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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 631 | AIRED 03/13/2023

Fresh Halibut To Hit The Market; Up to 800,000lbs Harvested Over First Two Weeks; Pricing Strong All Year

Mar 13th, 2023 - Get ready for fresh Halibut to hit the market as the 2023 Pacific Halibut fishery opened March 10th - all along the west coast from Alaska to California.

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Fresh Pacific Halibut products should hit the markets within a week after the season opening.

If the pace of the fishing is anything like previous years, then expect between 500,000 to 800,000 pounds of Halibut to be harvested within the first 2 weeks of the season - and then about 1.5 million pounds total by the 1 month mark.

Fresh Halibut is typically what will hit the market first until around May when processors start freezing fish.

Pace of Pacific Halibut Landings

As such, expect pricing to be high at the start of the season, and little to no frozen Halibut offers on the market until then.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission dropped this year’s fishery limit 4.25 million pounds or 10.3 percent - something not seen in years.

Pacific Halibut Price Chart

Based strictly on historical catch data, we can predict a net weight fishery wide harvest of about 26.5 million pounds this year - which would make that about 3.3 million pounds less than last year.

Despite lower spending on high ticket items like Snow Crab, the market stayed strong for Halibut last year.

Catch Data Halibut USA/Canada

Our recommendation is to get some pre-commitments in for your 2023 Pacific Halibut programs as this category should hold strong through the year again.

If you are looking for some frozen Halibut right now, we have a great offer on our TradexLIVE Seafood Offers Portal - check it out at the link below.

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Lent runs from Feb 22nd to April 6th 2023.
Check out our 2023 LENT Menu

Additional Content:
Here's a great full Write-up by Peggy Parker on the 2023 Pacific Halibut Fishery
Source: Seafood News

Ten-Month Pacific Halibut Season Opens This Friday, Catch Limits Down 10% from 2022
February 7, 2023

The Pacific Halibut season opens on Friday, March 10 at noon local time in waters off of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. A total mortality (catch, discards, bycatch, etc.) of 36.97 million pounds was set late January at the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) meeting, compared to last year’s total of 41.22 million pounds, down 10.3%.

The announcement was made today in the U.S. Federal Register.

Total catch limits by regulatory area compared to last year are as follows:

Area 2A (WA, OR, and CA) is the same as last year at 1.65 mlbs. After recreational, subsistance, and discard removals, the commercial catch is 880,000 pounds.

Area 2B (British Columbia) dropped 10.3% to 6.78 mlbs from last year’s 7.56 mlbs. Commercial catch alone is 5.03 mlbs.

Area 2C (Southeast Alaska) dropped 1% to 5.85 mlbs from last year’s 5.91 mlbs. Commercial landings alone are 3.41 mbls.

Area 3A (Southcentral Alaska) dropped 17% to 12.08 mlbs from 2022’s 14.55 mlbs. Commercial landings will be 7.84 mlbs.

Area 3B (Western Gulf of Alaska) dropped 5.9% to 3.67 mlbs. From 3.9 mlbs last year. Commercial landings in 3B will be 3.09 mlbs.

Area 4A (near Aleutian Islands) dropped to 1.73 mlbs, by 17.6% — the largest drop of any regulatory area this year — from last year’s 2.1 mlbs.

Area 4B (Western Aleutian Islands) dropped by 6.2% to 1.36 mlbs from 1.45 mlbs last year.

Area 4CDE (Bering Sea) dropped similarly 6.1% to0 3.85 mlbs. From last year’s 4.1 mlbs.

Commercial landings in all of Region 4 (including all five regulatory areas above) are the same as total catch limits.

This final rule also implements management measures for the charter halibut fisheries in Areas 2C and 3A. These measures are necessary to keep charter harvests within their respective allocations under a catch sharing plan with the directed commercial fishery.

For commercial and charter halibut fishers in Alaska, the following regulations are in effect:

In Area 2C (Southeast Alaska):

* Charter Anglers are restricted to one halibut per day, with a reverse slot limit where retained halibut must be less than or equal to 40 inches, or greater than or equal to 80 inches.
* All Mondays will be closed to halibut retention from July 24 to December 31, 2023.

In Area 3A (Southcentral Alaska):

* There is a daily bag limit of two halibut, but one fish must be no greater than 28 inches.
* All Wednesdays are closed to halibut retention.
* Nine Tuesdays (June 20, June 27, July 4, July 11, July 18, July 25, August 1, August 8, August 15) are closed to halibut retention.
* Charter halibut permits and charter halibut vessels are only authorized to retain halibut on one trip per day.

Unguided halibut sport fishers in Alaska will continue to observe a daily bag limit of 2 fish of any size per person per day.

In B.C., however, the IPHC adopted a proposal to allow the daily bag limit of up to three fish per day per person in the recreational fishery beginning on or after August 1 of each year until 2025 unless extended by a vote of the Commission.

The Pacific halibut season will close on Thursday, December 7, 2023, extending the season nearly a month for the third year in a row.

This year, the IPHC officially handed over management of Regulatory Area 2A to the Pacific Fishery Management Council under their Halibut Catch Sharing Plan. That plan and annual management measures for the recreational halibut fishery in Area 2A is forthcoming in a separate action.

Peggy Parker

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