EP 367 | Aired January 1, 2018
Pacific Halibut Predictions Leading up to 2018 Catch Limit Announcements

January 1, 2018 - Preliminary catch statistics for the 2017 Alaska Halibut season were released last week, sparking predictions for this year's fishery leading up to the Annual Meeting. In the 2017 Fishery Statistics report published by the International Pacific Halibut Commission on December 23rd, total commercial landings for last season was 25.6 million pounds. This is up marginally from the 2016 season of 24.4 million pounds, and 23.9 million pounds in 2015.

At the annual meeting in Victoria BC this year, the IPHC set the 2017 catch limit at 31.4 million pounds across all regulatory areas. The most recent press release from the IPHC shows preliminary values for the 2018 fishery about 24 percent lower than the total constant exploitation yield adopted for 2017. There was talk last year about a bigger quota reduction coming in the next few years, so many might expect this year's news if we do see a decrease in the catch limits. There is a decent amount of sharply priced halibut on the market still, so if we see a quota reduction there could be opportunity for vendors to make money on their current holdings.

--- Last season, the first offer of 2017 product in late April was priced at $15.75/lb for 1-3lb fletches, compare that to where fletches currently sit at around $15.00-$15.25/lb on the West Coast. Earlier in May, untrimmed 20-40lb headed and gutted halibut was around $8.00 per pound for 2017 product of Alaska. Prices on trimmed headed and gutted 20-40lb halibut is now around $6.70 per pound for Alaskan production. If there is a quota reduction, we could see inventories move a bit quicker and give vendors some time to see where prices settle this season while pushing initials catches to the fresh market. This year's annual meeting will be held in Portland, with catch limits for the 2018 fishery expected to be announced on January 26th.

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Rob Reierson, Kyla Ganton - Copyright © Tradex Foods Seafood News

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