International Pacific Halibut Commission Eighty-ninth Annual Meeting

Meeting Information
Navigating the 2013 IPHC Annual Meeting ..................................................................................2 Detailed Meeting Agenda ..............................................................................................................3 Halibut Terminology – What You May Hear .................................................................................6

Staff presentations
The Pacific halibut fishery, 2012 ....................................................................................................9 Heather L. Gilroy IPHC Management Strategy Evaluation framework ...................................................................28 Steven Martell Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock at the end of 2012 .........................................................32 Ian J. Stewart, Bruce M. Leaman, Steven Martell, and Raymond A. Webster IPHC Staff harvest advice and regulatory proposals: 2013 ....................................................... 114 Bruce M. Leaman, Ian J. Stewart, Raymond A. Webster, and Heather L. Gilroy Optimal harvest rates for Pacific halibut ....................................................................................131 Steven Martell, Ian J. Stewart, and Bruce M. Leaman Coastwide comparison of alternative setline survey baits .........................................................154 Raymond A. Webster, Steven M. Kaimmer, Claude L. Dykstra and Bruce M. Leaman Halibut size at age research........................................................................................................172 Bruce M. Leaman, Steven Martell, Timothy Loher, Kirstin K. Holsman, Bruce S. Miller, Kerim Y. Aydin, and Gordon H. Kruse

Appendices
Appendix I. IPHC 2013 Annual Research Plan (Preliminary) ..................................................186 IPHC Staff Appendix II. IPHC regulation proposals submitted for the 2013 Annual Meeting ...................205 IPHC Staff Appendix III. Catch limit, research, stock assessment and apportionment comments submitted for the 2013 Annual Meeting .....................................................................................................220 Cover artwork: Joan Forsberg 1
2013 IPHC ANNUAL MEETING HANDOUT

Navigating the 2013 IPHC Annual Meeting
Group Mee ng/Session
IPHC Exec Session Public Session I US Delega on mee ng Canadian Delega on mee ng Public Session II IPHC Admin I Conference Board I Processor Advisory Group I IPHC Admin II IPHC Admin III IPHC Finance & Admin Conference Board II & III Proc Advisory Group II & III IPHC, CB, PAG joint IPHC Admin IV Conference Board IV & V Proc Advisory Group IV & V IPHC Admin V IPHC Exec session Public Session III IPHC Admin VI Harvesters Halibut processors IPHC, CB, & PAG Commission Harvesters Halibut processors Commission Commission Commission Commission Commission Commission Commission Halibut processors Harvesters Open Open Open Open Closed Open Open Open Open Open Open Open Closed Open Open Commission Open Commission and public Open Canadian commissioners with Canadian a endees Any Canadian a endees US commissioners with US a endees Any U.S. a endees Commission and public Open Commission Closed Mee ng issues Fishery results and assessment Issues of interest to the US industry Issues of interest to the Canadian industry Research & Performance Review Areas 2A and 2B agency reports Catch limits, reg proposals Catch limits, reg proposals Areas 2C/3/4 agency reports Research, Bycatch Work Group Finance and Admin Catch limits, reg proposals Catch limits, reg proposals CB and PAG recommenda ons CB/PAG rec’s, proposals ROP; other ma ers ROP; other ma ers Unfinished business Mee ng issues FINAL DECISIONS on regula ons and catch limits Other business (if needed)

Day

What Time? Room?

Who is Mee ng?

Who Can A end?

What’s Being Discussed

11:00–Noon – Buckingham

1:00–5 pm – Crystal Ballroom

Monday Jan. 21

6:30-8:30 pm – Buckingham

6:30-8:30 pm – Balmoral

2013 IPHC ANNUAL MEETING HANDOUT

8-11 am – Crystal Ballroom

Tuesday Jan. 22

1-5 pm – Buckingham

1-5 pm – Crystal Ballroom

1-5 pm – Balmoral

8-11:30 am – Buckingham

2

1-2:30 pm – Buckingham

Wednesday Jan. 23

2:30-5 pm – Buckingham

8-5 pm – Crystal Ballroom

8-5 pm – Balmoral

8-10:30 am – Crystal Ballroom

10:30-Noon – Buckingham

Thursday Jan. 24

10:30-5 pm – Crystal Ballroom

10:30-5 pm – Balmoral

1:30-5 pm – Buckingham

7:30-8:30 am – Crystal Ballroom

Friday Jan. 25

9-11 am – Crystal Ballroom

12:30–2 pm – Crystal Ballroom

International Pacific Halibut Commission Eighty-ninth Annual Meeting
The Fairmont Empress Victoria, BC January 21-25, 2013

DETAILED MEETING AGENDA
Notes: 1. All sessions are open to the public unless noted as ‘closed.’ All Commission Public and Administrative Sessions will be webcast and may take audience/webcast comments & questions (CB and PAG sessions will not be broadcast). 2. Breaks and comments/discussion as determined by Commissioners. 3. Briefing materials will be posted at the IPHC Annual Meeting webpage (http://iphc.int/ meetings-and-events/annual-meeting.html) as they become available. 4. Presentations will be posted at the Annual Meeting webpage following each day’s sessions. 5. Breakout rooms available in Kensington & Library (contact IPHC staff for availability). 6. IPHC office is located in St. James.

Monday - January 21 a.m. 11:00 – 12:00 Executive Session I (closed) Public Session I  Opening remarks  Staff reports: o State of the fishery in 2012 o Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) framework o 2012 stock assessment o Harvest decision table and regulatory proposals  Public comments  Discussion United States Delegation Meeting Canadian Delegation Meeting

Room Location Buckingham

p.m.

1:00 – 5:00

Crystal Ballroom

6:30 – 8:30 6:30 – 8:30

Buckingham Balmoral

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Tuesday - January 22 Public Session II  Staff reports: o Optimal harvest rates o 2012 bait experiment o Size-at-age research  Public comments  Discussion  Progress on Performance Review Recommendations o Advisory Bodies Rules of Procedure o Research Plan o Management Strategy Advisory Board (MSAB) o Scientific Review Board (SRB)  Public comments  Discussion IPHC Administrative Session I  Agency reports for Area 2A  Public comments  Discussion  Agency reports for Area 2B  Public comments  Discussion Conference Board (CB) Session I Processor Advisory Group (PAG) Session I IPHC Reception

Room Location

a.m.

8:00 – 11:00

Crystal Ballroom

p.m.

1:00 – 5:00

Buckingham

1:00 – 5:00 1:00 – 5:00 7 :00 – 9:30

Crystal Ballroom Balmoral Palm Court

Wednesday - January 23 IPHC Administrative Session II  Agency reports for Alaska (Areas 2C-3-4) a.m. 8:00 – 11:30  Public comments  Discussion 8:00 – 12:00 8:00 – 12:00 Conference Board (CB) Session II Processor Advisory Group (PAG) Session II Administrative Session III  IPHC research program  Halibut bycatch working group (HBWG II)  Public comments  Discussion 4
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Buckingham Crystal Ballroom Balmoral

p.m.

1:00 – 2:30

Buckingham

Wednesday - January 23 (continued) 1:00 – 5:00 1:00 – 5:00 2:30 – 5:00 6:30 – 8:30 Thursday - January 24 a.m. 8:00 – 10:30 Conference Board (CB) Session III Processor Advisory Group (PAG) Session III Finance & Administration Committee (closed) HANA Reception

Room Location Crystal Ballroom Balmoral Buckingham Sticky Wicket Pub, 919 Douglas Street

10:30 – 12:00

IPHC, CB, and PAG Joint Session  CB and PAG recommendations Crystal Ballroom  Public comments  Discussion IPHC Administrative Session IV  Harvest decision table and regulatory proposals Buckingham  Agency and industry proposals  Public comments  Discussion Conference Board (CB) Session IV Processor Advisory Group (PAG) Session IV IPHC Administrative Session V  Unfinished business  Public comments  Discussion Conference Board (CB) Session V Processor Advisory Group (PAG) Session V Crystal Ballroom Balmoral Buckingham Crystal Ballroom Balmoral

10:30 – 12:00 10:30 – 12:00 p.m. 1:30 – 5:00 1:30 – 5:00 1:30 – 5:00

Friday - January 25 a.m. 7:30 – 8:30 Executive Session II (closed) Public Session III  CB and PAG input and recommendations regarding advisory bodies  Public comments  Discussion  Adoption of regulations and catch limits  Public comments  Discussion  Other actions as needed Administrative Session VI (if needed) 5
2013 IPHC ANNUAL MEETING HANDOUT

Crystal Ballroom

9:00 – 11:00

Crystal Ballroom

p.m.

12:30 – 2:00

Crystal Ballroom

Halibut Terminology – What You May Hear
IPHC uses many scientific terms, acronyms, and plain ol’ jargon in managing the halibut resource and fishery. Some are unique to halibut management, whereas others are more common in the fisheries management business. Here’s a list of some of the most common terms you may hear.
Archival tag......A type of tag which measures and stores environmental data while attached to a fish. Availability .......The relative proportion of the stock, by age or size, that is present in a given area. BAWM .............Bycatch and wastage mortality. Biomass ............Weight in net pounds. Blue Line..........A row in the Decision Table, highlighted in blue, which provides the harvest available when the Commission’s target harvest rates are applied to the current estimate of Ebio. Bycatch ............Halibut caught by fisheries targeting other species. Often ‘bycatch’ is used interchangeably with the term ‘bycatch mortality’ but in either case, this represents the amount of halibut killed, generally expressed in pounds, net weight. Catchability ......Fraction of total available fish caught per unit of effort. CEY..................Constant Exploitation Yield. IPHC measures CEY in terms of Total CEY, which is the total amount of yield available for harvest in an area, and Fishery CEY, which is the amount of yield available for the directed halibut fisheries. CB ....................Conference Board, an advisory body to IPHC, composed of representatives of the fishing industry. CSP...................Catch Sharing Plan. A management program which allocates available yield among specific user groups or sectors. Allocations are often described as percentages of the whole. Decision Table..A table developed by the IPHC staff, in collaboration with external scientific review, in which the probabilities for specific metrics of stock and fishery performance are estimated for various levels of harvest. Ebio ..................An abbreviation for Exploitable biomass, which is the fraction of the Total biomass exploited by the directed fisheries and for which the harvest policy is defined. GHL .................Guideline Harvest Level; part of a management program design by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in 2003 to manage the harvest by the sport charter halibut fishery in Areas 2C and 3A. MSAB ..............Management Strategy Advisory Board. A group of 15-20 individuals appointed by the Commission, comprised of harvesters, managers, processors, academia, IPHC staff, and the IPHC science advisors. The role of the MSAB is to define clear, measurable fishery objectives and to provide technical input on the development of an operating halibut fishery management model that will permit evaluation of various strategies to achieve management objectives. MSE .................Management Strategy Evaluation. A long-term process in which alternative management strategies for the halibut fishery are developed and evaluated by an advisory board.

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NPFMC ............North Pacific Fishery Management Council, headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska. A U.S. federal board which oversees management of marine fisheries in the federal waters off Alaska. With halibut, the NPFMC’s role is to decide on allocations between user groups and development of programs to manage and reduce halibut bycatch. NPUE ...............Number of fish per unit effort. Effort is measured in terms of a standard skate of fishing gear, which is defined by IPHC as an 1,800-foot skate of gear, with 100 hooks at an 18foot spacing. PAG ..................Processor Advisory Group, an advisory body to IPHC composed of representatives from halibut processors. PFMC ...............Pacific Fishery Management Council, headquartered in Portland, Oregon. A U.S. federal board which oversees management of marine fisheries in federal waters off Washington, Oregon and California. With halibut, the PFMC’s role is to decide on allocations between user groups and development of programs to manage and reduce halibut bycatch. PHI ...................Prior hooking injuries. A type of injury incurred by a halibut upon being released and returned to the sea during a previous capture. PIT tag ..............Passive Integrated Transponder tag, used by IPHC in a coastwide tagging study in 20032004. Profiler..............Oceanographic equipment used to collect water column environmental data aboard IPHC chartered research vessels. RAB .................Research Advisory Board, an advisory body to the Commission which provides input on research topics and direction. The RAB is composed of representatives of the halibut fishing and processing industry. Sbio ..................An abbreviation for female spawning biomass, measured in weight, which is comprised only of sexually mature female halibut. Sexual maturity begins at age 8, reaches 50% at age 13 and 100% at age 20. Selectivity ........Relative probability of a fish being retained by the gear as a function of its size (or age). SRB ..................Scientific Review Board. A group of 4-6 scientists appointed by the Commission to provide independent scientific review of the halibut assessment and research. SSA survey .......Standardized stock assessment survey, conducted annually by IPHC since 1996. SWHS ..............Statewide Harvest Survey, used by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to estimate sport harvests. Tbio ..................An abbreviation for Total biomass, measured in weight, which is the biomass of all halibut, generally for ages 8 and older. Wastage ............The mortality (net pounds) incurred during mandatory release of undersize halibut by the commercial halibut fishery, or from lost and abandoned fishing gear. WPUE ..............Pounds of fish per unit effort. Effort is measured in terms of a standard skate of fishing gear, which is defined by IPHC as an 1,800-foot skate of gear, with 100 hooks at an 18foot spacing.

