
      1996           1         29         44          177              22             74             347
      1997           6         37         40           74              54             79             290
      1998           1         53         41          154              56             54             359
      1999           7         40         67          117              71             93             395
      2000           7         28         38           59              58             69             257
      2001           3         46         37           65              32             88             246
      2002           5         36         26          139              34             51             290
      2003           2         35         25           68              35             49             214
      2004           0         36         31           76              15             40             199
      2005           5         37         32          156              26             31             287
      20061          2         35         21           50               11            16             135

                                                   IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
Table 2. Estimates of sublegal-sized Pacific halibut, in thousands of pounds (net weight), killed
in the commercial halibut fishery by IPHC Regulatory Area for 1987 through 2006.
                                                      Regulatory Area
    Year                 2A             2B             2C         3A                  3B              4            Total
    1987                 12            359            160        550                 246            138            1,465
    1988                 10            377            171        665                 225             94            1,542
    1989                  9            296            153        604                 190             99            1,351
    1990                  4            249            147        508                 257            109            1,274
    1991                 10            161            130        743                 298             75            1,417
    1992                 12            171            147        870                 216             83            1,499
    1993                 16            238            169        739                 196             78            1,436
    1994                  8            222            156        807                  97             67            1,357
    1995                  3            169             75        411                  50             38              746
    1996                  3            214            142        410                  88             42              899
    1997                  4            338            143        670                 261            168            1,584
    1998                  4            379            179        576                 286            174            1,598
    19991                 2            343            165        438                 264            158            1,370
    20001                 1            181            133        420                 314            133            1,184
    20011                 3            247            155        390                 448            184            1,427
    20021                 4            182            110        484                 484            132            1,396
    20031                 8            320            102        616                 602            133            1,781
    20041                 4            299            274        675                 716            131            2,099
    20051                 8            353            234        572                 550            208            1,925
    20061,2               5            457            284        704                 481            144            2,075
  Sublegal to legal ratio from IPHC setline surveys from the stations displaying the highest one-third of the legal catch
  in each Regulatory Area. In previous years, this ratio was calculated using all survey stations.

The personal use harvest of Pacific halibut in 2005
Gregg H. Williams

     Halibut is taken from several sources throughout its range as a personal use harvest. The
main sources are the treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence fishery occurring in the waters
off northwest Washington State, the First Nations food fish fishery in British Columbia, and the
recently-created subsistence fishery off Alaska. Estimates of the coastwide personal use harvest in
2005 totaled 1.54 million pounds, virtually unchanged from 2004. Harvests in all areas changed
very little from 2004, and the subsistence harvest in Alaska declined only slightly. No clear yearly
trends have been identified in the Alaskan subsistence fishery harvest.

    The removals of Pacific halibut which are accounted for in the stock assessment include
commercial and sport catch, bycatch, wastage, and personal use. Personal use includes removals
from a variety of sources for which little documented data are available. Sources of personal
use harvest include (1) the federal subsistence fishery in Alaska, (2) the sanctioned First Nations
food fish fishery in Canada, (3) ceremonial and subsistence removals in the Area 2A treaty Indian
fishery, and (4) sublegal sized halibut retained in Areas 4D and 4E under International Pacific
Halibut Commission (IPHC) regulations.

Estimated harvests by area
     The coastwide personal use harvest was estimated by IPHC at more than two million pounds
in 1991, declined rapidly through 1995, and became relatively stable over the following two years
(Table 1). Harvest estimation methods were revised in 1998, and the resulting estimates were
subsequently somewhat higher and remained fairly stable through 2002. Harvests took another
jump in 2003 (Table 2) following the implementation of new subsistence fishery regulations in
Alaska and a more comprehensive harvest estimation survey. It is important to note that many of
the changes seen in the harvest estimates prior to 2003 were due primarily to changes in estimation
methods and may not necessarily have reflected actual changes in harvest levels. The majority of
the personal use harvest was taken from waters off Alaska.

     IPHC began estimating the personal use harvest in Alaska in 1991. Documentation of
estimation methods cannot be located but the resulting estimates showed personal use in Alaska to
be 1.95 million pounds in that year. The estimate for 1992 dropped by almost half, to one million
pounds. Estimates were subsequently made for each IPHC Area independently, but not necessarily
annually for all Areas.
     In 1998, a new methodology was developed by Trumble (1999) to estimate personal use. He
used halibut catch information gathered by household interviews and postal surveys conducted
by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G). The surveys did not distinguish between

