NPFMC, OLE, IPHC reports make for good reading! Find links here –

Important fish meetings provide loads of interesting and revealing documents.

by | December 7, 2023

AK Tribes litigation updates, enforcement reports, no recusals, halibut outlooks & more

The North Pacific Council Fishery Management Council has exclusive jurisdiction over more than 140 Alaska species in an area encompassing 900,000 square miles. It oversees fish and crab stocks in federal waters from three to 200 miles offshore, where about 65% of Alaska’s total fish by volume comes from.

The NPFMC meets Dec. 7-12 at the Anchorage Hilton. Here’s how to tune in and/or comment —

Zoom Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81451130091

Meeting ID: 814 5113 0091     

To join by phone: US: +1 346 248 7799 or +1 408 638 0968 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 253 215 8782

Here is the NPFMC MEETING SCHEDULE Fishery documents, studies, reports, etc. can be found HERE

Greenlighting groundfish catches for the next two years tops the North Pacific Fishery Management Council agenda. The catches are at the core of a lawsuit between Alaska Tribes and National Marine Fisheries Service.

Read the Litigation materials, including hundreds of public comments here: B3 Litigation Update – AVCP v. NMFS –

Council Recusals? No way!

Many believe that most voting NPFMC members have conflicts of interest due to the companies/organizations they count on for a paycheck. Here are the Council Recusal Determinations  from NOAA General Counsel: B3 Recusal Determinations – December 2023 –

One onboard halibut fillet = $8,000 fine…and other OLE violations

The annual report of the NOAA Fisheries Alaska Office of Law Enforcement is on the NPFMC agenda. Read about its many enforcement actions, violations, warnings, etc. HERE

Halibut summaries/outlooks

The tone was cautious at the Nov. 30/Dec.1 meeting of The International Pacific Halibut Commission.

Read a full report and all documents here —  

Based on the IPHC report “Stock projections and the harvest decision table for 2024-2026”, the probability of a reduction in coastwide catches at the current fishing level over the next three years is projected at 52/100. The absolute halibut spawning biomass in 2023 “is estimated to be lower than at any time in the last 31 years.”

Further, the modelled survey index of nearly 900 stations in 2023 “suggests that the stock distribution now shows the lowest proportion of the coastwide biomass in Biological Region 3 (Central and Western Gulf of Alaska) observed since 1992.”

The IPHC report added that “increased environmental/climate-related variability in the marine ecosystems comprising the Pacific halibut species range in Convention waters lead to little expectation that historical productivity patterns may be relevant for future planning. Specifically, it is unclear whether long-term productivity levels are likely to occur under continued climate change, or whether increases or decreases may be likely for critical life-history stages of Pacific halibut.”

The 2024 halibut catch limits will be revealed at the 100th anniversary of the International Pacific Halibut Commission at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage from Jan. 22-26.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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