Southeast Alaska’s commercial halibut catch limit is going up.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission concluded its annual meeting Friday in Seattle and approved catch limits for Alaska, British Columbia, and the west coast of the U.S.

The combined commercial and charter catch for Southeast’s Area 2C will be 4.16 million pounds. That includes a commercial catch limit of 3,318,720 pounds, that’s an increase of about 11 percent from last year. Southeast is the only area that will see an increased catch from 2013.

Commercial and charter halibut fishermen on the Kenai Peninsula will see a reduced catch in 2014 under limits announced Friday at the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s annual meeting. However, Southeast Alaska will see an increase. The overall coastwide quota of 27.5 million pounds is slightly higher than the 24.5 million pounds suggested by the preliminary numbers, but represents an 11.4% decrease from the 31.03 million pound TAC in 2013.

This year’s halibut catches, season start and end dates and much more will be decided this week at the Ninetieth Annual Meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission in Seattle.

This year’s halibut catches, season start and end dates and much more will be decided this week at the Ninetieth Annual Meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission in Seattle.

A coast wide catch of just under 25 million pounds is being recommended – that’s a 21 percent

The National Marine Fisheries Service offered some management certainty for Alaskans interested in catching halibut when it announced that it would implement the new catch sharing plan in 2014. Under the plan, or CSP, commercial and charter operators in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska will have a combined catch limit next summer, with each sector taking a certain percentage of that pool of fish. The exact percentage each sector takes are different in Area 2C and Area 3A, or Southeast and the central Gulf of Alaska, respectively, and also vary with abundance.

The preliminary numbers for 2014 halibut catches would mean cuts for most of the west coast, including Alaska, compared to 2013, but it’s unclear if those numbers will become the real limits. Under the “blue-line” catch limit recommendations announced at the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s Dec. 4 and 5 meeting in Seattle, coastwide total removals would be about 36.4 million pounds, with a commercial halibut harvest of about 24.5 million pounds for 2014.

Halibut fishermen are bracing for another huge quota cut after the International Pacific Halibut Commission staff presented a rather grim stock assessment at their interim meeting in Seattle last week. While there is no longer a “staff recommendation,” staff members do present a decision table with a “blue line” that is essentially the same thing: a harvest level at which the fishery should not diminish too much further in the future. For 2014, the blue line came in at a coast-wide quota, from California to the Bering Sea, of 24.45 million pounds, down 21 percent from 2013.

The days of anglers coming home from a fishing trip to Homer, Alaska -- "The Halibut Capital of the World" -- with two, big, honking halibut appear to be over.

Next year's halibut catches will decrease again for all regions except Southeast Alaska, if managers follow the lead of their science advisors.

NMFS said it will implement a catch sharing plan for the 2014 commercial and charter halibut fisheries in Southeast Alaska and the Central Gulf of Alaska. The catch sharing plan was recommended by the North Pacific Management Council to replace the existing guideline harvest level management plan, which had been criticized for not preventing fishing overages when charter fishing had increased in the region in the late 1990s.