                                                      IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
sport and personal use harvests, so Trumble made assumptions about the amount of sport and
personal use in native and non-native households. The resulting estimates were used for Alaska for
1998-2002, with the only annual changes being the amount of sublegal poundage retained by the
Area 4E Community Development Quota (CDQ) fishermen.
      In 2003, a subsistence fishery for halibut was created by the North Pacific Fishery
Management Council, and governed by a separate set of fishery regulations which vary somewhat
by IPHC Regulatory Area. One provision of the subsistence fishery management program was
the establishment an annual survey of fishers to determine the annual harvest. The survey was
conducted by the Subsistence Division of ADF&G. Results for 2005 have been reported by Fall et
al. (in press). The estimates from the 2005 survey totaled 1,178,000 pounds (net weight) in Areas
2C through 4E (Table 2). This represented only a slight decrease from 2004.
      The ADF&G survey indicated that roughly 50 percent of the total subsistence harvest in
Alaska occurred in Area 2C, with 36 percent harvested in Area 3A. The Areas comprising the
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands totaled 104,500 pounds, or 6.8 percent of the coast-wide harvest.
The communities within Area 4E accounted for roughly 60 percent of the harvest in the Bering
Sea/Aleutian Areas.
      IPHC also adds to its annual estimates of personal use the sublegal halibut harvest by the Area
4D/4E CDQ fishery. The ADF&G subsistence survey reported by Fall et al. (in press) included all
registered fishers and households in all Areas, but Area 4D and 4E fishermen were instructed to
not include any retained sublegal halibut caught during commercial fishing. Also, fishermen that
retained sublegals as part of their Area 4D/4E commercial harvest were not required to register
for the subsistence fishery and therefore should not have participated in the survey. Therefore,
the sublegal harvests described by Williams (this volume) were added to the subsistence harvest
estimates reported by Fall et al. (in press) to estimate the total 2005 personal use harvest (Table

British Columbia
     The primary source of personal use harvest in British Columbia was the First Nations food fish
fishery, whose harvests were estimated by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)
at 300,000 pounds. In past years the IPHC has received from DFO some logbook and landing data
for this harvest but those data have not been adequate for IPHC to make an independent estimate of
the food fish fishery harvest. Thus, IPHC relies on DFO for an estimate. In the commercial fishery,
take-home (personal use) fish was considered personal use harvest prior to the implementation of
the Individual Vessel Quota (IVQ) program. Currently, in the IVQ program all halibut landed by
a vessel is weighed by the port monitors at the time of the offload and any take-home fish is taken
from this quantity; thus, personal use is included as part of the vessel’s catch.

Washington, Oregon, and California
     In Area 2A (Washington, Oregon, and California), the Pacific Fishery Management Council
allocates the catch limit to directed and incidental commercial fisheries, sport fisheries, and treaty
Indian fisheries operating off northwest Washington. During 2005, the treaty Indian tribes allocated
38,000 pounds to their ceremonial and subsistence fishery, but harvested only 36,000 pounds.
     State regulations required that personal use fish from the commercial longline halibut fisheries
be recorded on the fish tickets. The personal use removals from the directed commercial fishery

were included in the commercial catch, which is consistent with the procedure used in the quota
share fisheries, therefore are not reported here.

Fall, J. A., Koster, D., and Davis, B. In press. Subsistence harvests of Pacific halibut in Alaska,
     2005. AK Dept. Fish and Game, Tech. Paper. 320. 182 p.

Trumble, R. J. 1999. 1998 estimates of personal use. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment
    and Research Activities 1998:61-64.

Williams, G. H. 2007. Retention of sublegal halibut in the Area 4D/4E CDQ fishery: 2006 harvests.
Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2006: (this volume).

                                                     IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
Table 1. Estimates of the personal use harvest (thousands of pounds, net weight) of Pacific
halibut by IPHC Regulatory Area from 1991-2002.
                                             Regulatory Area
  Year           2A             2B            2C             3A           3B              4         Total
  1991             10.0               50          720        ------1,000------               230      2,010
  1992             14.2              100      -----------------------1,000----------------------      1,114
  1993             15.8              300          108            328            59           121        932
  1994             10.9              300          108            328            59           121        927
  1995             14.2              300           n/a             97           37            94        542
  1996             15.0              300           n/a             97           37            94        543
  1997             14.8              300           n/a             97           37            94        543
  1998             10.5              300          170              74           20           166        741
  1999             10.5              300          170              74           20           170        745
  2000             17.5              300          170              74           20           175        757
  2001             16.0              300          170              74           20           192        772
  2002             16.0              300          170              74           20           180        760

Table 2. Estimates of the personal use harvest (thousands of pounds, net weight) of Pacific
halibut by IPHC Regulatory Area from 2003-2005.
  Year      2A       2B       2C       3A       3B          4A    4B     4C      4D      4E         CDQ     Total
  2003    27.0    300.0    628.0     279.6     27.6     20.7      2.5   23.8    4.4     54.5        14.3   1,382.4
  2004    19.4    300.0    677.1     403.6     33.5     28.9      0.9    9.7   10.9     28.5        16.2   1,528.7
  2005    36.0    300.0    598.1     429.3     46.2     35.6      1.4    7.7    5.8     54.0        23.2   1,537.3

Retention of sublegal halibut in the Area 4D/4E CDQ fishery:
2006 harvests
Gregg H. Williams

     Since 1998, sublegal halibut (<32 inches) have been retained by the Area 4E Community
Development Quota (CDQ) commercial halibut fishery, under an exemption requested by the
North Pacific Fishery Management Council and approved by the International Pacific Halibut
Commission. Beginning in 2002, the retention allowance was expanded to include Area 4D for
only those vessels that land all of their annual catch in Areas 4D or 4E. The amount of retained
halibut has grown from 3,590 pounds in 1998 to as high as 30,267 in 2001. For 2006, a total of
19,710 pounds was reported by three CDQ organizations, a decrease of 15 percent from 2005.

