Sport-Caught Halibut Equals Commercial Harvest around Icy Strait

10574293_10102445015501233_2109706822648856674_n-2Historically, commercial halibut harvest in Alaska made up a much larger portion of the halibut catch than sport-caught harvest. But times are changing and it may be time to change that perception. In the past 20 years, commercial harvest has declined and sport harvest has increased. In some specific areas like Icy Strait-Glacier Bay-Cross Sound, commercial harvest and sport harvests were about the same in 2012-13 (Table 1).

All fishermen are responsible for the vitality of Alaska’s halibut.



Table 1. Pacific halibut harvest in 2012-13 across fisheries for “Greater Icy Strait.” Greater Icy Strait is defined to include Cross Sound, Icy Strait and Glacier Bay, corresponding to commercial harvest statistical areas 181, 182 and 184. Commercial harvest was recorded in pounds (lbs). Sport harvest data are from area G, “Glacier Bay,”(2C only, 3A omitted). Sport-caught halibut were harvested in terms of numbers of fish and converted to pounds based on average fish weights from ADF&G Final Sport Halibut Harvest Estimates. In 2012 average fish weights were 22.2 lbs/guided sport fish and 26.4 lbs/non-guided sport fish. In 2013 average fish weights were 20.9 lbs/guided sport fish and 27.5 lbs/non-guided sport fish.

2012 2013
Commercial harvest * 453,549 530,369
Guided sport fishing ** 181,485 185,592
Non-guided sport fishing *** 274,717 328,592
Total sport harvest 456,202 514,184
* International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) data
** Charter Log Book data. Charter harvests from west of Cape Spencer (area 3A) were omitted.
*** Alaska Department of Fish & Game Statewide Harvest Survey (SWHS) by mail.