Figure G.6

Recent trends in coastwide estimates of halibut and sablefish biomass.

Canada, sablefish are not, and neither species is co-managed with Russia, Korea, Japan, or other principal harvesters.

Although the estimated 1997 coastwide biomass of Pacific halibut (260,423 metric tons) is 26% above the most recent 25-year average, it has declined somewhat in recent years, and based on moderate recruitment and reduced growth rates, is expected to continue to decline in the near future (IPHC, 1997). In addition, the average weight-at-age has declined 50% over the past decade.

The sablefish exploitable biomass was estimated to be 265,000 metric tons in 1996 (NPFMC, 1997a). The stock has been declining since 1986 and is 30% below the recent average. The biomass of sablefish is expected to continue to decline due to poor recruitment since 1982. The overfishing limit (OFL) for 1998 is expected to be less than 35,950 metric tons. It is anticipated that the allowable biological catch (ABC) for 1998 will be less than 17,200 metric tons. The TAC must be less than the ABC, to provide a buffer. The size of this buffer is based on the stock status and the quality of information available. See Figure G.6 for halibut and sablefish biomass trends.

Prior Economic and Social Conditions in the Fishery

Analyses of the markets before IFQ implementation are limited for halibut and nonexistent for sablefish. Crutchfield and Zellner (1962), Lin et al. (1988), Homans (1993), and Criddle (1994) describe the bioeconomics of pre-IFQ halibut fisheries using rudimentary models of the exvessel market structure. Although Herrmann (1996) provides a more realistic model of market structure, he deals exclusively with the Canadian fishery following the 1991 adoption of IVQs (individual vessel quotas), but prior to the 1995 adoption of IFQs in Alaska.



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