Alaskan Pacific Halibut Fishing By: Maxwell Scroggins Anica Miller
How is this fish collected?
What is the market for this fish like?
What is the impact of this fishing on the ecosystem?
Halibut is fished from the ocean with the long line method.
In the long line method of fishing a line with thousands of baited hooks is lowered into the water and pulled up later with fish attached.
The fishery is managed by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC)
Halibut is located up the west coast from Northern California up to the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea
Near 100% of all halibut caught in the U.S. Is Pacific Halibut from the Gulf of Alaska
The Pacific Halibut
Life Span: Males and Females can live to be quite old, the oldest halibut recorded was 55 years old.
Size: Halibut can grow up to 500 lbs. and up to 9 ft. in length.
Diet: Adult halibut eat other fish such as: sablefish, cod, sculpins, and occasionally smaller halibut
Halibut are a flatfish with both eyes on the dorsal side of the body
Both Pacific and Atlantic halibut are marketed as “Halibut”
One of the most valuable fish due to large size and high price.
The halibut is exported as well as sold to fish markets and other distributers for use in restaurants and home cooking.
The U.S. and Canada are the leading suppliers in the halibut market.
Impact on Marine Ecosystem
Longline fishing, while less destructive than other methods of fishing, still has a bycatch.
Sea birds are the most vulnerable, eating bait off of hooks when lines are being set then being dragged under water and drowned.
Sea turtles and sharks also bite hooks and get trapped.
Pacific Halibut is not being overfished and populations are strong.
Restrictions and Regulations by NMFS
In 1995 the NPFMC (North Pacific Fishery Management Council) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) implemented a quota system for Alaska, causing the fishing season to be extended from what was only a few days to 8 months or more. This resulted in lower bycatch and less fisherman deaths.
For recreational fishermen there is a total allowable catch limit daily and closed seasons.