Mar 21 2013
Halibut Season Opens Saturday
Thursday, 21 March 2013

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    The 2013 halibut season begins at noon on Saturday, about a week later than usual. NOAA Fisheries announced this week that it is putting into place the recommendations of the International Pacific Halibut Commission for the season. Julie Speegle is the NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman for Alaska. She said in Area 2C is in Southeast Alaska, a “reverse slot-limit” will be implemented there, which means that guided fishermen can keep halibut 45-inches and smaller or 68-inches or longer. Unguided fishermen can keep two fish of any size per day.
    Speegle says the commercial guideline harvest level as described in NOAA’s Final Rule for 2013 is being recalculated. The initial GHL for Southeast Area 2C was up 13-percent over last year to 2.97-million pounds, while the Gulf of Alaska Area 3A was to have seen a seven-and-a-half-percent decrease to 11-million pounds. Speegle says the recalculation will change those figures.
    The NOAA Fisheries announcement noted the catch-sharing plan for Areas 2C and 3A is still being developed and will not go into effect this year. It is expected to be in place for 2014, however.
    Speegle added that the initial season of observer coverage in the fishery, paid for by NOAA, will not be affected by the cuts brought on by the federal budget sequester.