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Notes

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The Pacific halibut fishery, 2012
Heather L. Gilroy The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) estimates all halibut removals taken off the Pacific coast and uses this information in its harvest policy and the stock assessment. When the Commission was established in 1923, the commercial fishery, which dates back to the late 1800s, was the only documented source of harvest. Since that time, the commercial catch has continued to be the largest removal coastwide. Through the years, estimates of other removals have been added: bycatch mortality in the 1960s, sport catch in the late 1970s, wastage in the 1980s, and personal use (subsistence) in the 1990s. In 2012, the removals from all sources totaled 51.7 million pounds (Table 1). Total removals have declined from the 90-100 million range which occurred during 1998-2007, and are now at a level similar to removals seen in the early 1980s. This report reviews the catch by commercial and sport fisheries, bycatch mortality estimates, and the allocation programs within each country. In addition, catch versus catch limits or harvest limits are also reported. Personal use removals include the Washington State treaty tribal ceremonial and subsistence (C&S) fishery, the British Columbia Food, Social, and Ceremonial (FSC) fishery, and the Alaska subsistence fishery (Williams 2013a). The C&S fishery is part of a catch sharing plan and is estimated at 24,500 pounds for 2012 by the treaty tribes. The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) provided the estimate of the FSC fishery catch. For 2012, FSC catch was estimated at 0.405 million pounds, which has been unchanged since 2007. The Commission has not seen documentation on the estimation methodology; it is reported simply as the sum of all allocations within the FSC communal licenses including recent treaty settlements (T. Karim, DFO, pers. comm.). The Alaska subsistence harvest was estimated by Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to be approximately 0.7 million pounds for 2011, the latest year for which information is available. The 2011 harvest is lower than in 2010, and the harvest has continually declined since the 2004-2005 high of 1.2 million pounds. The Alaska program was implemented in 2003. The incidental mortality of halibut from the commercial halibut fisheries (1.6 million pounds) is termed wastage (Gilroy and Stewart 2013). The legal minimum size limit for the commercial halibut fishery is 32 inches in total length, so the wastage estimates include the mortality of halibut 32 inches and over (O32) killed by lost and abandoned longline gear, and the proportion of halibut under 32 inches (U32) that must be released and subsequently die. A breakdown for halibut over 26 inches (O26) and under 26 inches (U26) in total length has been provided in Table 1 for wastage and bycatch mortality as the removals are treated differently within the harvest policy (Stewart et al. 2013). In addition to data compiled by the IPHC, other sources of halibut data include federal and state agencies. All 2012 data are net weight and considered preliminary at this time. These data were updated in December 2012 after the completion of the IPHC Report of Assessment and Research Activities (RARA) 2012 and the stock assessment tables, so numbers provided here may differ slightly from those reports. Catch limit, as referred to here, is the IPHC catch limit. The adjusted catch limit represents the IPHC catch limit with adjustments by DFO and NMFS from the underage and overage programs from the previous year’s quota share program and other 9
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quota leasing programs determined by DFO in British Columbia. The IPHC regulatory areas are provided in Figure 1.

Allocation programs, updates, and totals
The authority for domestic allocation among the user groups rests with the national governments. Currently, both the United States and Canadian governments have allocation plans for halibut fisheries within a single regulatory area or within smaller local areas. Washington, Oregon, and California – Area 2A Comprehensive user group allocation occurs in Area 2A. The Commission determines the Area 2A total catch limit for all user groups, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) allocates halibut catch limits among user groups through a Catch Sharing Plan (CSP). In this plan, 44.4% is allocated to the sport fishery, 35% to the treaty tribes, and 20.6% to the non-treaty commercial fishery. The PFMC CSP specifies that a primary limited-entry longline sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) fishery north of Point Chehalis, WA (4653’18”N) would be allocated part of the Washington sport allocation only if the Area 2A catch limit was over 900,000 pounds and the amount available to the incidental fishery was over 10,000 pounds. These criteria were met for the first time since 2009, and an incidental halibut fishery during the limited-entry sablefish fishery occurred in 2012. Therefore, in 2012 the Area 2A catch limit was divided among the two sport fisheries, a treaty Indian commercial fishery and a ceremonial and subsistence fishery, a non-treaty commercial directed fishery, and two incidental halibut fisheries (during the salmon troll fishery and limitedentry sablefish fishery) (Table 2). The total 2012 Area 2A catch (not including IPHC research) of 1.013 million pounds was over the catch limit (0.989 million pounds) by 2.5%. British Columbia – Area 2B In 2005, DFO implemented an allocation framework for the commercial and recreational sectors, with the recreational sector receiving a 12 percent “ceiling” of a combined commercial/ recreational catch limit. In 2011, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada initiated a review of the Pacific halibut allocation between users, which resulted in a new allocation ratio of 85% commercial to 15% sport for 2012. When managed to the allocation ceilings, both sectors’ catch will fluctuate with stock abundance. The IPHC adopted an Area 2B combined sport and commercial catch limit of 7.038 million pounds that was allocated to the user groups by the DFO. The 7.038 million pounds combined catch limit was arrived at after 0.193 million pounds of commercial wastage for O26 halibut had been deducted from the Area 2B constant exploitation yield. To avoid penalizing the sport sector for commercial wastage, DFO added back the previously deducted 0.193 million pounds of wastage and partitioned this new total by the 85:15 (commercial to sport) ratio. The commercial wastage amount was then deducted solely from the commercial portion. The newly calculated catch limits available to the commercial and sport fleets were 5.953 million pounds and 1.085 million pounds, respectively. DFO made additional adjustments to the quotas, which included pounds available from the underage/overage plan, quota leased from the commercial fishery to the sport fishery, and quota held by DFO for First Nations through a relinquishment process. The total 2012 Area 2B catch of 6.955 million pounds was under the catch limit (7.038 pounds) by 1% (Table 3). 10
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Alaska – Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, and 4 Two allocation plans exist for fisheries within Alaska. The first applies to Area 4CDE, in which the Commission adopts a single commercial fishery catch limit, as the area is considered to be one biological unit. A CSP developed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) in 1996 specifies individual catch limit allocations for Areas 4C, 4D, and 4E. This CSP also allows Area 4D Community Development Quota (CDQ) to be harvested in Area 4E, and Area 4C quota shares to be fished in Areas 4C or 4D. The total commercial catch of 2.294 million pounds was under the combined Area 4CDE catch limit (2.464 million pounds) by 7%. In 2003, a Guideline Harvest Level (GHL) program was implemented to manage the harvest by the sport guided (charter) fisheries in Areas 2C and 3A. The GHL program includes a provision that the GHL adjusts by specified increments to changes in halibut abundance, yet will not increase above a maximum level, nor decrease below a minimum level (Williams 2013a). In 2012, the Areas 2C and 3A sport charter harvests were under their GHLs by 31%, and 23%, respectively (Table 4). The GHL program remains in place until superseded by a commercial-sport charter CSP that was adopted by the NPFMC. The CSP is expected to be implemented by the 2014 fishery.

Detailed catch data
The commercial fishery A detailed summary of fishing seasons, catch limits, and catch by IPHC regulatory area is provided in Table 5. Commercial catch occurs in: an open-access fishery, two incidental catch fisheries, and a treaty Indian fishery in Area 2A; the quota share (QS) fisheries in British Columbia and Alaska; and the Metlakatla fishery within the Annette Island Reserve in southeast Alaska (Area 2C). Area 2A In 2012, IPHC issued 619 Area 2A vessel licenses, including 311 licenses for retaining incidental halibut during the salmon troll fishery, 177 licenses for the directed commercial fishery and incidental halibut during the sablefish fishery, and 131 licenses for sport charter vessels. The largest change in number of licenses issued compared to 2011 was for the directed commercial fishery/incidental halibut during the sablefish fishery which increased by 30 licenses, in part due to the allowance of an incidental halibut fishery during the sablefish fishery. The number of licenses issued for the sport charter fishery and the incidental halibut during the salmon troll fishery decreased by 10 and five licenses, respectively. The Area 2A directed commercial fishery closed after two 10-hour openings with fishing period limits (Table 6). The fishing period limits were assigned by vessel class; the H-class vessels received 9,000 pounds for the June 27 opening and 1,500 pounds for the July 11 opening (Table 5). The total directed commercial catch of 179,000 pounds was 3.3% over the catch limit (173,216 pounds). The management objective for the incidental halibut fishery during the salmon troll season is to harvest the majority of the halibut catch in May and June. The allowable incidental catch ratio of halibut during the salmon troll fishery was one halibut per four chinook, plus an “extra” halibut per landing. However, the total number of incidental halibut per vessel per landing could not exceed 20. In 2010 and 2011 the ratio was 1:3 for halibut to chinook, with the total number of halibut per vessel per landing not to exceed 35. The landing restrictions have become increasingly 11
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conservative since 2008 and 2009, when the landing ratio was 1:2. The objective was met, as the season opened on May 1 and closed on July 3, with a total catch of 35,300 pounds, 15% over the catch limit (30,568 pounds). Unfortunately, a perfect storm occurred with the four agencies that work together to track landings and close the fishery, as one agency had communication infrastructure problems, and there were issues with all four coordinating over a holiday weekend such that the catch limit was exceeded. Incidental halibut retention during the limited-entry sablefish fishery remained open from May 1 to October 31, closing at the end of the sablefish fishery season. The allowable landing ratio was 50 pounds of halibut to 1,000 pounds (net weight) of sablefish, and up to two additional halibut in excess of the ratio limit. The total catch was 4,400 pounds, 79% under the catch limit (21,173 pounds). In Area 2A-1, the treaty Indian fisheries management plan allowed for both unrestricted fisheries with no landing limits and restricted fisheries with limits, as well as a late season mop-up fishery that could be set up with or without landing limits. The restricted fishery opened at noon on March 17 with a 500 pound per vessel per day limit. The restricted fishery lasted 55 hours and closed on March 19. The unrestricted fishery opened at noon on March 24 and closed 48 hours later at noon on March 26. A mop-up fishery, with no landing restrictions, occurred on May 2 and lasted 13 hours. The weather was good during this 13-hour opening and the landings were higher than predicted. The total treaty Indian commercial catch was 355,100 pounds or 10% over the catch limit (321,650 pounds). Area 2C Metlakatla fishery The Metlakatla Indian Community was authorized by the United States government to conduct a commercial halibut fishery within the Annette Islands Reserve. There were eleven 2-day openings between April 20 and September 23 for a total catch of over 49,000 pounds This was almost 13,000 pounds lower than the 2011 catch, and within the historical catch range that has varied over time from a low of 12,000 pounds in 1998 to a high of 126,000 pounds in 1996. The Quota Share fisheries – British Columbia and Alaska In Area 2B, the halibut IVQ program was implemented in 1991, and 435 vessels received IVQs. Each initial IVQ was split into two shares called blocks. Numerous changes have been made since then, including allowing temporary block transfers (1993) and then permanent block and IVQ transfers (1999). The Groundfish Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) was implemented in 2006 to address rockfish conservation concerns and improve catch monitoring. The IFMP includes quota shares for all hook and line groundfish fisheries, transferability with limits between license holders, 100% at-sea and dockside monitoring, and vessel accountability for all catch, both landed and discarded. There is 100% monitoring through logbook recordings, video camera coverage, and dockside coverage. In 2012, the number of vessels landing Area 2B halibut was 234, with 150 vessels with halibut licenses (L licenses and First Nations communal commercial licenses or FL licenses) and 84 vessels licensed for other fisheries but landing halibut as incidental catch as part of the IFMP. The commercial catch of 5.8 million pounds for Area 2B was 2% under the catch limit. In Alaska, the Individual Fishing Quota/Community Development Quota (IFQ/CDQ) halibut and sablefish fishery program has been in effect since 1995. NMFS Restricted Access Management (RAM) allocates halibut QS to recipients by IPHC regulatory area. Quota share transfers were 12
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permitted with restrictions on the amount of QS a person could hold and the amount that could be fished per vessel. As of November 26, 2012, RAM reported that 2,574 persons held quota shares, down from the initial 4,831 persons at the start of the program (Table 7). The number of vessels catching halibut has decreased by 44% since the implementation of the QS program. The total catch in 2012 from the IFQ/CDQ halibut fishery for the waters off Alaska was 24.7 million pounds, which was 3.3% under the catch limit. For comparison, the 2011 commercial catch was 2.5% under the catch limit. For Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, and 4A, the commercial QS catches were under the catch limits by 2%. For Areas 4B and 4CDE, the catches were 10 and 7% under the catch limit respectively. As mentioned previously, the NPFMC CSP allowed Area 4D CDQ to be harvested in Areas 4D or 4E and Area 4C IFQ and CDQ to be fished in Areas 4C or 4D. These two regulations were the reason the catches in Areas 4D and 4E exceeded the catch limits. Landing patterns Commercial trips from Area 2B were delivered into 11 different ports in 2012. The ports of Port Hardy (including Coal Harbour and Port McNeill), Prince Rupert/Port Edward, and Vancouver were the major landing locations, receiving 93% of the Area 2B commercial catch. Port Hardy received 49% (2.8 million pounds) of the Area 2B commercial catch. Prince Rupert/Port Edward and Vancouver received the second and third largest landing volumes, representing 39% and 5% of the Area 2B commercial catch, respectively. All of the IVQ catch was landed in Area 2B. Homer and Kodiak received approximately 18% (4.4 million pounds) and 19% (4.8 million pounds) of the commercial Alaskan catch, respectively. Landed pounds for these two ports were closer in 2012 and in 2011 than they had been previously. For example, in 2010 Homer and Kodiak received 25% and 14% of the landed poundage, respectively. Kodiak had been the busiest port in the derby days and is again one of the top ports for pounds landed. Seward received the third largest landing volume at 11% of the Alaskan commercial catch. In SE Alaska, Sitka received 5%, Petersburg 4%, and Juneau 4%. The Alaskan QS catch that was landed outside of Alaska was 2.3%. The 2012 QS fishery landings were spread over nine months of the year (Table 8). The proportion of catch landed earlier in the season in British Columbia shifted in the last two years with approximately 38% of the Area 2B catch landed by the end of May in both 2011 and 2012 compared to 49% landed by the end of May in 2010. On a month-to-month comparison, August took the lead as the busiest month for total poundage (19%) from Alaska. In 2011, May was the busiest month for total poundage from Alaska, but ranked third for 2012 landings. August was the busiest month for poundage delivered in British Columbia with approximately 18% of the catch. The sport fishery The 2012 sport harvest was estimated at 6.9 million pounds, a slight decrease of 2.2% over last year, and below the 10-11 million pound amounts from 2004-2008 (Table 9). Decreases were seen in all regulatory areas, except for in Areas 2A and 2C. Washington, Oregon, and California The Area 2A sport harvest of 0.415 million pounds (Williams 2013b) was very close to the allocation (Table 10). To manage the sport fishery to the CSP allocation, the area is subdivided into six subareas with their own quotas, with four core areas having in-season catch monitoring. A subarea is closed when the subarea quota is achieved. The in-season management includes fishery 13
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openings in the spring and fall, changes in the number of fishing days allowed within a week, and closing fishing seasons from weekly to every other week (Table 11). Tracking and validation of the landings are done dockside by state creel samplers. The two subareas without in-season monitoring (Inside Washington waters and South OR/California) have daily bag limits and a fixed season length typically based on fishing success in the preceding year. In 2011, the Oregon portion of the South OR/California subarea had exceptional fishing success for the area and it appears the same unprecedented success was not repeated in 2012. New estimates for the California portion of this area for 2004-2011 have been provided to IPHC by California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Agency staffs worked in 2012 to review the catch estimation and monitoring procedures in the South OR/California subarea and are examining methods for longer term monitoring and fishery management methods. British Columbia The DFO provides the sport estimates that are from mixed sources including overflights, on-water vessels counts, lodge logbooks, and creel sampling by DFO and the Haida Fisheries Program. Piece counts are available from lodge logbooks and creel samples, but size composition data are limited, and lodge data are mostly self-reported and unverified. DFO instituted several management restrictions on the sport fishery to constrain the harvest to stay within the sport allocation and extend the season as long as possible. Two management restrictions were unchanged from 2011, and included a reduction of the daily bag limit from two to one halibut and the prohibition on halibut retention in Area 121 seaward of 12 nmi (SW off Vancouver Island). In 2011, the possession limit changed from three-fish to two-fish, and additional restrictions were implemented in 2012. Starting April 1, a maximum length restriction was implemented with the two fish possession limit, where one halibut had to be less than 83 cm in total length. The 2012 sport season opened on March 1 and closed on September 9. The 2012 sport catch of 1.14 million pounds exceeded the sport fishery allocation by 5.5%. The 2012 measures brought the sport harvest closer to the allocation as it had exceeded the allocation by 28% in 2011 and 2010. For the second season, DFO implemented an experimental leasing program, in which interested recreational fishers could receive experimental licenses that would allow them to lease halibut quota from commercial fishery quota holders which would permit continued sport fishing after the general sport fish closure. In 2012, a total of 59 licenses were issued, with 2,010 pounds transferred to the sport fishery. The preliminary estimate is that 814 pounds were caught under this leasing program. DFO is currently determining whether to make the program permanent. Alaska Estimates of the sport fishery harvest off Alaska are supplied by ADF&G and different methods were used to project guided (charter) and private (unguided) catch estimates. The number of fish harvested by the guided fishery is estimated from data reported by the ADF&G mandatory charter logbook program. The unguided (private) fishery harvest, in number of fish, is estimated from the Statewide Harvest Survey. Average weight data, from creel sampling in the current year, is then used to estimate the pounds caught in both sectors. The 2012 projected sport harvest for Alaska is 5.4 million pounds, similar to the final 2011 estimate of 5.5 million pounds. To improve management of the Area 2C sport charter fishery in 2012, the IPHC adopted a recommendation from the NPFMC for a reverse slot limit, whereby halibut could only be retained 14
2013 IPHC ANNUAL MEETING HANDOUT