Program history
     The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) initially approved a two-year exemption
to the retention of sublegal halibut in Area 4E at the 1998 Annual Meeting. A reporting requirement
was added for the 1999 fishery. Another two-year exemption was approved at the 2000 Annual
Meeting, covering the 2000 and 2001 fishing seasons. At the 2002 Annual Meeting, IPHC agreed
to extend the allowance to CDQ operations in Area 4D, and to amend the regulation to apply
only to vessels that land all of their catch in Areas 4D or 4E. The IPHC staff agreed to review the
regulation at the end of 2002 to see if it were still necessary under the subsistence fishery regulations
being drafted by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) and National Marine
Fisheries Service. Staff review has yet to occur.
     The harvests reported herein have not been included in the household survey conducted
by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for the subsistence harvest within Alaska. Survey
participants are instructed to not include the sublegal halibut retained during commercial fishing.
Thus, a complete accounting of subsistence harvests should include the figures reported in this

Results for 2006
     Reports for 2006 were received from three organizations: Coastal Villages Regional Fund
(CVRF), Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. (BBEDC), and Norton Sound Economic
Development Corp. (NSEDC). Their reports are summarized below, and the reported amount of
retained sublegal halibut is shown in Table 1. Overall sublegal landings in 2006 totaled 19,710
pounds, down 15 percent from 2005. CVRF and NSEDC reported slightly higher amounts retained
in 2006 compared to 2005. In contrast, the amount retained by BBEDC fishers declined significantly.
Additional details are provided in the following sections.

Coastal Villages Regional Fund
    The report from CVRF was received on November 28, 2006. Crews at Coastal Villages
Seafoods facilities at seven ports separated undersize halibut during offloads and then weighed

                                                        IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
them separately from the legal halibut. Once this was completed, the plant’s record keeper recorded
on a tally sheet the name, number of halibut, and the poundage of the sublegal halibut retained
by the fishers. Each plant sent the tally sheets to the Coastal Villages Seafoods headquarters on a
weekly basis, where the information was entered onto a spreadsheet.
     In 2006, plants in Chefornak, Hooper Bay, Kipnuk, Mekoryuk, Toksook Bay, Tununak, and
Quinhagak recorded sublegal halibut during June 12-August 10. CVRF reported that 13,467 pounds
were landed, a 19% increase from 2005. A total of 1,598 halibut were recorded, for an average
weight of 8.4 pounds. Over 67% of the pounds were landed at Toksook Bay and Mekoryuk, similar
to previous years.

Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp.
     BBEDC’s report was received on November 29, 2006. BBEDC fishers filled out a reporting
log, which included the lengths of any retained sublegal halibut. Lengths were tabulated by BBEDC
at the conclusion of the season, converted to weights using the IPHC length/weight table, and
summed to estimate the total catch. As in previous years, halibut were landed by BBEDC vessels at
two primary ports (Togiak and Dillingham), with fish also being delivered at Naknek and Egegik.
     BBEDC reported that 28 fishers retained 313 halibut for a total of 2,836 pounds, down
substantially from 2005. The fish had an average size of 9.1 pounds and 29 inches (74 cm), and 94%
of the halibut were 26-31 inches in length. Fishers reported that the fish were used for subsistence
food in dried and smoked forms, and shared in general with community members. Local fishers
also reported they had to constantly search for fish in 2006. They suspect several causes for this,
including a late spring.

Norton Sound Economic Development Corp.
     NSEDC’s report was received on November 30, 2006. NSEDC required their vessels, which
fished in either 4D or 4E, to offload all halibut, legal and sublegal. The sublegal halibut were
weighed and then returned to the fishers. NSEDC had landings from August 19 through October
20, and reported 380 sublegal halibut weighing 3,872 pounds in “head-on with slime” weight,
or 3,407 pounds net weight (head-off, no ice/slime). The fish had an average net weight of 9.0
pounds. Plans for operating a plant in Savoonga were not successful, so fish were only landed in
Nome in 2006.

Table 1. Reported amount (pounds, net weight) of sublegal (<32 inches, 82 cm) halibut
retained by Community Development Quota harvesters operating in IPHC Areas 4D and 4E
since 1998.
    Year                CVRF            BBEDC               NSEDC                          Total
    1998                   900            2,690                   -                        3,590
    1999                 7,483              418                   -                        7,901
    2000                 9,618            3,772                   -                       13,390
    2001                19,494           10,773                   -                       30,267
    2002                 7,473            6,593               4,371                       18,437
    2003                 5,034             6,346               2,961                      14,341
    2004                 7,120             4,826               4,242                      16,188
    2005                11,335             8,750               3,136                      23,221
    2006                13,467             2,836               3,407                      19,710
   % Chg
 from 2005              18.8%            -67.6%                8.6%                      -15.1%
  Average                8,886             5,870               3,623                      18,379

                                              IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
Commercial catch sampling
Lara M. Hutton and Kirsten A. Gravel

     This paper describes the 2006 International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) commercial
catch sampling program for halibut in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon.
Commercial catch sampling involves collecting otoliths, halibut lengths, logbook information, and
final ticket weights. The collected data are used in stock assessment and other research. Otoliths
collected provide age composition. Lengths of sampled halibut, in combination with age data,
provide the basis for growth analyses and estimates of mean weight. Mean weights are combined
with ticket weights to estimate catch in numbers. Copied logbook information provides catch per
unit effort data, fishing location for the landed weight, and data for research projects. Finally, tags
are collected to provide information on migration, exploitation rates, and natural mortality.

