Halibut are caught in Valdez, Alaska. Photo by Raegan Cureton/Unsplash

Members of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) will gather at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage Jan. 22-26 for the 100th session of the IPHC annual meeting, to be chaired by Jon Kurland, regional director for Alaska for NOAA Fisheries. 

During 2023, the IPHC completed the first fishery-independent setline survey (FISS), with hooks in the water on May 27 and the last Pacific halibut was processed on Sept. 1. The IPHC said there were 894 total stations surveyed spanning five regulatory areas across Pacific halibut fishing grounds from the United States West Coast north and west into British Columbia and Alaska. 

Along with Pacific halibut processing, additional information was collected at each station, including water column environmental data, co-occurring species, and seabird encounters. 

One source of data collected out in in the field are Pacific halibut otoliths, used for determining the age of individual fish. This year 9,037 otoliths have been collected from the directed commercial Pacific halibut fishery. 

The otoliths collected are to be analyzed to determine age, and the remaining data is to be compiled in time for integration into the 2023 stock assessment.  

Setline survey specialists were also deployed on the NOAA trawl surveys for the Bering Sea, northern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska surveys. This cooperative work provides an additional piece of fishery-independent data for the Pacific halibut stock assessment. In addition, the data provides a glimpse into year classes that will be entering the Pacific halibut commercial fishery within the next few years, the IPHC said. 


The IPHC currently staffs nine ports throughout the IPHC Convention Area: seven in Alaska and two in Canada. In addition, the IPHC Secretariat also collects logbooks and biological data from IPHC Regulatory Area 2A tribal and non-tribal directed commercial Pacific halibut landings. As of Oct. 1, 1,419 logs have been verified and 686 landings across the IPHC Convention Area during the 2023 Pacific halibut fishing period have been sampled.