2016 Halibut Regulations

The IPHC (International Pacific Halibut Commission) has released our 2016 halibut regulations for Areas 2C (SE Alaska, so Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, etc) and 3A (SC Alaska, so Seward, Homer, Kodiak; these are the regulations that affect us here on Raspberry).

AREA 2C (South East Alaska)
One fish daily bag limit
Reverse slot limit of under 43″ – Over 80” (so you may keep one halibut per day, and it must be under about 37 lbs or over about 276.5 lbs).

AREA 3A (including Raspberry Island)

  • Two fish daily bag limit.
  • Maximum size limit on second fish is 28 inches (about 9 lbs).
  • Each vessel is limited to one trip per calendar day.
  • Each permit is limited to one trip per vessel per calendar day.
  • Wednesdays are closed.
  • 4 fish annual limit.
  • Record, in ink, date, area, number of halibut on state license.

What does this mean for Alaska Halibut fishermen? SE limits are restricted to one decent sized halibut per person, per day, with opportunity to keep a huge trophy Halibut if they find one of that size. SC Alaska, including those of us on Raspberry Island, can retain one fish of any size per day, up to 4 halibut per year, AND, you may keep a bonus tiny halibut if you would like. The only time we would keep a 9 lb halibut would be if our fisher people were fishing for fewer than 4 days; ie, we would try for our one halibut of any size each day, and try to keep one nice fish each day per person, unless you were here on a 3 day trip; then we could keep the ‘bonus’ little guy.

After adjusting to similar regulations imposed last year; we learned two very important things about how to handle these changes. It’s easy to get caught up in the politics of restrictions, or the changes affecting our halibut fishery, and our greatest hope is these changes are positive on the future of the resource and the economy of Alaska. For our fishermen, while the majority of you love to bring home and eat halibut, as we do, we will still have more opportunity to catch reasonably nice halibut than other popular destinations in Alaska, (can you imagine letting a 50-100lb halibut go because it’s too “big?”) AND, no matter where you are in Alaska, we still have a tremendous variety of some of the finest seafood in the world that AREN’T halibut; like King, Silver, and Sockeye Salmon (these are wild caught and individually handled fish, not farmed Atlantic Salmon that is actually just a Char), Lingcod, a variety of Rockfish, and Crab. With these new Halibut regulations in place I still anticipate our guests will harvest 1-2 boxes of fillets per week.

In summary, management has determined that our halibut stocks are in decline, and we have seen increased restrictions on the sport charter fleet for the past few years. No one likes change. The reality remains, however, is that we will always have a tremendous fishery here, with a variety of outstanding fish to target, both in sport and table value, and all done in the remoteness of wild Alaska. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t bring as much fish home as you used to; the pursuit is still here, that heavy pull still out there. Lets go fishing.