Fishery background
     Individual Quota systems remained in place in Alaska and British Columbia during 2006.
The commercial fisheries off Washington, Oregon, and California (Area 2A) were allocated catch
limits by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The Area 2A directed commercial fishery was
restricted to waters south of Point Chehalis, Washington (46o53’18” N. latitude). The incidental
halibut fishery during the sablefish season and the treaty Indian tribes’ commercial fisheries were
prosecuted north of Point Chehalis.

Sampling objectives
     The primary objective in sampling landings of commercially caught halibut is to obtain
halibut samples that are representative of the total commercial halibut removals. To accomplish
this, random sampling techniques are applied and an equal proportion of the catch is sampled
within each regulatory area over the entire landing period, or season, using prescribed sampling
rates that vary among areas and sometimes ports. In addition to catch sampling, other objectives
include copying fishing logs and their respective ticket weights for as many halibut trips as possible
throughout the entire season, as well as collecting tags.
     Inherent in the sampling program is the positioning of field sampling staff in ports where
there is an opportunity to sample a majority of the catch for each regulatory area. To ensure that
proportional sampling occurs by regulatory area and port, landing patterns are reviewed annually,
sampling protocols established based on the weights landed, and different days assigned for
sampling in each port. In some cases, different sampling percentages are assigned by port and
by regulatory area. Finally, sampling priorities by regulatory area are assigned by port to address
situations where multiple concurrent landings preclude the IPHC port sampler’s ability to obtain
samples from all vessels.
     For all fisheries in Area 2A (Treaty Indian, directed, incidental with sablefish), the samplers in
all ports sampled at a rate of ten percent. For Area 2B, samplers in all ports sampled three days per
week at one percent. For Area 2C, samplers in all ports sampled five days per week at one percent,

                                                       IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
with the exception of the sampler in Petersburg, who sampled five days a week at one and a half
percent. Differences in sampling rates among ports were due to sampling conflicts arising in ports
with more poundage and landings.
     For halibut captured in Area 3A, the samplers in all ports sampled at one percent, sampling
five days a week in Homer and Sitka, four days a week in Kodiak, and three days a week in all
other ports. For fish captured in Area 3B, the samplers in all port sampled five days a week. The
samplers in Kodiak and Homer sampled at one and a half percent while samplers in all other ports
sampled at one percent.
     For fish from Areas 4A, 4B, 4C and 4D, all samplers sampled five days a week. A four percent
sampling rate was used for Area 4A, ten percent for Area 4B, and four percent for Areas 4C and
4D. St. Paul was the only exception here as the catch from Areas 4C and 4D was sampled four
days a week at five percent by the St. Paul sampler.
     Samplers use judgment when there are conflicts that preclude sampling all landings. For
example, it is common to have more than one boat unloading from the same regulatory area
simultaneously. In such cases, the vessel with the larger poundage is usually sampled. In other
instances, a sampler may be working at an unloading facility where there is a constant stream
of halibut offloads, and the sampler may opt to stay at the one plant rather than travel to another
location. Finally, sampling conflicts may arise from simultaneous landings of halibut from
different regulatory areas. Sampling priorities by regulatory area are assigned for these conflicts.
In Canada, when a sampler is presented with a choice of regulatory areas, landings from Areas 2B
and 2C are given equal priority and are sampled before Areas 3A and 3B. In Alaskan ports and in
Bellingham, Area 4 is sampled first, followed by Area 2C, then Area 3B and finally Area 3A. The
priority scheme for Area 4 is to sample Area 4B first, followed by Areas 4C and 4D, and then Area
     The last objective of the catch sampling program involves collecting a target number of otoliths
and corresponding lengths from each regulatory area. Otolith sampling rates are established to
optimize work effort and achieve target sample sizes. In 2006, a target of 1,500 otoliths and
halibut lengths (plus or minus 500) was set for each of Regulatory Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B,
and Areas 4C and 4D combined (Table 1 and Table 2). In Area 2A, the target was 1,000 otoliths
with corresponding fork lengths. The Area 2A target was further subdivided to obtain sample
sizes from the treaty Indian and directed commercial fisheries relative to each fishery component’s
proportion of the overall 2A catch limit. This division resulted in a target of 650 otoliths/lengths for
the treaty Indian fishery and 350 otoliths/lengths for the non-treaty directed commercial fishery.
     The sampling rates detailed above are calculated to meet sampling targets and to obtain an
equal proportion of the catch.

