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Bristol Bay posts strong 2015 halibut catch

Hannah Colton

Fishermen caught about 45,000 pounds of halibut near Bristol Bay this summer, worth more than $200,000.

DILLINGHAM: Halibut fishermen in Bristol Bay had their best season in several years this summer.

KDLG’s Molly Dischner reports.

BBEDC Regional Fisheries Director Gary Cline said some would consider this summer a surprisingly good one for halibut, given the decline in quota seen in much of the state in recent years.

“It was nice to see the halibut fishery start to rebuild, comparing the last several seasons, and this year the ex-vessel value came about to be approximately $226,205 dollars," Cline said.

That estimate is for the nearshore fishery in Area 4E, prosecuted by local fishermen who access the quota through BBEDC.

“So we had 17 fishermen and they delivered 45,000 pounds, roughly, which was the biggest volume since 2007," Cline said.

The organization moved some of its quota over from Area 4D to allow small boat fishermen in the area to keep fishing after they reached the 4E quota of 27,500 pounds, Cline said.

About 8,000 pounds were delivered dockside in Dillingham at an average price of about $7 per pound. The majority of the fish, about 80 percent, was delivered in Togiak to two different processors. Fishermen received about $4.50 per pound in Togiak, Cline said.

BBEDC is also trying to learn more about the halibut stock in the area, Cline said. The organization is offering fishermen temperature loggers that attach to fishing gear to learn more about how halibut interact with changes in water temperature, including whether a change in temperature affects feeding patterns.

No data is in from that project yet, but Cline said he’s hoping to see more fishermen take on loggers next year.

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