if the total length was ≤ 45 inches (114 cm) or ≥ 68 inches (173 cm). This U45/O68 measure was recommended by the Council following analysis by ADF&G which showed that the resulting harvest would be below the 2012 GHL of 0.931 million pounds. The Area 2C sport harvest is projected to have increased in 2012, to 1.4 million pounds from the 2011 harvest of 1.0 million pounds (Table 9). Harvests by both the charter and private sectors increased, though more so in the charter sector, likely due to the relaxation of the maximum size limit of 37 inches in 2011 to the reverse slot limit. The projected charter fishery harvest of 0.645 million pounds was below the GHL of 0.931 million pounds (Table 4). The guided fishery harvest was above the GHL from 2004 to 2010, often substantially. With the more restrictive length regulations of 2011 and 2012, the harvest has been under the GHL. The new fishery management process has a learning curve and although the harvest was under the allocation in 2012 by 30%, the harvest was closer than in 2011 (56%). In Areas 3A, 3B, and 4, the daily bag limit of two halibut for the guided and unguided fisheries remained unchanged. The estimated harvest in Area 3A by the charter and private sectors decreased from 2011 (Tables 4 and 9). The average weight of halibut caught by both the charter and private fishery sectors dropped slightly, although the number of fish caught decreased only in the charter fishery. The harvest by the charter sector was well below the GHL of 3.103 million pounds (Table 4). Estimates of the harvest in Areas 3B and 4 remained relatively low, at 13,000 pounds in Area 3B and 16,000 pounds in Area 4A. Halibut sport fishing is much less common in the western Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea due to the relative remoteness of the ports. Since 2005, annual harvests have ranged from 13,000 to 30,000 pounds in Area 3B, and 16,000 to 50,000 pounds in Area 4. Bycatch mortality IPHC receives bycatch estimates, size, and release condition data from the observer programs which operate off Canada and the United States. Not all fisheries are observed therefore bycatch rates and discard mortality rates from similar fisheries are used to calculate bycatch mortality in unobserved fisheries. In 2012, bycatch mortality was estimated at 9.9 million pounds (Table 12), unchanged from 2011, and the lowest since 1986 (Williams 2013c). Historically, bycatch mortality peaked at 20 million pounds in 1992 due to the growth and expansion of the Alaska groundfish fisheries, declined to between 12-14 million pounds since the late 1990s, and has been below 10 million for the last two years. A notable program implemented in 2011 by the PFMC has had a major impact on lowering halibut bycatch mortality in Area 2A. In 2011, an Individual Quota management program for the shoreside groundfish trawl fishery was started, which provides for an individual bycatch quota (IBQ) system, 100% observer coverage, and real-time reporting. The program is similar to the B.C. trawl program, where there is individual vessel accountability for bycatch mortality. The final 2011 estimates are available, and with the IBQ incentives the overall Area 2A halibut bycatch mortality was lowered by more than half from 0.3 to 0.1 million pounds, from 2010 to 2011.

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Update on the workshop and bycatch estimates At the 2012 Annual Meeting the staff was directed to work on several projects regarding learning more about and educating the public on the bycatch mortality of halibut in non-directed fisheries. The projects included a workshop on bycatch mortality, size, growth, and harvest strategy jointly organized by the IPHC and the NPFMC, a review and update of the bycatch mortality estimates in state managed fisheries in Alaska, and continued work by the IPHC Halibut Bycatch Project Team and Work Group. The workshop was held in Seattle on April 24-25 and was webcast for the public. The purpose was to review the methodology and accuracy of the estimation of halibut bycatch off Alaska, the impacts of halibut bycatch on the halibut stocks coastwide and by area, and the current knowledge of halibut ecology and migration. The report of the workshop including a list of potential future research is available on the IPHC website: http://www.iphc.int/documents/2012bycatch/FINAL_Halibut_Bycatch_Workshop_Meeting_ Summary_April_24-25_2012.pdf The IPHC staff has started the review of bycatch estimates for state-managed fisheries in Alaska and will finalize the estimates in 2013. The fisheries being reviewed include the beam trawl fishery for shrimp and flounders of inside waters in Southeast Alaska, hook-and-line fisheries in Chatham and Clarence Straits in Area 2C, sablefish fisheries in Prince William Sound in Area 3A, and king/tanner crab and shrimp fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. The original estimates for these fisheries were derived from research surveys as these fisheries are unobserved. The Bycatch Project Team and Work Group met several times in 2012, primarily in conference calls. Progress has been made on a comprehensive report which reviews available information on bycatch and other removals from the resource, impacts to the resource, and treatment of bycatch mortality within IPHC’s harvest policy. These efforts are expected to be completed in 2013, with the report being available to the public at that time. Observer coverage of the Alaska halibut fishery With the start of 2013, the commercial halibut fishery off Alaska is now subject to some new fishery monitoring requirements. The redesigned North Pacific Observer Program covers all groundfish fisheries, including the halibut fishery. Vessels which previously had less than 100% at-sea coverage requirements, including the halibut fishery, will now be subject to either trip selection or vessel selection coverage requirements, under a deployment plan developed by NMFS. The groundfish and halibut vessels in these categories will be managed under an ex-vessel fee-based structure. NMFS is currently developing and testing an electronic monitoring program as a monitoring option; an implementation date is unknown. Vessels which have had coverage requirements of greater than 100% coverage will continue with the current program by contracting directly with observer providers. More information is available at the NMFS Alaska Region webpage: http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/observers/

References
Gilory, H. L and Ian J. Stewart. 2013. Incidental mortality of halibut in the commercial halibut fishery wastage). Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Reseach Activities 2012: 53-60. 16
2013 IPHC ANNUAL MEETING HANDOUT

Stewart, I.J., Leaman, B.M., Martell S., and Webster, R.A. 2013. Assessment of the Pacific haliubt stock at the end of 2012. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2013: 93-186. Williams, G. H. 2013a. The personal use harvest of Pacific halibut through 2012. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2012: 61-66. Williams, G. H. 2013b. 2012 sport fishery review. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2012:43-52. Williams, G. H. 2013c. Incidental catch and mortality of Pacific halibut, 1962-2012. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2011:315-336.

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Table 1. The 2012 preliminary estimates of total removals (thousands of pounds, net weight), 2012 catch limits and catch of Pacific halibut by regulatory area, and 2012 sport guideline harvest level and sport guided harvest for Areas 2C and 3A (Preliminary, November 7, 2012). Area Commercial Sport Bycatch Mortality1: O26 U26 fish Personal Use2 Wastage Mortality: O26 U26 fish IPHC Research Total Removals 2012 Catch Limits5 2012 Catch 2012 Sport GHL 2012 guided harvest
1 2

2A 574 415 103 2 253 11 0 18 1,148 9896 1,0136

2B 5,811 1,144 175 14 405 165 6 109 7,829 7,0387 6,9557

2C 2,568 1,405 6 1 387 78 5 119 4,569 2,565 2,568 931 645

3A 11,649 3,938 1,259 681 266 561 30 297 18,681 11,918 11,649 3,103 2,375

3B 4,954 13 1,109 470 22 467 57 112 7,204 5,070 4,954

4 5,511 16 3,685 2,362 434 196 28 76 11,917 5,900 5,511

Total 31,067 6,931 6,337 3,530 1,148 1,478 126 731 51,348 33,480 32,650 NA NA

Area 2A bycatch is the 2011 estimate as the 2012 estimate will not be available until 2013. Includes 2011 Alaskan subsistence harvest estimates. 3 Treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence fish authorized in the 2012 catch sharing plan. 4 Includes 20,000 pounds of sublegal halibut retained in the 2012 Area 4DE Community Development Quota. 5 Does not include poundage from the underage/overage programs in Area 2B or Alaska 6 Includes commercial, sport, and treaty subsistence catch 7 Includes commercial and sport catch

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Table 2. The Area 2A 2012 catch limits allocated by the Pacific Fishery Management Council Catch Sharing Plan and preliminary catch estimates (net weight). Area Non-treaty directed commercial Non-treaty incidental commercial with salmon troll fishery Non-treaty incidental commercial with sablefish fishery Treaty Indian commercial Treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence Sport – Washington Sport – Oregon/California Total allocation IPHC research catch Total
1

Catch Limit 173,216 30,568 21,173 321,650 24,500 214,110 203,783 989,000 989,000

Catch 179,000 35,300 4,400 355,100 24,5001 213,296 202,087 1,013,383 18,000 1,031,383

Ceremonial and subsistence allocation amount.