Sampling rate calculations
     Sampling rate calculations, the actual 2006 average halibut weight, and the proportion of
catch landed in sampled ports for 2006 for the different regulatory areas are shown in Tables 1
and 2. The rates were calculated by determining the average halibut weight for each area and
multiplying the weight by the otolith target for each respective area to obtain a sample size in
pounds. For each area, the sample size was divided by the available catch limit set by the IPHC,
then divided by the proportion of landings by area expected to be landed in sampled ports to obtain
the overall proportion of the landings to be sampled, by area, in sampled ports. This resultant ratio

was then divided by the proportion of landings that were actually sampled in 2005 to obtain the
sampling rate for each area to be used in 2006. This rate was typically rounded to the nearest 0.5%,
with 1% as a minimum rate. The 3B sampling rate was lowered to 1.5% in Kodiak and Homer as
the sample days in 2006 were increased to five days for all ports, in an attempt to obtain a greater
number of individual samples. In Area 4A, the rate was rounded down to the next whole number.
The Area 4B rate was rounded down to 10 percent because it was thought that a higher proportion
of landings could be sampled in 2006 than was achieved in 2005 as sampling was conducted in
Adak in August of 2006.
     In the past, Area 2A was given special considerations with respect to catch sampling rates,
which were based on previous collections and sampling strategies. In 2006, however, catch
sampling rates were based solely on the aforementioned calculations. The reasoning behind this
is that the previous sampling rate of twenty percent for the non-treaty Indian fishery yielded an
excess of otoliths year after year, which warranted a new sampling rate even though the sampling
strategy itself has remained the same. The ten percent catch sampling rate calculated for the treaty
Indian fishery was used in 2006 to ensure that the target sampling goal was attained. In recent
years, the target has been reached by the tribal port samplers and it is thought this is a result of the
increased level of cooperation between the IPHC and the tribal biologists

Alaskan Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ)
     To meet Alaskan sampling objectives, the ports of Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, Homer, Seward,
Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg, and Bellingham were staffed throughout the entire IFQ season (March 5
to November 15). St. Paul was staffed during the Area 4C Community Development Quota (CDQ)
fishery from June 6 through August 31. Adak was staffed for the month of August. A sampling
summary is presented in Table 3. Otolith/length samples for each Alaskan regulatory area fell
within target ranges.
     Table 4 depicts the proportion of sampled weight to landed weight in each sampled port. In
2006, there was lesser variation among ports that are within the sampled catch harvest area than
was found to occur in 2005. The regulatory area information on the Prior Notice of Landing
(PNOL) List and the PNOL List itself aids in decreasing this variation. The PNOL List is compiled
from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restricted Access Management
Division data on vessels notifying NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement of their intention to land
IFQ fish. The PNOL List includes poundage of halibut and sablefish to be landed by vessel
name and accompanying Alaska Department of Fish and Game number, the unloading port, the
unloading location, and the unloading date and time. The advance knowledge of which regulatory
area the catch is from helps samplers set sampling priorities. In August of 2003, the required
notification period prior to landing was reduced from six hours to three hours. This reduction
led to greater conflicts both in sampling and log collection, and more trips were missed since as a
result. Additionally, increasing the number of days for collecting Area 3B samples led to a greater
number of conflicts. This problem was most acute in ports that received most of their halibut from
Regulatory Areas 3A and 3B.
     IPHC samplers copied about 3,500 Alaskan logs from ports where the IPHC has a presence,
and another 500 logs for Alaskan landings delivered to other ports (Table 5). Samplers have an
opportunity to collect logs from other locations when they encounter transient halibut vessels in
their own ports.

                                                        IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
Canadian Individual Vessel Quota (IVQ)
     IPHC samplers were in place in Prince Rupert, Port Hardy, and Vancouver from March 5
to November 15. The samplers collected 1,931 otoliths, which fell within the target range of
1000-2,000 (Table 1). Just under a third of the total coast-wide Area 2B poundage was sampled.
Canadian samplers collected 666 logs in their ports. In addition, 75 U.S. logs were obtained in
Bellingham by the local sampler (Table 5). Most of the Area 2B catch (87%) was landed in the
three sampled Canadian ports. The average proportion of sampled weight to landed weight in the
three ports was 0.38 (Table 4).

Halibut wire tag collection
    U.S. and Canadian Samplers collected 159 wire tags in 2006. One hundred and forty-eight of
these were from the double-tagging project carried out in the autumn of 2003 in which halibut were
tagged with both a PIT tag and a wire tag. In Port Hardy alone, 95 wire tags were recovered from
the double-tagging project. The remaining wire tag recoveries were collected by port samplers
in Kodiak, Homer, and Seward. Tag data collected dockside include fork length, otoliths, and
location of the recovery. The 159 wire tags discussed in this paper do not include tags from the
sport charter catch-and-release program discussed in Blood (2007). For more detail on the PIT tag
experiments, see the PIT tagging report in this volume (Forsberg 2007).

Washington and Oregon
     Treaty Indian managers worked cooperatively with the IPHC and sampled the Area 2A-1
catch. There were 980 fish sampled in the tribal fishery in 2006, which surpassed the sampling
target of 650 otoliths. The Area 2A non-treaty commercial sampling was conducted in Newport,
Oregon and in Bellingham, Washington where sampling targets were met and surpassed, with 496
fish sampled. To ensure that sampling targets were met in the Area 2A directed fishery, multiple
openings were sampled with multiple samplers. Both tactics (extra samplers and multiple openings
sampled) have substantially improved Area 2A non-treaty commercial fishery sampling efforts.


