The International Pacific Halibut Commission released its 2012 catch limits Friday morning, and as expected, there were significant cuts in most areas.
We’ll have much more on Monday, but briefly, Area 3A, the Gulf of Alaska will experience a 17-percent reduction from last year. That results in a 11.9-million pound catch limit, down 2.4-million pounds.
Area 3B along the Alaska Peninsula southwest of Kodiak Island, the reduction is the same 2.4-million pounds, but the percentage reduction is 32 percent, down to just over 5-million pounds. In Area 4A, the eastern Aleutians, the cut is 35 percent.
Jeff Stephan is the manager of the United Fishermen’s Marketing Association in Kodiak:
"I think people have been anticipating this was on its way the last few years," he said. "More and more the retrospective analysis have been indicating the assessment models have been overestimating biomass, and when they look back over there’s always the indication that there’s probably been a little bit higher catch limit than what otherwise might have been established."
In the North Pacific as a whole, from Washington to Russia, limits were down 18-percent, or 7.5-million pounds.
The only areas that did not get reductions were off the Washington coast in Area 2A, which will get a 9-percent increase, and Area 2C in Southeast Alaska, which will get a 13 percent bump, up almost 300,000 pounds.
We’ll have more reaction to the IPHC numbers on Monday’s newscasts.