Table 3. The 2012 Area 2B catch limits as allocated by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and estimated catches (thousands of pounds, net weight). Fishery Commercial fishery Sport fishery Total allocation/catch IPHC research catch Total
1

Allocation 5,953.35 1,084.65 7,038.00 7,038.001

Catch 5,811 1,144 6,955 109 7,064

Adjustments totaling 5,000 pounds were made to the commercial fishery catch limit from the underage/overage plan. In addition, there was an opportunity for individual leasing of quota to the sport sector from the commercial quota share holders and 814 pounds were landed under these recreational licenses.

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Table 4. Estimated harvest by the private (unguided) and charter (guided) sport halibut fishery in millions of pounds (net weight) in Areas 2C and 3A, 2000–2012. Also shown is the Guideline Harvest Level (GHL) applicable to the guided fishery.
Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 20121
1

Private 1.121 0.721 0.814 0.846 1.187 0.845 0.723 1.131 1.265 1.133 0.885 0.685 0.761

Area 2C Charter Total 1.130 2.251 1.202 1.923 1.275 2.090 1.412 2.258 1.750 2.937 1.952 2.798 1.804 2.526 1.918 3.049 1.999 3.264 1.249 2.383 1.086 1.971 0.344 1.029 0.645 1.405

GHL 1.432 1.432 1.432 1.432 1.432 0.931 0.788 0.788 0.788 0.931

Private 2.165 1.543 1.478 2.046 1.937 1.984 1.674 2.281 1.942 2.023 1.587 1.615 1.563

Area 3A Total Charter 3.140 5.305 3.132 4.675 2.724 4.202 3.382 5.427 3.668 5.606 3.689 5.672 3.664 5.337 4.002 6.283 3.378 5.320 2.734 4.758 2.698 4.285 2.793 4.408 2.375 3.938

GHL 3.650 3.650 3.650 3.650 3.650 3.650 3.650 3.650 3.650 3.103

Preliminary

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Table 5. Commercial fishing periods, number of fishing days, catch limit, commercial, research and total catch (thousands of pounds, net weight) by regulatory area for the 2012 Pacific halibut commercial fishery (preliminary, as of November 7, 2012).
Area 2A Treaty Indian Fishing Period Unrestricted: 3/24 –26 5/1 Restricted: 3/17-19 Catch Limit No. of Days 48-hours 13-hours 55-hours 321.7 5/1 – 7/3 30.6 64 days Commercial Catch 155.5 132.6 67.0 355.1 Research Catch Total Catch 155.5 132.6 67.0 355.1

Total Incidental in Salmon Fishery Incidental in Sablefish Fishery Directed1 Directed Total 2A Total Area 2B 2C 3A 3B 4A 4B 4C 4D 4E Alaska Total Grand Total
1 2

35.3

35.3

5/1 – 10/31 6/27 7/11

21.1

184 days 10-hours 10-hours

4.4 150.0 29.0 179.0 573.8 18 Research Catch 109 119 297 112 40 23 4 9 0 604 731

4.4

173.2 546.6 Fishing Period 3/17 – 11/7 3/17 – 11/7 3/17 – 11/7 3/17 – 11/7 3/17 – 11/7 3/17 – 11/7 3/17 – 11/7 3/17 – 11/7 3/17 – 11/7 Catch Limit 5,953 2,624 11,918 5,070 1,567 1,869 1,107 1,107 250 25,512 32,0128 Adjusted Catch Limit2 5,958 2,656 12,033 5,225 1,627 1,922 1,136 1,140 250 25,989 32,4948

179.0 591.8 Total Catch3 5,920 2,687 11,946 5,066 1,578 1,702 573 1,419 315 25,286 31,797.8

Commercial Catch 5,8114 2,5685 11,649 4,954 1,538 1,679 5696 1,410 6,7 3157 24,682 31,066.8

Fishing period limits by vessel class.

Includes adjustments from the underage/overage programs and in 2B, quota held by DFO for First Nations through relinquishment processes. 3 Includes pounds from November 7, 2012 Prior Notice of Landings in Alaska and hail-ins from Fishery Operations System in Canada. 4 Includes the pounds that were landed by Native communal commercial licenses (FL licenses). 5 Includes the pounds taken in the Metlakatla fishery within the Annette Island Reserve. 6 Area 4C IFQ and CDQ could be fished in Area 4D by NMFS and IPHC regulations. 7 Area 4D CDQ could be fished in Area 4E by NMFS and IPHC regulations.
8

Includes Area 2A catch limit.

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Table 6. The fishing period limit (pounds, net weight) by vessel class used in the 2012 directed commercial fishery in Area 2A. Vessel Class Letter A B C D E F G H Feet 0-25 26-30 31-35 36-40 42-45 46-50 51-55 56+ Fishing Period & Limits June 27 July 11 755 200 945 200 1,510 250 4,165 695 4,480 745 5,365 895 5,985 1,000 9,000 1,500

Table 7. The number of vessels catching halibut since the implementation of the Area 2B IVQ fishery and number of vessels and permit holders catching halibut since the implementation of the Alaska IFQ fishery. Year 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Number of vessels fishing in Area 2B 435 433 355 318 295 278 284 287 268 238 239 216 225 219 222 214 210 200 187 236 217 234 Number of vessels fishing in Alaska no IFQ fishery no IFQ fishery no IFQ fishery no IFQ fishery 2,206 2,130 2,163 1,802 1,847 1,841 1,728 1,643 1,592 1,513 1,495 1,476 1,499 1,417 1,326 1,316 1,286 1,227 22
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Number of quota share holders in Alaska no IFQ fishery no IFQ fishery no IFQ fishery no IFQ fishery 4,831 NA NA NA NA 3,541 3,507 3,500 3,435 3,315 3,239 3,210 3,076 2,907 2,851 2,780 2,740 2,574

Table 8. The total pounds (thousands, net weight, preliminary) of 2012 commercial landings (not including IPHC research catch) of Pacific halibut for Alaska and British Columbia by regulatory area and month.
Regulatory Area 2B1 2C 3A2 3B2 4A2 4B2 4CDE2 Alaska Total Total
1 2

March 628 336 670 27

April 838 378 1,747 220

1,033 1,661

2,345 3,183

May 714 526 1,731 777 2453 2643 72 3,615 4,329

June 568 391 1,833 771 294 242 321 3,852 4,420

July 668 176 1,085 709 236 283 740 3,229 3,897

Aug. 1,026 308 1,570 1,298 459 479 602 4,716 5,742

Sept. 514 275 1,204 515 3044 281 422 2,913 3,427

Oct. 759 165 1,724 557 123 129 2,786 3,545

Nov. 96 13 85 80 7 8 193 289

Total 5,811 2,568 11,649 4,954 1,538 1,679 2,294 24,682 30,493

Based on landings from DFO Fishery Operations System (FOS). Based on landings from NMFS Restricted Access Management (RAM) Division 3 Weight combined with the previous month(s) for confidentiality purposes. 4 Weight combined for the months of Sept, Oct, and Nov for confidentiality purposes.

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Table 9. Harvest of halibut by sport fishers (millions of pounds, net weight) by IPHC regulatory area, 1977-2012.
Area 2A Area 2B 0.013 0.008 0.010 0.004 0.015 0.009 0.019 0.006 0.019 0.012 0.050 0.033 0.063 0.052 0.118 0.062 0.193 0.262 0.333 0.186 0.446 0.264 0.249 0.252 0.327 0.318 0.197 0.381 0.158 0.292 0.250 0.290 0.246 0.328 0.186 0.328 0.236 0.887 0.229 0.887 0.355 0.887 0.383 0.887 0.338 0.859 0.344 1.021 0.446 1.015 0.399 1.260 0.404 1.218 0.476 1.613 0.477 1.841 0.511 1.773 0.504 1.556 0.487 1.536 0.490 1.098 0.393 1.156 0.401 1.220 0.415 1.144 2011-2012 change Pounds 0.014 -0.076 Percent 3.5 -6.2
1

Year 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 20121

Area 2C 0.072 0.082 0.174 0.332 0.318 0.489 0.553 0.621 0.682 0.730 0.780 1.076 1.559 1.330 1.654 1.668 1.811 2.001 1.751 2.129 2.172 2.501 1.843 2.251 1.923 2.090 2.258 2.937 2.798 2.526 3.049 3.264 2.383 1.971 1.029 1.405 0.376 36.5

Area 3A 0.196 0.282 0.365 0.488 0.751 0.716 0.945 1.026 1.210 1.908 1.989 3.264 3.005 3.638 4.264 3.899 5.265 4.487 4.511 4.740 5.514 4.702 4.228 5.305 4.675 4.202 5.427 5.606 5.672 5.337 6.283 5.320 4.758 4.285 4.408 3.938 -0.470 -10.7

Area 3B 0.014 0.029 0.018 0.021 0.022 0.021 0.028 0.017 0.017 0.015 0.016 0.013 0.009 0.007 0.014 0.014 0.025 0.026 0.030 0.024 0.014 0.013 -0.001 -7.10

Area 4 0.012 0.011 0.003 0.013 0.008 0.020 0.030 0.036 0.024 0.040 0.127 0.043 0.057 0.042 0.055 0.077 0.069 0.096 0.094 0.073 0.029 0.048 0.031 0.053 0.050 0.046 0.044 0.040 0.024 0.016 0.017 0.016 -0.001 -5.9

Total 0.289 0.378 0.563 0.845 1.112 1.299 1.616 1.840 2.355 3.177 3.509 4.877 5.233 5.586 6.509 6.179 7.725 7.065 7.462 8.083 9.025 8.586 7.379 9.009 8.104 8.012 9.347 10.692 10.852 10.207 11.461 10.673 8.783 7.845 7.089 6.931 -0.158 -2.2

Preliminary

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Table 10. 2012 Area 2A sport harvest allocations and preliminary harvest estimates (pounds, net weight) by subarea. Subarea WA Inside Waters1 WA North Coast WA South Coast Columbia River OR Central Coast South OR/California1 Total
1

Allocation 57,393 108,030 42,739 11,895 191,780 6,056 417,893

Harvest Estimate 57,393 105,478 42,467 7,958 196,031 6,056 415,383

Pounds Over/(Under) 0 (2,552) (272) (3,937) 4,251 0 (2,510)

Percent Taken 100.0 97.6 99.4 66.9 102.2 100.0 99.4

A harvest estimate is not yet available so the allocation is shown as the preliminary harvest.

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Table 11. Summary of the 2012 Pacific halibut sport fishery seasons. No size limits were in effect unless otherwise noted.
Fishing Days per week No. of Fishing Days Daily Bag Limit

Regulatory Area & Region Area 2A - Washington, Oregon & California WA Inside Waters East of Low Point

Fishing Dates

May 3 – 19 May 24 – 27 May 28, 31 Jun 1-2 May 24 – 27 May 28, 31 Jun 1-2 Jun 7 – Jun 23

3 (Thur – Sat) 4 (Thur – Sun) 2 (Mon, Thur) 2 (Fri, Sat) 4 (Thur – Sun) 2 (Mon, Thur) 2 (Fri, Sat) 3 (Thur – Sat) 2 (Thur, Sat) 2 (Thur, Sat) 1 (Thur) 2 (Sun, Tues) 7 (Mon – Sun) 3 (Thur – Sat) 3 (Fri – Sun) 3 (Thur – Sat)1 2 (Fri – Sat)
2

9 4 2 2 4 2 2 9 4 2 1 5 33 33 27 17 4 83 38 184 192 334 334 334

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 13 2 2

Low Point to Sekiu River

WA North Coast (Sekiu Rvr to Queets Rvr)

May 10 – 19 May 31, Jun 2 Jun 14 May 6 – 20 May 7 – Jun 8 May 3 – Jul 14 Aug 3 – Sep 29

WA South Coast (Queets Rvr to Leadbetter Pt.) All depths Northern nearshore Columbia River (Leadbetter Pt. to Cape Falcon) OR Central Coast (Cape Falcon - Humbug Mtn.) All depths Less than 40 fathoms OR/CA (South of Humbug Mtn.) Area 2B - British Columbia Area 2C - Alaska Guided anglers Unguided anglers Areas 3 and 4 - Alaska
1 2

May 10 – Jun 30 Aug 3 – 18 May 1 – Jul 22 Sep 24 – Oct 31 May 1 – Oct 31 Mar 1 – Sep 9 Feb 1 – Dec 31 Feb 1 – Dec 31 Feb 1 – Dec 31

7 (Sun – Sat) 7 (Sun – Sat) 7 (Sun – Sat) 7 (Sun – Sat) 7 (Sun – Sat) 7 (Sun – Sat) 7 (Sun – Sat)

Fishing was prohibited during June 7-9 and June 21-23. Fishing was prohibited during August 10-11. 3 A reserve slot limit defining retained halibut as ≤45 inches or ≥68 inches in total length was in effect in 2012.