Blood, C. L. 2007. 2006 Sport Fishery. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and
    Research Activities 2006: (this volume).

Forsberg, J. 2007. Port side sampling for recovered PIT tags in Pacific halibut. Int. Pac. Halibut
    Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2006: (this volume).

Table 1. 2006 otolith targets and sampling rates for Areas 2B, 2C, 3A and 3B.
                                                            Regulatory Areas
                                                  2B             2C          3A                 3B
Otolith target (no.)                           1,500          1,500       1,500              1,500
2005 Average halibut weight (lbs)               21.0           29.3        25.2               23.8
Sample size (000 lbs)                           31.5           44.0        37.8               35.7
Catch limit (000 lbs)                         11,631         10,630     25,200              10,860
2005 Landings into sampled ports (000 lbs)    10,377          6,935     20,625               9,825
Proportion landing in 2005 sampled ports       0.880          0.687       0.839              0.640
Overall proportion to be sampled in 2006       0.003          0.006       0.002              0.005
Proportion actually sampled in 2005            0.409          0.385       0.239              0.186
Sampling ratio for sampled ports               0.007          0.016       0.007              0.028
Final sampling rates (%)                          1.0            1.5         1.0                1.5

2006 Average halibut weight                        20.3          28.3            25.0          22.0
2006 proportion landing in sampled ports          0.869         0.700           0.822         0.682

Table 2. 2006 otolith targets and sampling rates for Areas 2A-1, 2A, 4A, 4B and 4C&D.
                                                              Regulatory Areas
                                              2A-1           2A        4A       4B            4C&D*
 Otolith target (no.)                           650         350     1,500    1,500              1,500
 2005 Average halibut weight (lbs)             18.5        23.2      28.6     24.1               30.2
 Sample size (000 lbs)                         12.0         8.0      42.9     36.2               45.3
 Catch limit (000 lbs)                        452.5       226.2     3,350    1,670              3,550
 2005 Landings into sample ports (000 lbs)    445.4       357.8     2,716      975              1,929
 Proportion landing in 2005 sampled ports     0.867       0.651     0.801    0.365              0.666
 Overall proportion to be sampled in 2006     0.029       0.054     0.016    0.059              0.019
 Proportion actually sampled in 2005          0.258       0.666     0.359    0.213              0.482
 Sampling ratio for sampled ports             0.114       0.081     0.045    0.277              0.040
 Final sampling rates (%)                      10.0          8.0       4.0    10.0                 4.0

 2006 Average halibut weight                   18.7        22.4        27.9          27.3         29.1
 2006 proportion landing in sampled ports      N/A         N/A        0.752         0.628        0.669
*4C&D includes CDQ

                                                   IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
Table 3. Summary of 2006 otolith targets, collected otoliths, vessels sampled and the percentage
of the catch sampled.
                                    Otolith              Collected    No. landings     % of catch
 Regulatory Area                    Target                otoliths        sampled     sampled-lbs
       2A-1                            650                     980              27             41
       2A                              350                     496              65             32
       2B                            1,500                   1,931             178             30
       2C                            1,500                   1,823             207             29
       3A                            1,500                   2,539             186             23
       3B                            1,500                   1,708              68             23
       4A                            1,500                   1,483              44             28
       4B                            1,500                   1,497              23             32
       4C&D                          1,500                   1,323              37             25
       Totals                       11,500                 13,780              835             26

Table 4. Proportion of 2006 halibut landings sampled by weight, separated by IPHC regulatory
area and listed by key ports.
 Port                  2A          2B          2C           3A       3B      4A      4B     4C&D
 Newport              0.87
 Neah Bay             0.62
 Vanc/Bell*           N/A          0.47       0.46          0.32     1.00
 Port Hardy                        0.25
 Prince Rupert                     0.42
 Petersburg                                   0.33          0.12
 Sitka                                        0.50          0.41
 Juneau                                       0.42          0.51
 Seward                                                     0.34     0.52
 Homer                                                      0.21     0.32   0.45
 Kodiak                                                     0.20     0.31
 Dutch Harbor                                                        0.32   0.37     0.53    0.51
 St. Paul                                                                   1.00             0.35
 Adak                                                                                0.44
*“Vanc/Bell” = Vancouver and Bellingham, combined

Table 5. The number of halibut fishing logs collected for key ports in 2006, as well as the total
number of logs collected from all ports.
 Port                                US             Canada                 Total
 Newport                              52                                      52
 Neah Bay                            111                                     111
 Bellingham                           75                                      75
 Port Hardy                                              316                 316
 Prince Rupert                                           318                 318
 Vancouver                                                32                  32
 Petersburg                          399                                     399
 Sitka                               608                                     608
 Juneau                              338                                     338
 Seward                              359                                     359
 Homer                               542                                     542
 Kodiak                              521                                     521
 Dutch Harbor                        165                                     165
 St. Paul                            321                                     321
 Total key ports                   3,491                 666               4,157
 Total all ports                   3,949                 700               4,649

                                                    IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
Age distribution of the commercial halibut catch for 2006
Joan E. Forsberg

    The age distribution of halibut sampled from the 2006 commercial catch is summarized. Fish
from five to 47 years old were captured, with 11-year-olds comprising the largest age group in the
overall catch. Average age was slightly higher in 2006 than 2005 for all areas combined.

