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Halibut, Sablefish and other fixed-gear commercial fishing

Analysis Shows Mixed Bag For Halibut and Sablefish

Food sustainability isn’t just about protecting our environment, it’s about protecting us, the consumers, and supporting the producers of our food

Halibut and Sablefish are groundfish species caught by Seattle Home Port’s hook and line fishermen. The Alaska area groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) and the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) are managed through two separate but complementary fishery management plans (FMPs): the BSAI Groundfish FMP and the GOA Groundfish FMP that both fall under the authority and oversight of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

The following slides were produced by staff of the National Marine Fisheries for use in the 2018 Groundfish Plan Team Event held in Seattle on September 18th through 21st.

Landed Halibut and Sable Catch seen trending downward

These FMPs establish management measures that are consistent with the ten National Standards established through the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act as well as other required and discretionary provisions for FMPs. Both FMPs contain the Council’s Groundfish Management Policy “to apply judicious and responsible fisheries management practices, based on sound scientific research and analysis, proactively rather than reactively, to ensure the sustainability of fishery resources and associated ecosystems for the benefit of future, as well as current generations.”

Sablefish is experiencing a robust increase in relative population numbers (RPN)

Sablefish are becoming more plentiful

Annually, the Council develops harvest specifications based on information from the Groundfish Plan TeamsScientific and Statistical CommitteeAdvisory Panel, the public, and any other relevant information.  These harvest specification are in part derived on the abundance of a particular fish species, i.e. Halibut and Sablefish. Final harvest specifications are implemented by mid-February each year to replace those already in effect for that year, and based on new information contained in the latest groundfish SAFE reports.

Halibut relative population numbers (RPNs) continue a prolonged downward trend - an indicator of abundance

Halibut are becoming less plentiful

Halibut and Sablefish are the backbone of the groundfish species in the North Pacific. Increasingly the changing climate and wasteful fishing practices are making it difficult for the artisanal Halibut and Sablefish producers to deliver high quality fish to the public.

The fixed gear Seattle Home Port Fishing Community is dedicated to the sustainable delivery of artisanal Halibut and Sablefish. For more information and how you can help please contact us at the numbers listed in the About tab of our website.

Uneven catch differences in tonnage by geographic area underscores the changes to the fishery

James Johnson