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Table 12. Estimates (thousands of pounds, net weight) of bycatch mortality of halibut by year and area, 2003 - 2012.
Area Area 2A Area 2B Area 2C Area 3A Area 3B Area 4 TOTAL
1 2

2003 541 244 341 3,180 1,734 6,822 12,862

2004 351 251 362 3,671 1,274 6,735 12,644

2005 504 346 340 3,220 1,126 7,692 13,228

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 548 322 383 509 346 294 320 143 213 181 341 342 346 344 343 2,975 2,843 3,066 2,722 2,532 1,400 1,115 1,353 1,294 1,147 7,491 7,262 6,555 6,297 6,082 13,049 12,204 11,846 11,378 10,631

2011 106 232 342 2,726 1,165 5,382 9,953

20121 1062 189 7 1,940 1,579 6,048 9,869

Preliminary (Alaska state-managed fisheries not included). 2011 estimate carried forward.

Figure 1. IPHC regulatory areas for the 2012 fishery.

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IPHC Management Strategy Evaluation framework
Steven Martell

Overarching objective
To develop a formal process in which to evaluate the performance of alternative management procedures for the Pacific halibut stock against a range of scenarios that encompass observation and process uncertainty in stock assessments, alternative hypotheses about stock dynamics and structural assumptions. This process is commonly referred to as Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) in fisheries science.

Management Strategy Advisory Body
The MSE process will be overseen by a Management Strategy Advisory Body (MSAB) that is comprised of harvesters (commercial, sport, and subsistence), fisheries managers (DFO and NMFS), processors, IPHC staff, commissioners and academia. The advisory body will be broadly based, both geographically and by harvesting sector. The advisory body will be nominated from existing Commission advisory bodies, nominations from partner agencies, and direct application from the public. The MSAB will consist of approximately 15-20 individuals contemplated by the Commission and a key consideration for members is that they be available to participate in the process from initial development of fisheries objectives, defining performance measures and iteratively refining management procedures. Continuity on the MSAB is key to the success of this process. Role of the MSAB The MSAB will work interactively with analysts on the Commission staff and Research Advisory Board to initially define clear, measurable objectives for this fishery, define candidate management procedures (MP) for testing within the MSE framework, and define the performance measures to evaluate alternative MPs. A management procedure constitutes the entire decisionmaking process starting with what data to be used in stock assessment, a stock assessment method to interpret the data, a harvest control rule in which to compute yield options and a projection model in which to evaluate impacts of alternative yield options on the stock. A series of quantitative measures must be defined in which to evaluate how well each MP performs relative to perfect information. The central role of the MSAB is to: define fishery objectives, articulate management procedures, and define performance measures in which to evaluate MPs. MSAB membership The following table identifies the broad membership of the MSAB by group. The science advisors group would provide input on the technical aspects of developing the operating model(s) to be used in the MSE framework. The processors group would provide inputs on fisheries objectives and the development of performance measures for evaluating candidate management procedures. The harvesters group would also provide inputs on fisheries objectives, the development of management procedures and performance measures. Fisheries managers are key for defining the overall fisheries objectives, as well as, providing input on designing candidate management 28
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procedures and ensuring that the performance measures encompass fisheries legislation in respective countries. Membership should also include at least one Commissioner from each of the respective member countries to ensure the objectives and performance measures encompass commercial, sport, and aboriginal sectors. The IPHC staff will work in collaboration with all members of the MSAB and implement the technical details of the MSE framework; Specifically develop and modify existing software for testing alternative MPs in the MSE framework.
Group Science Advisors Processors Harvesters Managers Commissioners IPHC Staff Number 2-4 2+ 5 2-3 2 4+ Martell, Stewart, Webster, Leaman, ... Potential Candidates

Members of the MSAB should be able to make a long-term commitment in order to ensure that their respective ideas are fully vetted in the MSE process. Other criteria that the Commission will take into consideration in selecting advisors is the breadth of experience in the halibut fishery, experience and expertise in the appropriate group, and the ability to provide objective input into the process and disseminate information. It is also important to ensure a balanced geographic representation from each of the Regulatory Areas. Timeline and project milestones The MSE framework was introduced at the Commission’s interim meeting in November 2012, and the process of forming the MSAB will be initiated at the Annual meeting in January 2013. For the initial formation of the MSAB, the IPHC would like to solicit nominations from existing Commission advisory bodies (RAB, CB, PAG) and direct application from the public. Following, the list of nominations will be categorized (processors, harvesters, managers, etc.) and ranked by the IPHC staff, and then submitted for final selection by the IPHC Commissioners. A preliminary meeting for the MSAB will be held at the earliest possible date after the formation of the MSAB. The purpose of the preliminary meeting is to give members of the MSAB a broad overview of the objectives of MSE. We also hope to include presentations from one or more MSE-based projects that have had practical application (e.g., the Canadian Sablefish Association) with MSE as a general introduction. This initial meeting will also serve the purpose of defining objectives for the halibut fishery, scoping out performance measures in which to compare alternative harvest policies, and flush out key operating model components that will be required to address alternative MPs. Supplemental follow-up meetings via teleconference or webinar will be conducted as required to present preliminary results and reiterate ideas on appropriate performance metrics and fisheries objectives. The development of an operating model is currently underway by IPHC staff, and this work will evolve continuously with the development and revisions of the MSE framework. Input from the MSAB, as well as the available historical data, will help shape the structure of the reference and observation models to be used in the MSE efforts. In addition to the current coast-wide assessment model, alternative assessment models will also undergo simulation testing using the 29
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MSE framework. The reference and observation model platforms provide “known” state variables in which to evaluate alternative assessment models, or changes to the current assessment model. Prior to the second MSAB meeting, it is anticipated that the “alpha” version of the MSE software will have the capability of exploring alternative estimators (or structural assumptions), alternative harvest control rules, and establish base-line metrics based on “perfect information” over a range of alternative hypotheses about stock structure. The second annual meeting of the MSAB will receive presentations on progress of the development of the MSE software and some preliminary results with respect to initial ideas from the first annual MSAB meeting (and interim meetings if necessary). This will be the first real opportunity for the MSAB to provide feedback on the MSE software and help refine and devise alternative management procedures for testing in the next iteration. We anticipate that many of the issues surrounding the assessment, monitoring and management of the halibut resource will be of significant interest to members of the Research Advisory Board (RAB) the Conference Board (CB) and the Processors Advisory Group (PAG). Given the overlap of interests, MSAB annual meetings are likely to immediately follow the annual RAB meeting, just prior to the interim meeting. Additional presentations will also be given at the Interim Meeting, the Annual Meeting in January each year, and summarized in the Report of Assessment and Research Activities each year. The following bullet points identify the major milestones and summarizes the work to be performed in more-or-less chronological order. • Assemble MSAB • Send out a call for nominations for the MSAB (Public, RAB, CB, and PAG) • Commissioners approve choices for the MSAB • MSAB (I) preliminary meeting • overview of project & presentation from MSE experts (Cox/Kronlund/A’Mar) • define tasks for MSAB • develop fisheries objectives • initial scoping of performance measures • operating model skeleton • Interim MSAB (webinar) • revise performance metrics and fisheries objectives • Develop MSE software (alpha version) • Operating model: • reference model (true state of nature) • observation models (simulating data programs) • estimator(s) (stock assessment models) • harvest control rules • projection scenarios (alternative hypotheses) • establish metrics and a status quo management procedure • MSAB (II) • presentation of alpha model & preliminary results • refine, add, drop additional MP and performance metrics • feedback from MSAB, re-iterate and revise as necessary • MSE presentation at annual meeting and in RARA (2014-2016) • outreach • continue to work with MSAB to refine and test current and alternative MP 30
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Fishery Objectives managers, stakeholders

Performance measures

Communication uncertainty, trade-offs, risk
Profit

Management procedure Management procedures nagement Management procedures g procedure p Management procedures data, data data, t data, ata, data, as ss n , assessment, ssessment, sme sment assessment, ssessment, t, assessment, decision rules decision rule nt, ecision les ec i l decision rules ecision rule les decision rules

Catch

AAV

Depletion Bycatch Bycatch

MP

31

Evaluation scenarios, simulations, performance measures

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Figure 1. An illustration of the four major component processes used in Management Strategy Evaluation. First, fisheries objectives must be defined that ultimately define performance measures. A suite of alternative management procedures are developed and used to fill each row of the performance measures table. The evaluation of each management procedure is done over a range of scenarios that span the range of uncertainty in our current understanding of halibut dynamics. Lastly, communication with stakeholders is a key step in refining fisheries objectives and designing new management procedures that are robust to uncertainty.

Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock at the end of 2012
Ian J. Stewart, Bruce M. Leaman, Steven Martell, and Raymond A. Webster

Abstract
This stock assessment reports the status of the Pacific halibut resource in the northeastern Pacific, including the territorial waters of the United States and Canada. Annual removals were above the 100 year average of 64 million pounds from 1985 through 2010, dropping to 60 million pounds in 2011, and then 51 million pounds in 2012, in response to management measures intended to stabilize declining trends in the IPHC setline survey and stock assessment estimates. All data sources were updated through 2012. The 2012 setline survey showed an increase in WPUE (+12% relative to 2011), the first since the current geographically comprehensive survey began in 1997. Age distributions in 2012 from both the survey and fishery were very similar to those observed in 2011, indicating a relatively stable stock, but not showing any evidence of strong recruitments in recent years. Individual size-at-age continues to be low relative to the rest of the time-series, although there were signs of flattening in the declining trend for some ages for both males and females. For 2012, there was a full review of the data, specific model equations and general approach used to assess the stock in recent years. This effort consisted of three parts: 1) investigate and address the cause of the retrospective pattern observed in recent assessments, 2) improve the way uncertainty is propagated through data processing, model estimation and into the results used for management, and 3) identify additional work needed to create a more stable and easily reviewed stock assessment for the future. This work culminated in a successful Scientific Review Meeting, 24-26 October, 2012. Allowing for time-varying availability in the assessment model removed the retrospective bias in recent status estimates and is consistent with observed geographic and demographic trends. This change to the assessment model resulted in a much more pronounced decline in the estimated stock trend in recent years, a large reduction in the scale of current population estimates, and also a decrease in the estimated average level of productivity. The 2012 assessment indicated that the Pacific halibut stock has been declining continuously over much of the last decade as a result of decreasing size-at-age, as well as poor recruitment strengths. The population decline is estimated to have slowed and the stock trajectory is now relatively flat at 35% of the reference level, just above the harvest policy threshold (30%). Despite reductions in harvest levels in 2011 and 2012, the assessment estimates that, in retrospect, harvest rates have been well above the coastwide targets implied by the current harvest policy. The 2013 estimate of exploitable biomass is 186.49 million pounds, significantly smaller than the 2011 estimate of 260 million pounds. A bridge with the 2011 stock assessment results is provided, along with revised results from that model using the final data sets available through 2011 and through 2012 for direct comparison to the 2012 assessment results. Forecast projections were conducted for a range of alternative management actions, and probabilities of various risk metrics are reported in a decision-making table framework. The application of the current harvest policy, consistent with the approach used in recent stock assessments, results in the Blue line of the decision-making table indicating a coastwide TCEY of 36.63 million pounds and FCEY of 22.7 million pounds.