Age distribution
     The age distribution of the commercial catch of Pacific halibut is summarized in Table 1. The
average values for age, length, and estimated weight by regulatory area are presented in Table 2.
Mean age of halibut by regulatory area for the years 1997-2006 is presented in Table 3. Average age
of samples from Areas 2A, 4A, and 4D increased in 2006 while average age of otoliths collected
from Areas 2B, 2C, 3B, 4B, and 4C decreased from 2005. The average age of samples from 3A
remained the same in 2005 and 2006. The average age from all areas combined increased by over
half a year in 2006 relative to 2005, and overall average age in 2006 was a year and a half higher
than it was in 1997.
     Average size (measured fork length) of sampled halibut increased in Areas 4B and 4C in 2006
but decreased in all other areas. Average fork length for all areas combined decreased by one
centimeter in 2006.
     The 1995 year class (11-year-olds) accounted for the largest proportion (in numbers) of the
overall commercial catch (14%) in 2006. The next most abundant year classes were 1994 and
1996, accounting for 12% and 9% of the catch, respectively. Eleven-year-olds were also the most
abundant age class in Regulatory Areas 2B, 2C, 4A, 4B, and 4D, and the second most abundant in
Area 3B. In Area 2A, the most abundant year classes were 1994 and 1995 with equal numbers of
12- and 11-year olds, together accounting for 30% of the 2A samples. Twelve-year-olds (1994 year
class) made up the most abundant age class in Regulatory Areas 3A and 3B, while eight-year-olds
(1998 year class) were the most abundant age class in Area 4C.
     The youngest and oldest halibut in the 2006 commercial, or “market”, samples were determined
to be five and 47 years old, respectively. There were eight five-year-olds: three captured in Area
2B, four captured in Area 2C, and one captured in Area 3B. The 47-year-old was captured in Area
4B, and had a fork length of 124 cm. The largest halibut in the 2006 commercial samples was a
218-cm fish from Area 4B, which was determined to be 29 years old.
     Table 4 contains percent agreement values for quality control (QC) readings. All QC readings
from 2002 through 2006 were made on burned or baked otolith sections. QC readings for years
prior to 2002 were either surface ages or burned/baked section ages. In the past, QC readings were
not conducted until the following spring. Ten percent of the market samples will be read twice
for QC. As in 2005, a portion of the QC ages for the current-year market sample collection was
available at the time of writing. The remainder of the QC readings of 2006 market samples will be
performed over the winter.

                                                     IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
Production aging timeline
     The peak month for aging commercial and setline survey otoliths in 2006 was September,
followed by August and October (Fig. 1). August was the peak month for aging in 2005. Otoliths
from the 2006 commercial samples were aged between May and November, with June being the
busiest month. Current-year setline survey otoliths were aged between July and October, with
September being the busiest month. The number of “priority areas” for both market sample and
setline survey otoliths has remained the same since 2003 and includes all areas except Areas 2A,
4C, and 4D. The priority designation meant that otoliths from those areas were aged first, because
they were used in the stock assessment. All priority area ages were available for use in assessment
analyses by the October 15 deadline.
     Almost 650 otoliths were collected from recaptured tagged fish in 2006. These samples were
mainly recoveries from the 2003/2004 PIT tag releases or the 2003 double-tagging experiment
(Forsberg and Geernaert 2007). Tag recovery otoliths are aged the year following recovery.
     In 2006, port samplers reported collecting over 13,700 market sample otoliths; however,
only 12,843 otoliths had been aged at the time of writing. Several hundred otoliths had not yet
been processed or aged and the remaining difference in the two totals was the combined result
of discards (crystallized, right-side, or broken otoliths; mixed-up samples) and counting errors
(incorrect otolith totals reported on market sample forms). When the number of priority areas
was increased in 2003, the commercial otolith aging targets were reduced from 2,000 to 1,500 per
regulatory area or regulatory area combination so that it would be possible to meet the October
15 aging deadline. Because the number of priority areas remained the same in subsequent years,
the commercial otolith target has remained at 1,500 per area as well. Otolith targets were met or
exceeded in all areas in 2006.

Forsberg, J. E. and Geernaert, T. O. 2007. Tagging studies. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of
    Assessment and Research Activities 2006: (this volume).

