Monday, January 29, 2018

International Pacific Halibut Commission discussions fail to reach agreement on catch allocations for 2018

Commissioners from Canada and the United States met in Portland, Oregon
last week to discuss catch allocations for the upcoming halibut season

(image from the IHPC twitter feed)

With the start of the commercial halibut season set for late March, the two participants in the bi-national body that regulates halibut allocation have concluded that no agreement on quotas is possible, that after the most recent discussions of the Pacific Halibut Commission.

It makes for a rare public split between the two bodies and will now leave both Canada and the U.S. to set their own separate catch limits for the year ahead.

The Six person panel that makes up the Pacific Halibut Commission clearly were divided along national lines as the meetings wrapped up in Portland Oregon on January 26th, with the Canadian negotiators expressing their disappointment at how the negotiations came to a close without an agreement related to the shared responsibility of the halibut stocks.

"The IPHC did not agree on new Pacific halibut catch limits for 2018, and therefore the catch limits adopted by the IPHC in 2017 remain in place. Both Contracting Parties, Canada and the United States of America, indicated their intention to pursue lower catch limits for 2018 via domestic regulatory processes." -- Statement from the 94th Annual meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission on the status of catch limits for his years halibut season

Rather than a hard ruling on catch allocation, the Commission will head into the 2018 season with what is being described as suggested catch guidelines.

For Canada which makes up Area 2B of the eight halibut allocation areas along the Pacific coast, reports from the meeting suggest that the season ahead will see a 15.2 percent reduction in the allowable catch in Canadian waters.

That will mean that Canada's share of the 2018 catch will be listed at 6.32 million pounds, down when compared to the 2017 level of 7.45 million pounds.

British Columbia waters (2B) make up one of eight areas under the jurisdiction
of the International Pacific Halibut Commission

A portion of the presentation on British Columbia catch allocations for 2018
from the International Pacific Halibut Commission
(image from IPHC twitter feed)

A look at the official statement from the Commission members can be found below.

News release from the International Pacific Halibut Commission at the
conclusion of their Portland, Oregon meetings last week

(click to enlarge)

The Report from the 88th Session of the IPHC Conference Board (January 22 and 23) is available for review here.

Further details related to catch allocations and other issues and observations from the discussions will be delivered through the International Pacific Halibut Commission website in the days to come.

The halibut season will open at Noon on Saturday, March 24th and come to a conclusion at noon on Wednesday, November 7th.

So far the bulk of the coverage when it comes to the split along the border is coming from the American media which has provided for a number of items on the end of the discussions.

US, Canada fail to agree on cuts to annual halibut harvest
Commissioners not able to agree on catch allocations for the 8 halibut fishing regions
Halibut commission disagrees on catch cuts

For more items of interest on the North Coast fishery see our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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