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Introduction
Stock, management, and removals This stock assessment reports the status of the Pacific halibut resource in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, including the territorial waters of the United States and Canada. As in recent assessments (Hare 2011), the resource is modeled as a single stock extending from northern California to the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea, including all inside waters, the Strait of Georgia and Puget Sound. Potential connectivity with the western Pacific resource is considered slight and is not explicitly accounted for. The halibut fishery has been managed for nearly 100 years, and much is known about the history of fishery removals, population trends and life-history characteristics. Total annual halibut removals (including all sources of mortality: target fishery landings and discards, bycatch in nontarget fisheries, research, sport and personal use) have ranged from 34 to 100 million pounds over the last 100 years (Fig. 1; all weights in this document are reported as ‘net’ weights, head and guts removed; this is approximately 75% of the round weight). The average annual removal over this period has been 64 million pounds. Annual removals were above the 100 year average from 1985 through 2010, dropping to 60 million pounds in 2011 and then 51 million pounds in 2012 (Table 1). After a peak in 2004, annual removals have decreased each subsequent year in response to management measures intended to stabilize declining trends in IPHC setline survey WPUE (Weight-Per-Unit-Effort, net lb/skate) and stock assessment estimates. These reductions have been proportionally greatest for the directed longline fishery (Fig. 2), although all components have seen reductions during this period. Management of halibut includes a complex set of regulations that vary among fishery sectors, regulatory areas and management bodies. The management of annual removals begins with the Total Constant Exploitation Yield (TCEY), which is defined as the target level of harvest of halibut exceeding 26 in. (66 cm) in fork length (O26). This value is obtained by applying regulatory area-specific harvest rates (based on current harvest policy) to the coastwide estimate of Exploitable biomass (frequently referred to as Ebio in previous assessments) after it has been apportioned among areas. Apportionment calculations consist of adjusting raw survey WPUE in each regulatory area to account for the fraction of the annual fishing mortality that occurred prior to the survey, competition for baits as measured by the proportion of hooks returning with baits, and the geographic extent of the area. These calculations and results are described in Webster and Stewart (2013). Over the last decade, management has followed this prescription quite closely, with the TCEY tracking the declines in each subsequent estimate of exploitable biomass (from the annual stock assessment results), available at the time of each decision (Fig. 3). Both the setline survey and commercial fishery logbook WPUE trends have shown a very similar trend when compared with assessment results (Fig. 3). The Fishery Constant Exploitation Yield (FCEY) is calculated by subtracting from the TCEY the removals associated with directed fishery wastage (sublegal fish discarded that are then assumed to die due to hooking mortality as well as mortality of all sizes from lost fishing gear), bycatch, sport and personal use fisheries (with the exceptions of Area 2A, where personal use and sport removals are included in the FCEY, and Area 2B where sport removals are included in the FCEY). Since 2004, reductions in the TCEY have translated into reductions in the total removals from all sources, as well as the FCEY. During this period, there has been an increase in the proportional contribution of other removals (Fig. 4).

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Data sources
The data included in this assessment are comprised of fishery-dependent sources, fisheryindependent sources, and auxiliary biological information (Table 2). These data represent the survey trends, biological characteristics associated with these trends (proportions-at-age by sex, length-at-age, and weight-at-age), removals from the stock from each source, as well as the biological characteristics of those removals. All raw observations undergo various processing steps to account for sampling methods, and then a process of aggregation to the coastwide level. Data are first summarized by regulatory area, and then weighted appropriately, such that inputs to the assessment represent total coastwide mortality, or the geographically-weighted average values for indices of abundance and biological summaries (length-, weight-, and age-composition data). Further, where different methods have been used in different years (e.g., ageing methods before and after 2002) these changes are also accounted for. The primary sources of information for this assessment and the methods used to process them remain unchanged from recent stock assessments, although guidance on potential improvements for the 2013 stock assessment is outlined in the report of the recent Scientific Review Meeting (Stewart et al. 2012). Data through 2011 were updated to include additional observations either not available for the 2011 stock assessment (e.g., finalized 2011 catches, additional logbook information), or improved estimates over the time-series for all sources. All data sources were finalized on 7 November, 2012 in order to provide adequate time for analysis and modeling prior to the IPHC’s interim meeting. Fishery-independent data The annual IPHC setline survey provides the primary source of fishery-independent data available for the stock assessment. Trend information included in the assessment model includes both WPUE and Numbers-Per-Unit-Effort (NPUE) for halibut over 32 in. (81.3 cm) in fork length (O32). Trends in these indices of abundance had been steadily declining through 2011 since 1997 when the current geographically comprehensive survey design was initiated (Table 3, Fig. 5). However, the 2012 setline survey indices of WPUE and NPUE were 12% and 9% higher than those from 2011. Despite the increase in the coastwide aggregate, this trend was not ubiquitous across all regulatory areas (Figs. 5 and 6). The largest WPUE increase was observed in area 2B (30%), with area 4B showing a large decline (29%). Coastwide age distributions observed by the survey in 2012 were very similar to those observed in 2011, indicating a relatively stable stock, but not showing any clear evidence of strong recent recruitments (Fig. 8). The majority of the halibut encountered by the survey has consistently remained in the 7-15 year-old range for the recent decade (Fig. 9). Prior to that time, stronger recruitment around the 1987 cohort was quite dominant in the proportions-at-age. The average age observed in the survey increased until 2002 (following the aging of the 1987 cohort) and has since declined to 12.2 years in 2012 (Fig. 10). This is slightly older than the age at 50% maturity. Average individual weight has declined significantly from 21.2 lb in 1997 to 13.7 lb in 2012. This reflects not only the decline in the average age, but also a strong decline in both length- and weightat-age (estimated from the weight-length relationship) over all ages observed and for both female and male halibut (Figs. 11 and 12). The apparent ‘kink’ in these size-at-age patterns is likely due to a change in ageing methods (described below), rather than an actual biological phenomenon. Some flattening of recent trends is evident in the 2012 length- and weight-at-age data, particularly

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for female halibut between ages 10-20, which are those ages making the greatest contribution to the spawning biomass. NOAA trawl surveys provide direct calibration information used to extrapolate the setline survey estimates in the Bering Sea, and also indirect comparisons of stock trend for the assessment results. The trawl surveys capture a relatively high proportion of age-2 to age-5 halibut, much younger than frequently observed in the commercial fishery or setline survey, and therefore also potentially provide an index for recruitment. The NOAA Bering Sea trawl survey conducted in 2012 observed a slight (1%) decrease in total biomass (estimated via density multiplied by area-swept), and a modest increase (17%) in the biomass thought to be available to the setline survey (Fig. 13). These differing trends appear to be caused by a decline in the number of small halibut, but an increase in the number of fish available to the survey (Fig. 14). No clear evidence for strong incoming recruitments can be seen in the annual size distributions from the Bering Sea, since the relatively strong 2005 cohort was first observed (Fig. 15). Although there was a NOAA Aleutian Islands trawl survey conducted in 2012, there was insufficient time to process and analyze these data for this assessment document. Using data through 2012, different trends have been observed in Area 4B and 4A. Specifically, both total and exploitable numbers have declined in 4B, while total numbers have increased in 4A (Fig. 16 Since the exploitable numbers have also declined in 4A, there have apparently been some increases in smaller fish in that area. There was no NOAA trawl survey conducted in the Gulf of Alaska during 2012. Due to the spacing in the timing of the surveys, it is difficult to draw strong conclusions; however, the numbers of exploitable fish appear to have declined over the last decade (Fig. 17) consistent with setline survey and fishery observations. Fishery-dependent data Up-to-date estimates of commercial fishery landings from the stock are compiled from a variety of sources (Table 1). These commercial landings are inflated to account for lost gear, as well as discarded sublegal halibut and also include annual research catches. Because there are no direct observations of discarding for most of the directed fishery, a proxy method is required to infer the number and size of discarded fish. For all recent assessments, these quantities have been estimated via the ratio of legal to sublegal halibut captured by the setline survey for each year and area combination. Only the survey stations with the highest 33% of all catch-rates are included in this analysis, as the catch rates observed for these stations have been found to track the observed commercial rates quite well (Gilroy and Stewart, 2013). This approach makes the implicit assumption that temporal and spatial difference between survey and fishery catches do not result in significant demographic differences in availability and should be a point of future investigation. Logbooks collected from the commercial fishery generate indices of both WPUE and NPUE. These indices indicate very similar trends to those observed in the setline survey (Table 3). Many of the general patterns observed in the logbooks are also similar to those from the setline survey, particularly the observed recent increasing trends throughout Area 2. However, unlike the survey WPUE, the coastwide commercial fishery WPUE was almost unchanged from 2011 to 2012, and there were somewhat more pronounced declines in Area 3 (Figs. 18 and 19). The length- and age-frequency distributions of commercially landed halibut are sampled by IPHC port samplers. Because these fish have been gutted at sea the sex cannot be determined at 35
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the time of sampling. Sex-ratios observed in the setline survey generally show a tight relationship with size within a given age, due to the pronounced sexually dimorphic growth pattern of females attaining much larger sizes than males. Because of this consistency, the relationship between sexratio and size by age has historically been estimated from the survey and then applied to the fishery biological samples in order to infer the ages and lengths-at-age by sex. Although representing a very reasonable approach, this processing step has implications for calculation of uncertainty and was recommended for revisiting in the future by the Scientific Review Meeting (Stewart et al. 2013). Age distributions for most years observed in the commercial fishery are very similar to those observed in the setline survey, but generally show fewer fish less than age-10 (due to a high proportion of these fish being sublegal). This was again the case in 2012 (Fig. 9). Also discernible in the commercial age-frequency distribution for 2012 are relatively fewer males (again, a greater proportion are sublegal) as well as slightly more of the oldest fish at age-25 or greater. These old fish were observed primarily in Areas 4A and 4B, with fish greater than age-20 almost entirely absent from Area 2 (Fig. 20). As in the survey data, recent age distributions have been relatively stable, with most of the commercial catch ranging from 8-15 years old (Fig. 21). The coastwide average weight and age of commercially caught fish are consistently greater than those observed in the survey (Fig. 10), but area-specific patterns are very pronounced. The average commercial landed fish weight has declined over the recent time-series; however, this trend has not been consistent across all regulatory areas. Specifically, average weight in Areas 2B, 2C and 4A has been increasing for the last several years, while in Areas 3, 4B and 4D there have been very strong and consistent declines (Fig. 22). The heaviest average fish observed in 2012 were found in Area 2C. Declines in length- and weight-at-age for both females and males appear to have been more pronounced in commercially caught fish than was observed in the survey data (Figs. 23 and 24). Note that for some ages there are very few observations and therefore historically fixed values are assigned; however these values are applied to so few fish they are virtually irrelevant in subsequent calculations. In general, there also seems to have been less flattening of the declines in size-at-age in the commercial data between 2011 and 2012 than in the survey observations. Auxiliary information There is a variety of auxiliary information that is analyzed external to the assessment model and contributes to the analysis either as fixed parameter values or as structural assumptions built into the model framework. This includes both biological relationships, as well as information about the methods used to collect the raw data. Although the stock assessment compares predictions of age frequency to the sampled proportions-at-age, age itself is observed imprecisely and sometimes with some degree of bias. Current ageing is conducted using the Break-and-Bake (BB) method, which has been shown to be unbiased (Piner and Wischnioski 2004). Even unbiased ageing methods are still subject to observation error (imprecision), and this has been thoroughly quantified for the BB method (Clark 2004, Clark and Hare 2006a). The degree of BB ageing imprecision previously estimated and used in all recent stock assessments has not been altered for this analysis. Prior to 2002, ages were read using surface reading, a method that is known to be biased for older fish across many species. Further, the method is much less precise than BB ageing, resulting in lower quality information available to the stock assessment. Although the bias and imprecision have both been quantified for surface-read halibut ages (Clark and Hare 2006a), there has been some concern regarding the 36
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quality of these estimates (J. Valero, unpublished analyses) and an effort to re-analyze historical ages is currently underway at the IPHC. Observations-at-age prior to 2002 are corrected to account for the perceived degree of bias and imprecision; however discontinuities are still discernible in the time-series’ of length- and weight-at-age for both the survey and fishery (Figs. 11, 12, 23 and 24). This issue was identified during the Scientific Review Meeting (Stewart et al. 2013), and will be the subject of further analysis as re-ageing data become available. The maturity schedule for Pacific halibut has also been investigated historically and the relative maturity-at-age found to be very stable despite long-term changes in size-at-age (Clark and Hare 2006). Estimates of the age at which 50% of female halibut are sexually mature average 11.6 years, with very few fish mature at ages less than five and nearly all fish mature by about age17 (Fig. 25). Natural morality is a notoriously difficult quantity to collect to information on for any fish species, and halibut is no exception to this. Tagging studies can, when correctly accounting for tag loss, tagging morality, reporting rates, and fishing intensity, provide some information on the magnitude of natural mortality. Estimates produced as priors for the IPHC’s PIT tagging analyses included a range of values from roughly 0.1 to 0.2. Although there was little statistical difference between an estimated value vs. a fixed value of 0.15, the point estimate produced from the PIT tag analysis was 0.124 (Webster 2010). The asymmetric implications of over- vs. underestimating the true value for natural mortality in a stock assessment (Clark 1999) and a reevaluation of life-history information led to the adoption of the current value of 0.15/year for female halibut in the 1998 stock assessment (Clark and Parma 1998), revised downward from the 1997 assessment, which used a value of 0.2/year (Sullivan and Parma 1997). Uncertainty in this value is discussed in more detail below, and directly included in the results of this assessment via the decision-making table.