Table 1. Age distribution of commercial catch of Pacific halibut by regulatory area, 2006.
       Age                             Regulatory Area                                                 Total
    (years)      2A      2B      2C      3A      3B           4A         4B      4C      4D           by age
          5               3       4               1                                                        8
          6       1      26       7       1                                        1                      36
          7      16     100      65      16      30           10          4       38       8             287
          8      57     212      97      35      56           65         39       96      23             680
          9     110     183     123      64      88           64         46       39      27             744
        10      147     188     218     113     143          127        143       45      56           1,180
        11      219     262     323     230     194          193        164       77      77           1,739
        12      219     218     253     277     201          177        112       78      57           1,592
        13      108      86     128     167      96           83        132       26      68             894
        14       75      62      88     165      92           54         99       17      29             681
        15       46      69      78     174      96           54         51        8      44             620
        16       64      75      74     171      95           47         44        5      45             620
        17       67      62      72     175     108           74         61        4      49             672
        18       92      72      58     229     115           71         89        1      48             775
        19      110      42      32     198     134           97        125        2      56             796
        20       50      25      14     110      60           37         64        1      57             418
        21       24       6      12      79      28           27         30        3      21             230
        22       14       6       8      76      21           21         28               25             199
        23        9       5       9      59      27           21         26               16             172
        24        8       4       6      38       7           10         22               24             119
        25        3       2       3      18       7           12         12               23              80
        ≥26       2       8       7      34      18           78         71        1      82             301
  Total by
              1,441   1,716   1,679    2,429    1,617      1,322      1,362     442     835           12,843
 Reg. Area

                                                    IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006
Table 2. 2005 commercial samples: average length, age, weight by regulatory area, and otoliths
collected and aged.
                    Average Average Average
    Regulatory                               Otoliths Otoliths
                      age    length  weight
      Area                                  collected2 aged3
                    (years)   (cm)   (lbs)1
        2A            13.5      95.7  19.2       1,476  1,441
        2B            11.8      96.0  20.3       1,931  1,716
        2C            12.3     106.6  28.3       1,809  1,679
        3A            15.6     103.2  25.0       2,539  2,429
        3B            14.3      99.3  22.0       1,708  1,617
        4A            14.7     105.9  27.9       1,483  1,322
        4B            15.2     105.5  27.4       1,497  1,362
        4C            10.5     109.0  30.6         463    442
        4D            16.7     106.9  28.3         860    835
    All Areas         14.0     102.3  24.7     13,766  12,843
  Weights calculated from measured fork lengths
  Summarized from market sample forms entered by November 21, 2006. This number is higher than the number of
otoliths that will be aged since the “Otoliths collected” value includes otoliths that are discarded and not aged and may
also incorporate counting errors
  Numbers of otoliths aged by November 21, 2006

Table 3. Mean age (in years) of Pacific halibut by regulatory area, 1997-2006.
    Area     1997      1998       1999       2000        2001     2002       2003       2004       2005        2006
     2A      10.3      10.6       11.3       12.1        12.5     13.3       12.0       11.3       12.0        13.5
     2B      11.3      11.8       12.6       12.5        12.7     13.0       12.2       11.7       11.9        11.8
     2C      12.1      12.3       12.8       13.1        12.9     13.6       13.5       13.1       12.4        12.3
     3A      13.2      13.7       14.1       14.5        14.9     15.8       15.3       16.0       15.6        15.6
     3B      12.8      13.5       14.2       14.3        14.7     15.2       14.3       15.0       14.3        14.3
     4A      12.8      12.5       12.9       13.8        14.5     14.5       15.2       14.5       13.4        14.7
     4B      14.7      14.2       15.1       15.3        16.0     16.4       17.1       15.4       15.7        15.2
     4C      11.5      11.7       12.3       13.4        13.6     13.8       12.0       12.1       10.6        10.5
     4D      12.1      12.7       12.5       13.9        16.0     15.5       15.0       13.1       13.4        16.7
             12.5       12.6      13.3       13.7        14.1      14.7      14.5       13.5        13.4       14.0

Table 4. Between-reader percent agreement for market sample ages 1996-2006 (CV=coefficient
of variation, APE=average percent error).
                     No. aged   % agreement
 Year    Tot. aged      twice      (± 1 year)   CV         APE
 1996      13,452       1,839            92.3   2.8         2.0
 1997      15,500       2,203            93.6   2.4         1.7
 1998      14,395       2,110            91.9   2.6         1.8
 1999      12,796       1,117            92.0   2.5         1.8
 2000      13,982       1,002            88.8   3.0         2.1
 2001      13,181       2,025            86.3   3.9         2.8
 2002      17,770       2,135            87.9   3.2         2.3
 2003      13,738         984            82.6   3.9         2.8
 2004      11,866         809            82.6   3.6         2.5
 2005      13,945       1,315            85.9   3.7         2.6
 2006      12,330         251            89.2   2.7         1.9

                                                IPHC REPORT OF ASSESSMENT AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 2006


              8000                               QC
Number aged




                      Jan    Feb       Mar       Apr       May         Jun    Jul   Aug   Sep   Oct   Nov


      Figure 1. Aging workload January through November of 2006. “Other” category includes
      otoliths for research projects, reference set, tag recovery ages, and resolved ages. “Resolved” age
      refers to a single age assigned by two readers viewing the otolith together under a microscope
      with two sets of eyepieces, or a third independent age assigned by the senior reader. “QC”
      refers to second or quality control ages; “GS” refers to general series (IPHC setline and NMFS
      trawl survey); and “MS” refers to market sample (commercial) otoliths.