Halibut in Steady Decline Throughout Pacific, Says Commission

Lower catches for Pacific halibut are in the forecast for the foreseeable future.

That was the message from the International Pacific Halibut Commission at its November meeting in Seattle. The commission oversees halibut stock research and sets catch limits for nine fishing regions ranging from northern California to British Columbia to the Bering Sea.

There are fewer of the prized flatfish (down 4 percent), they weigh less (down 5 percent) and no big pulses appear to be coming into the stock, according to the grim summary of the 2019 halibut fishery. The assessment included the results of summer-long surveys at nearly 1,370 fishing stations, including 89 added to the Central Gulf of Alaska, the biggest halibut fishing hole.

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