The commercial long-line fishing season for halibut opened Saturday, March 23 with just under three million pounds to catch in Southeast’s area 2C over the next seven months. The halibut catch level is set by the International Pacific Halibut Commission each year. This year’s catch amount for Southeast is up about 13 percent from last year, even though the overall coast-wide catch level is down from 2012.
IPHC director Bruce Leaman says there are signs of improvement in halibut stocks in Area 2, which includes Southeast Alaska, British Columbia and the Pacific coast states. Leaman visited Petersburg this month and Joe Viechnicki asked him about the decisions the commission makes about catch levels.
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Leaman also planned visits to Juneau and Sitka this month as well.