Assessment
The evolution of the stock assessment for Pacific halibut has closely tracked that of fisheries science in general (Clark 2003), moving from simple equilibrium-based models to current agestructured approaches (Table 4). Key transitions in this evolution relevant to the changes made for 2012 occurred with the change in natural mortality in 1998 and with the shift to a coastwide stock assessment in 2006. Both of these changes were logical and substantially improved the performance of the models at the time. Changes to the 2011 assessment In 2012, the model input data, specific model equations, and the general approach used to assess the halibut stock in recent years was fully reviewed by IPHC staff, and an external review panel. The primary focus of this effort consisted of three parts: 1) investigate and address the cause of the retrospective pattern observed in recent assessments, 2) improve the way uncertainty is propagated through data processing, model estimation and into the results used for management, and 3) identify additional work needed to create a more stable and easily reviewed stock assessment for in the future. This work culminated in a successful Scientific Review Meeting (24-26 October, 2012), from which a detailed summary report is available (Stewart et al. 2013). The most pressing issue to resolve for 2012 was the pronounced retrospective pattern (Fig. 26) observed among recent Pacific halibut stock assessments (Clark and Hare 2006b, 2007, Hare and Clark 2008, Hare 2009, 2010, 2011). This retrospective pattern resulted in each stock 37
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assessment estimating a lower absolute stock level than the previous assessment, which can have strong potential implications for harvest policy (Valero 2011). However, it is difficult to correct adequately for such a bias when the cause is unknown. The retrospective pattern was clearly evident within the 2011 model (the wobblesq configuration, on which most of the 2011 results were focused) when evaluated by sequentially removing the terminal year of data and re-estimating the time-series of spawning biomass (Fig. 27). As was documented in the 2011 assessment, the retrospective bias in stock size was a direct result of transient overestimation of incoming year-class strengths during the period for which they were relatively poorly informed by the data but contributing significantly to the spawning biomass (i.e., the 1998-2000 cohorts in 2011; Fig. 28). In order to resolve the retrospective pattern, a detailed investigation of the stock assessment model code and structural assumptions was performed during August and September, 2012. No significant coding errors or inconsistencies in data preparation that appeared to be contributing to the retrospective bias were discovered. Treatment of bycatch mortality (selectivity and magnitude), commercial and survey catchability (identified as a potential factor during the 2011 process; Valero, unpublished analyses), the translation of length- to age-based selectivity, smoothing of recruitment estimates as well as many other potential mechanisms were tested, but none showed any strong correlation with retrospective performance. The most informative tests conducted consisted of: 1) directly penalizing large recruitments, 2) substantially increasing the relative weight placed on the survey trend during model fitting, and 3) evaluating the potential for time-varying availability (Fig. 29). The first of these tests merely provided a means to determine how the fit to all data sources in the model changed as ‘brute force’ was applied to directly remove the retrospective pattern, without any understanding of its underlying cause. This analysis indicated that the age data were clearly linked to the retrospective behavior, as the fit to these data was consistently degraded as the retrospective bias was removed. The second test provided insight into the relative weighting of the various data sets, particularly the consistency of the survey trend with retrospective patterns. It was discovered that the retrospective bias was removed if the survey WPUE trend was substantially upweighted (thereby decreasing the relative weight on the age data). Although informative, neither of these tests provided an explanation for the retrospective patterns, only a highlighting of which data (the age information) were most closely implicated. Availability (also called ‘selectivity’) provides the link between the underlying estimated population age-structure and the observed age data in a stock assessment model. When modeled at a small spatial scale the dominant component of this process is represented by vulnerability: which demographic components (i.e., small vs. large fish, old vs. young fish) are most likely to be captured when the gear is deployed. At a coastwide scale, availability includes not only the capture efficiency of the fishing gear, but also the interaction between the spatial distribution of the stock and the differences in population characteristics (i.e., age, length, weight- or length-atage ) among areas. Historical closed area assessment models had maintained a rigid assumption that availability could not vary over time, and this assumption had been carried forward to the current coastwide model, despite the difference in effective application of the relationship at over a much broader spatial scale. Further, the large amount of weight carried by the age-composition data in the assessment model relative to the survey index of abundance was both found to have contributed the observed retrospective bias and the difficulty in identifying it. The age data were largely responsible for stock estimates. As has been the case twice before in the history of the halibut stock assessment (1994 and 2002), a change in the parameterization of availability was 38
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required to improve model performance, and remove the retrospective bias. Several different approaches to implementation of time-varying availability were investigated, and all produced results that much more closely matched the observed time-series of survey catch rates than did the 2011 model. The approach that was selected utilized the same smoother implemented to create continuity between availability of adjacent size bins (Clark and Hare 2006; page 29). This is merely a second differencing equation with a standard error input via the data file. In recent assessments, the standard deviation for the smoothing function over size has been set to 0.05. Values ranging from 0.001 to 0.1 for the standard deviation for the smoother applied to inter-annual changes in availability for each size bin were explored. Values approaching zero produced identical results to a model with no variability over time permitted and larger values quickly converged to relatively stable model estimates of stock size. A working value of 0.025, implying somewhat less change over time than among sizes, produced stable availability estimates and model behavior. This approach also successfully removed the retrospective bias (Fig. 30) in recent status estimates and is consistent with observed geographic and demographic trends. This change to the assessment model resulted in a much more pronounced decline in the estimated stock trend in recent years (Fig. 31), as a result of much lower estimates of recent recruitments (Fig. 32). These revised estimates also correspond to a large reduction in the average level of productivity, and therefore the absolute value of the spawning biomass reference points (Fig. 33). In tandem, these results suggest only a modest decrease in stock status relative to the harvest policy target. Using only data updated through 2011, the 2011 model estimate of 2012 spawning biomass was 40.9% of the reference level, which was reduced to 31.8% in the revised model, despite a 40% reduction in the absolute estimates. The largest change can be observed in the estimated time-series of age-8+ biomass, which no longer shows a rapid increase in the most recent years (Fig. 34).

Summary of the 2012 model
Little change was made to the 2011 model framework other than the addition of time varying availability, and making aggregate catchability a single estimated quantity. The annual curves remained quite similar for the commercial fishery over time; however the setline survey is estimated to have experienced increasing availability of smaller halibut and decreasing availability of larger fish (Fig. 35). These estimates are consistent with observed increases in abundance in Area 2 and decreases in Areas 3-4, and the biological characteristics generally observed in those areas. As has been the case in recent assessments, the sport and personal use/subsistence fleets are assigned the same selectivity pattern as the survey. Bycatch morality is assumed to follow a fixed selectivity pattern with a dome-shape, selecting more 40-50 cm halibut than 60+ cm (Fig. 36). Commercial fishery catchability is allowed to vary over time, with the estimated trend for both males and females similar to that seen in previous assessments (Fig. 37). Natural mortality is fixed at a value of 0.15/year for females and estimated to be 0.143 for males. Likelihood equations and model dynamics were also unchanged from previously documented equations (Clark and Hare 2006a). An effort to fully document all steps involved with data preparation, and the stock assessment model itself, was begun during 2012; however, it was deemed inefficient to proceed with this process until clear guidance on future improvements could be identified. This was achieved during 39
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the Scientific Review Meeting (Stewart et al. 2013), and will be completed for the 2013 process. This effort will also focus on developing models with implicit treatment of spatial patterns, better use of data collected prior to 1996, and other improvements identified during the Scientific Review Meeting.

Goodness of fit
The 2012 stock assessment model is able to fit the primary indices of abundance (WPUE and NPUE) from both the setline survey and commercial fishery reasonably well, similar to those fits reported for previous models (Fig. 38). Because the age data are included in the stock assessment in several different forms (e.g., setline survey proportions-at-age and NPUE-at-age) there is a great deal of redundancy in the fitting. For this reason, only one set of fits to age data from the setline survey and commercial fishery are presented graphically. Redundant sources produced very similar patterns. The fit to the total setline survey proportions-at-age captures the general modal structure of the observed data (Fig. 39), and is similar for both females (Fig. 40) and males (Fig. 41). The fit to the commercial fishery total catch-at-age (Fig. 42), as well as the females (Fig. 43) and males (Fig. 44) separately is similar to that of the setline survey. As is often the case patterns in goodness-of-fit can be much more readily identified through examination of residual plots than through direct examination of fits to the data. Residual patterns for survey proportions-at-age indicate some lack-of-fit associated with the above average 1987 year-class (Fig. 45). This lack of fit shows a transition from positive to negative values occurring at age-16 in 2003, right after the change from surface to break-and-bake ageing methods. A similar pattern can be seen in the female residuals (Fig. 46), which also show positive values for the oldest fish. Male survey residuals tend to show more negative residuals across the youngest and oldest ages (Fig. 47), but a similar transition after 2002. Fishery residuals also display these patterns for fit to total numbers-at-age (Fig. 48), as well as females (Fig. 49) and males (Fig. 50) separately.

Biomass, recruitment and reference point results
The results of the 2012 stock assessment indicate that the Pacific halibut stock has been declining continuously over much of the last decade (Fig. 51, Table 5). This decline has been a result of decreasing size-at-age, as well as relatively poor recruitment strengths (Fig. 52, Table 5). In the last few years, both the exploitable and spawning stock biomass appear to have stabilized, and the predicted numbers-at-age have remained relatively consistent for older ages (e.g., 15-25 years; Table 6). Based on the reductions in recent harvest levels and evidence from the survey index of abundance as well as the age-composition data, the stock assessment estimates that the current stock trajectory is relatively flat. Spawning biomass is estimated to have increased from 197 to 201 million lb from 2012 to 2013 and exploitable biomass from 179 to 186 million lb over the same period. The current harvest policy for Pacific halibut utilizes a ramp from target harvest rates to no fishing between 30% relative spawning biomass and 20% relative spawning biomass (Fig. 53). At the beginning of 2013, the stock is estimated to be at 35% of the reference level, just above the harvest policy threshold (Fig. 54, Table 5). The details of the calculation of relative spawning biomass have not changed from recent assessments. Briefly, this calculation relies on a historical estimate of spawning-biomass-per-recruit (118.5 lb/age-6 recruit), using size-at-age from the 1960s to 1970s (Hare 2012). Average estimated age-6 recruitment is calculated from the assessment, 40
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corrected for environmental regime (Clark and Hare 2006), and then multiplied by the historical spawning-biomass-per-recruit to produce and estimate of the average spawning biomass in the absence of fishery removals. The current harvest policy assigns a harvest rate of 21.5% to Areas 2A, 2B, 2C and 3A, and a harvest rate of 16.125% to Areas 3B, 4A, 4B, and 4CDE. Because the harvest policy is defined at the Area-specific level, the results of apportionment calculations must be used (Webster and Stewart 2013), to evaluate the relative fishing intensity, even though the assessment is conducted at a coastwide scale. Specifically, in order to compare the effective coastwide harvest rate (ECHR) estimated in the stock assessment to a target level, exploitable biomass must be apportioned to area, with area-specific catch limits aggregated back to the coastwide level (Fig. 55). Using this method, harvest rates are estimated to have been well above targets for the last decade (Fig. 56). This calculation is made in hindsight, and does not correspond to the estimates and targets as historical management decisions were being made, but to the realized harvest rates now estimated in the 2012 stock assessment. Reductions in harvest levels in 2011 and 2012 have brought realized harvest rates much of the way back toward the coastwide target, and declines in spawning biomass appears to have moderated and reversed slightly in 2012 (Fig. 57). To provide a direct link, or bridge, with the 2011 stock assessment results, those values are reported along with revised results from that model using the final data sets available through 2011 and through 2012 (Table 7). The estimated trend and absolute level of spawning biomass are both very similar between the two models, with the primary divergence visible in the most recent five years (Fig. 58). The very sharp increase estimated by the 2011 model (and previous models) was an artifact of the retrospective pattern, and such increases had been predicted for several sequential assessments, but had never been subsequently observed in the data. The trend in the estimate of spawning biomass for the 2011 stock assessment model updated through 2012 indicated a continued retrospective pattern, further reinforcing the improvements made in the 2012 stock assessment model.

