Pacific Council News Summer 2019: Pacific halibut

Transfer of halibut management authority moves forward

Plans to transfer management of the non-Indian commercial directed halibut fishery from the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) to the Council are moving forward. In June, the Council committed to working closely with the IPHC and stakeholders on transitioning the management of this fishery, and outlined the Council’s intentions for the fishery in the near future. 

The Council asked that IPHC continue to issue licenses for the 2A halibut fisheries, including the directed commercial halibut fishery for 2020 and 2021, to provide time to develop and enact a new regulatory framework. The Council will also ask IPHC to enter into a data sharing arrangement for the IPHC 2A halibut licensing system and the commercial directed halibut fishery logbook data.

For the next few years the Council will focus on a smooth transfer of management authority for the commercial directed fishery, and will not be considering any major changes to the current fishery structure.  That said, the Council will consider changes to the fishery within the existing structure (i.e., an open access fishery managed by fishing periods and vessel limits) beginning in 2019 for 2020 regulations. 

Beginning in 2019, the Council will use the September and November meetings (concurrent with the halibut Catch Sharing Plan process) to set directed commercial halibut fishery regulations within the existing season structure. 

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