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Storm Ahead for Alaskan Halibut Fishery

by the Fish Site Editor
10 December 2008, at 12:00am

US - The Pacific halibut fishing industry turned 120 years old in 2008. And it may not have too many years left. Alaskans are bracing for further reductions in catch limits as fishing stocks tumble. What has happened to North Americas once powerful fishing industries?

We “were pretty well staggered,” Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association told TheTrumpet. “We were braced for 10 to 15 per cent reduction, [but] everyone will lose another 28 per cent of their quota.”

According to TheTrumpet, some fishing areas off the coast of Alaska will be hit harder than others. On average, the International Pacific Halibut Commission has recommended that catch limits be cut 10 per cent in 2009. This follows a nine per cent reduction this year. A 19 per cent reduction in two years is going to be tough for many within the fishing industry to swallow.

Making matters worse, the Halibut Commission indicates it is possible that there may be more cuts again in 2010.

The reduced catch allowances are sure to have an impact. Jobs will be lost. People who are making payments on their boats and equipment will be in trouble. And those who rely on loans to finance excursions will have difficulty finding lenders.

the Fish Site Editor