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Sportfishing Institute of BC January 2014 Update

Posted on January 20th 2014, by Sportfishing Institute of BC

International Pacific Halibut Commission announces 2014 Catch Limits

The New Year is here and the SFI team has been busy down in Seattle at the annual meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

On Friday the IPHC staff set Canada's 2014 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) at 6.85 million pounds, down slightly from 7.04 million pounds allocated in 2013. As was the case last year, the recreational sector will have access of up to 15% of the TAC. Despite the smaller allocation, however, we anticipate that by employing similar management measures as used in 2013 (including catch and bag limits), our sector's harvest rate will allow DFO to keep the recreational halibut fishery open and everyone fishing for a full season in 2014. To be sure, some believe the 2013 limits were unfair, but on balance, they allowed us to avoid the dreaded Labour Day closure that has devastated our sector over the past few years.

The IPHC also noted that halibut stocks in areas 2A (California, Oregon and Washington), 2B (BC) and 2C (the Alaskan Panhandle) are stable or rebounding. Stocks in areas 3 and 4 (the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea and west to the Aleutian Islands) are still in decline, likely due to the continuing pressure of US halibut bycatch from other directed fisheries including the massive Pollack fishery. In 2013, the reported bycatch in these latter two areas was nearly 8 million pounds (compared to Canada's entire directed catch of 7.04 million pounds).

Canada and the southern US have effectively eliminated halibut bycatch in recent years. In contrast, the directed halibut fishery in areas 4C, 4D and 4E will be reduced to 1.285 million pounds, while the halibut bycatch from other fisheries in that area is expected to be 5.2 million pounds. This bycatch is wasteful, effects the TAC for the entire coast and ultimately impacts the Pacific halibut biomass. Sadly we still hear little or nothing from BC based environmental groups about what can only be described as an unsustainable fishery.

We'll be talking to DFO in the coming days and weeks about the plans for the 2014 season and we'll update you as soon as we hear something new.

Tidal Angling Guide Certification (CTAG)

We'd like to remind guides and lodge operators that the CTAG Challenge program is available with options to acquire the certification in locations convenient to you. The application process is straightforward, please feel free to contact the SFI for questions or to receive a copy of the application be e-mail or mail.

Experienced guides who meet all the requirements of the CTAG program are encouraged to take advantage of the program and get their certification this winter. The certification will take approximately 3 hours of your time, provide a professional designation, net certified guides 505.00 in refundable tax credits and vessel owner/operators will save up to 30% annually on their liability insurance while still working with their existing brokers.

If you are guiding legally there are only good reasons to get certified and no reason not to! More details here or at the SFI website.

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