Project aims to improve release techniques for sport-caught halibut
A new collaborative project in Alaska aims to increase the survival rate of Pacific halibut caught and released in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska sport fisheries. Project leaders will use local knowledge and scientific expertise to develop best practices for careful handling and release of sport-caught halibut. The Alaska Marine Conservation Council, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program and the charter industry are partners on the project. Currently, halibut sport fishermen have no source of information for the most appropriate release techniques. With halibut stocks in decline in Alaska, the project supports conservation of Alaska’s halibut resource at an important time. “The charter operators on our steering committee are recommending measures they have found to be effective yet impose minimal extra burden in terms of expense and crew time,” said Terry Johnson, ASG MAP marine recreation specialist. Printed materials, video and training, and a website with information on recommended halibut release methods will be available in spring 2014. The project is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation part of its Fisheries Innovation Fund, which began in 2010. The goal of the fund is to rebuild fish stocks while sustaining fishermen. Alaska Sea Grant is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.