If you missed it, IPHC published the survey modeling (graphs) last month, and none of them looked good. The numbers (NPUE) of halibut are down 8% coastwide, the weight for legal fish (O32 WPUE) is down 18% coastwide and the weight for all halibut (WPUE) is down 11% coastwide. Results were particularly damning for Area 3. However, the IPHC just wrapped up their Interim Meeting today, where they explained that improvements in their stock assessment policy, and specifically to their estimates of natural mortality, have led to calculations of higher yields at the same fishing intensity rates. In layman's terms: maybe don't expect any big cuts after all? Who knows - we certainly don't. For now, all eyes are on the upcoming IPHC Annual Meeting at the end of January. Man, is this riveting stuff or what?!
The deadline to comment on proposals for NPFMC's upcoming December meeting is 12:00 pm, December 2. At this meeting, which starts Monday, the Council will set catch and bycatch limits for 2023-2024 BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries, including sablefish. Here's the Assessment of the Sablefish Stock in Alaska (from the SAFE Report), which shows a statewide increase in abundance of 17%, and recommended increases of 37% to AI and 60% to BS, 20% for WG, and 0% for CG, a decrease of 15% for WY, and an increase of 4% for SE. Here are the final Plan Team recommendations for all groundfish species in BSAI and GOA. The Council will also hold an initial review on a new Fisheries Management Plan for Cook Inlet salmon, decide on a plan to rebuild Bering Sea snow crab stocks, review an emergency petition requesting a six month closure in two areas to protect Bristol Bay red king crab, review a discussion paper on salmon bycatch, and take final action on charter halibut management. It's going to be a busy week!
With less than one week left in the season, 86% of the halibut TAC has been harvested and 73% of the black cod TAC has been caught.
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