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This week the International Pacific Halibut Commission released the 2017 catch limits and seasons. For Area 2C Southeast Alaska the limits are up modestly, with the combined (commercial and guided sport) limit set at 5,250,000 pounds, up from 4,950,000 pounds. The guided sport share of this is set at 915,000 pounds, up from 906,000.The regulations for the season have not yet been published, these should appear shortly. Interestingly a number of proposals were requested as part of the 2017 rule making process. These proposals include a request to eliminate the skin-on requirement and several requests to standardize the charter versus self-guided sportfisher regulations.
A proposal was put in to specifically allow live-aboard sportfishers to fully fillet and properly preserve caught fish. It will be interesting to see if any of these will be acted upon.
(d) No person shall possess on board a vessel, including charter vessels and pleasure craft used for fishing, halibut that have been filleted, mutilated, or otherwise disfigured in any manner, except that each halibut may be cut into no more than 2 ventral pieces, 2 dorsal pieces, and 2 cheek pieces, with skin on all pieces. – Pacific Halibut Fishery Regulations 2016
The prohibition on processing fish on-board is the real issue. For a vessel which does not operate out of a port each day this effectively prohibits halibut fishing unless the fish can be off-loaded somehow. Such vessels are quite common, essentially all live-aboard cruisers. This, of course, includes the Nordic Quest.