Major sources of uncertainty
Estimation uncertainty, or the portion of uncertainty associated with estimating the most likely values for the parameters of the stock assessment from the available data, is relatively small. Although this is common for many fisheries stock assessments, the degree of pre-model processing and redundancy in the halibut data sets likely result in a substantial underestimation of this source of uncertainty. Nonetheless, it is included in the decision-making framework described below. Additional sources of uncertainty include choices made in structuring the assessment model (e.g., explicit inclusion or exclusion of spatial processes), steps taken during data processing, and many other sources that are not included in the results. The Scientific Review Meeting identified a number of data and model related aspects of uncertainty that could be included in future stock assessments, but for which there was insufficient time during the 2012 process to adequately pursue. During the 2012 stock assessment process there was substantial discussion regarding estimates of total removals used in the halibut stock assessment. Some of these removals are observed directly through landings, but many others, such as discard mortality and some sources of bycatch in non-target fisheries are inferred from sparse or incomplete data. Using methods consistent with previous years’ analyses, this stock assessment includes estimates of removals including all sizes of halibut from all sources for which an estimate is available. To the extent that these estimates 41
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are incorrect or incomplete, the results of the assessment will be biased. It is difficult to predict how changes in estimated removals might influence model results, and potential effects are likely to depend on the trends and absolute scale of such changes. This is the case for nearly all stock assessment analyses, and is an important source of uncertainty if the differences among current estimates and actual removals are large. If improved estimates are made available, these can be directly incorporated into the 2013 stock assessment. If uncertainty estimates can be generated for currently used values, or even if plausible ranges removals can be identified, this is a source of uncertainty that could be directly incorporated into the decision-making framework outlined below. Recent trends of below average recruitment and decreasing size-at-age have been important contributing factors in the overall stock decline. Unfortunately, although the stock assessment can track these trends quite precisely, it does not provide information on the mechanisms causing these trends. The effects of recent poor recruitment are likely to influence spawning biomass trends in the near-term, as these weak cohorts mature. Regardless of harvest levels, potential increases in stock biomass will also be very sensitive to future trends in size-at-age and recruitment. Until these processes are better understood they represent a substantial source of uncertainty that is difficult to include in the forecast projections. Extending the time-series of data included in the stock assessment may help to better identify covariates (e.g., Clark and Hare 2002) which will improve understanding of these population mechanisms. Extending the time-series may also help to reduce the effects of the current ‘one-way-trip’ of decreasing indices of abundance. Such trends are known to create problems for stock assessment models in delineating between productivity and absolute population size (e.g., Hilborn and Walters 1992). Sensitivity analyses using the 2011 model Because survey catchability was a major source of discussion during the 2011 stock assessment process, and was suggested to be a potential factor contributing to the retrospective bias (Valero, unpublished analyses), a sensitivity to the treatment of this parameter is presented for the wobblesq model. Using data updated through 2012, a single value for catchability was (constant over time), was estimated and compared with the time-varying implementation in the wobblesq model. This analysis revealed a similar pattern as in 2011: the absolute stock estimate decreased slightly, but over a relatively small range compared to the full application of time-varying availability (Fig. 59). This is likely due to time-varying catchability capturing a small amount of the demographic shift in availability, but not enough to remove the retrospective pattern. Sensitivity analyses During preliminary model investigation conducted during 2012, a wide range of sensitivity analyses were conducted in order to better understand the general modeling approach, identify important aspects of the data and weighting of these data during model fitting, and determine which components in the entire analysis had the most direct effect on absolute estimates of stock size. A discussion of a number of these analyses is included in the Scientific Review Meeting document (Stewart et al. 2013), and several were identified as high-priority for a full investigation during the 2013 stock assessment process. For 2012, natural mortality was identified as the most influential fixed parameter or assumption in the Pacific halibut stock assessment. Natural mortality is a dominant source of uncertainty in many fisheries stock assessments. A value of 0.15/year for female halibut has been used for all recent halibut assessments (the value 42
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for males has been estimated, the relative difference between the sexes being well-informed by the observed sex-ratios in the age data), based on a downward revision made for the 1998 assessment. That well-justified revision resulted in a significant change to the estimates of stock size at the time. In order to avoid abrupt changes in future estimates uncertainty in the natural mortality rate is explicitly included in this assessment. The approach is based on selecting two alternate values of natural mortality, each approximately half as likely as the current best estimate (0.15). These values were 0.10 and 0.2, which produced estimates of spawning biomass that differed by more than 80 million lb (Fig. 60). The method of including and reporting this uncertainty in the decisionmaking table is described below, as part of the forecasting approach. An extensive bait-comparison experiment was conducted during the 2012 setline survey (Webster et al. 2013), which included setting somewhat fewer skates baited with the standard bait of chum salmon. Although the number of skates deployed was still within historical survey protocols, there is some information to suggest slightly higher catch-rates for skates at the ends of the gear (Webster and Hare 2011), and this was factored in to the bait experiment analysis. Since number of skates deployed is not a direct component in the standard survey analysis, a stock assessment sensitivity run was conducted by decreasing the 2012 survey catch rate to by 3%. This value represents the maximum difference estimated for any area-specific comparison of end- vs. middle-skates that had a substantial quantity of data available (the values actually range below zero as well). This analysis confirmed that current assessment results were not sensitive to small changes in survey catch rates (Fig. 61). Retrospective analyses A retrospective analysis of the 2012 model revealed little pattern in recent spawning biomass estimates as data are sequentially removed from the model (Fig. 62). This is important information for the decision-making process, as previous estimates have been known to include bias, which indicated that reduced catches might be warranted (Valero 2012). Although the improvement in model performance in 2012 is no guarantee that future retrospective patterns may not arise from other aspects of the model (or data sources), the lack of a retrospective pattern means that the results of the 2012 stock assessment are likely to be more reliable than those reported in recent years.

Forecasts and decision-making table
For the 2012 assessment, significant improvements to the methods used to forecast future stock size and to calculate the uncertainty associated with these predictions were made. Changes from previous assessments included integrating the forecasting step into the stock assessment model (rather than treating it as a subsequent independent calculation), which enabled direct inclusion of estimation uncertainty. In addition, given the pronounced declining trends in recent size-at-age, alternative projections were run using observed size-at-age from 2012, as well as fitting a linear trend to the most recent three years of data. Stock projections rely on the results from the stock assessment, summaries of the removals in 2012, as well as the results of apportionment calculations. The steps included: 1) analyzing the survey catch rates consistent with recent approaches (Webster and Stewart 2013), 2) using the estimated survey biomass distribution to apportion the coastwide exploitable biomass estimates from the stock assessment, 3) applying the area-specific harvest rates to generate the TCEY for 43
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each area, 4) subtracting the other removals (O26), assuming that the values for 2013 remain constant at 2012 levels (with the exception of commercial wastage, and sport and personal use in Area 2A and sport in 2B, which are scaled proportional to the TCEY), and 5) calculating the total coastwide mortality (including U26). This calculation results in the application of the current harvest policy, completely consistent with the approach used in recent stock assessments. The projected removals consistent with the current harvest policy are identified as the Blue Line in the decision-making table and forecast results. For alternative levels of coastwide harvest, the TCEY values were scaled according to the calculations above, and a range of levels from no removals (useful as a comparison to potential management actions; this represents the predicted stock dynamics in the absence of future harvest) to a total mortality of 60 million lb was considered. Increments among alternatives were initially set to roughly 10 million lb of total mortality, with additional rows for a zero FCEY, as well as a row corresponding to the current harvest policy applied to the updated results of the 2011 stock assessment (for bridging comparison). At the request of the Commissioners during the Interim Meeting, two additional rows adjacent to the Blue Line, but differing by only 5 million lb total mortality were added to the decision making table. Models using all three values of natural mortality were projected three years into the future assuming constant catches at the value identified for each row of the table. Each of these results includes a distribution for forecast quantities, representing estimation uncertainty. These distributions were then weighted and combined, assigning 50% of the probability to the best estimate of natural mortality (0.15) and 25% to the higher and lower alternatives, in order to generate a single probability distribution for a suite of risk metrics. Risk metrics included harvest intensity, stock status relative to harvest policy reference points, stock trend relative to 2013 estimates, as well as catch trend relative to the catch associated with each row. Initial projections were found to be sensitive to the treatment of future size-at-age. Therefore, based on the advice of the Scientific Review Meeting, forecasts were conducted using recent trend, which indicated a reduced level of future biomass relative to simply assuming the 2012 size-at-age would persist (Fig. 63). Although the stock is projected to remain stable or increase slightly in the absence of mortality during 2013, all levels of harvest evaluated resulted in declines in the current stock size by 2014 (Fig. 64). There is a 25% probability that the stock will be below the harvest policy threshold of 30% of the reference level of spawning biomass, regardless of the removals in 2013 (column b, Table 8); however there is less than a 1% probability that the stock is below the harvest policy limit of 20% relative spawning biomass (column c). There is a 23% probability that the stock will be smaller in 2014 than it is estimated to be in 2013 in the absence of any removals. Because the stock trajectory is estimated to be very flat, any removals in 2013 yield a much larger probability of a smaller stock in 2014 than 2013, ranging from 76% to 86% over the range of alternatives evaluated (column d). Despite the high probability of a one-year decline in the stock abundance, there is a very low probability that this decline will be large. Probabilities of a greater than 5% stock decline are all 4% or less (column e). Given recent poor recruitment, declines in spawning biomass are projected to be very likely over a three-year projection, with a probability of 41% in the absence of harvest, increasing rapidly to 95-99% over the alternatives considered (Fig. 65; Table 8, column f). However, the probabilities of dropping below management reference points by 2016 do not change appreciably from those for 2014 (Table 9). Given the current harvest policy, if a fishery CEY of 22.7 million pounds (the Blue line) is removed in 2013, there is an almost even chance (48%) that the exploitable biomass in 44
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2014 could produce a catch at least as large (column g). For smaller removals, there is a very high probability that the harvest policy catch would be larger in 2014, but there is a very low probability of the same or larger FCEY for catches above 22.7 million pounds. Similarly, all harvests smaller than 17.7 million pounds result in a very low probability (1% or less) of exceeding the coastwide target, but those above 22.7 have very high probabilities (75% to > 99%; Table 8, column a).

Future research
Historically, there has been significant investigation into the performance of both areaspecific and coastwide models for conducting the halibut stock assessment. Recently, new fisheries approaches have been developed and tested for dealing with spatial processes. These improvements represent an opportunity to revisit the problem in the near-term. Building upon the work completed for 2012, and following the guidance of the Scientific Review Meeting (Stewart et al. 2013), future efforts will focus on several key aspects of the stock assessment: 1) Improved accounting for additional sources of uncertainty through reduced data processing, use of more flexible model structures capable of directly including alternate structural hypotheses, Bayesian methods for fully integrating parameter uncertainty and model averaging. 2) Development of implicitly and explicitly spatial models to better incorporate the spatial variability observed for halibut. 3) Further investigation of the factors contributing to recruitment strength and observed sizeat-age in order to better forecast trends in these quantities. 4) Simulation testing the stock assessment model based on data generated from a research model. Additional work during 2013 will address the specific items relating to data processing and model details listed in the report from the Scientific Review (Stewart et al. 2013).

Acknowledgements
We thank all of the IPHC staff for their contributions to data collection, analysis and preparation for the stock assessment. Ian Stewart particularly wishes to thank everyone involved in the assessment process for helping me to better understand 100 years of scientific research in less than three months. The improvements made for 2012 were made possible by extensive analysis and investigation by previous assessment authors and IPHC staff including: Steven Hare, Bill Clark, Juan Valero, as well as many others. The Scientific Review Meeting held 24-26 October, 2012 provided a great deal of insight and creative ideas for best presenting the 2012 assessment results, particularly the format and contents of the decision-making table. Contributions from Jim Ianelli and Robyn Forrest substantially improved the content and clarity of this analysis.

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References
Clark, W. G. 1999. Effects of an erroneous natural mortality rate on a simple age-structured stock assessment. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 56:1721-1731. Clark, W. G. 2003. A model for the world: 80 years of model development and application at the international Pacific halibut commission. Nat. Res. Mod. 16:491-503. Clark, W. G. 2004. Nonparametric estimates of age misclassification from paired readings. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 61:1881-1889. Clark, W. G. and Hare, S. R. 2002. Effects of Climate and Stock Size on Recruitment and Growth of Pacific Halibut. N. Am. J. Fish. Man. 22:852-862. Clark, W. G. and Hare, S. R. 2007a. Assessment and management of Pacific halibut: data, methods, and policy. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Sci. Rep. No. 83. Clark, W. G. and Hare, S. R. 2007b. Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock at the end of 2006. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2006: 97-128. Clark, W. G. and Hare, S. R. 2008. Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock at the end of 2007. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2007: 177-204. Clark, W. G. and Parma, A. M. 1999. Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock in 1998. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 1998: 89-112. Gilroy, H. L. and Stewart, I. J. 2013. Incidental mortality of halibut in the commercial halibut fishery (Wastage). IPHC Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2012: 53-60. Hare, S. R. 2010. Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock at the end of 2009. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2009: 91-170. Hare, S. R. 2011. Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock at the end of 2010. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2010: 85-176. Hare, S. R. 2012. Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock at the end of 2011. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2011: 91-193. Hare, S. R. and Clark, W. G. 2009. Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock at the end of 2008. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2008: 137-202. Hilborn, R. and Walters, C. J. 1992. Quantitative fisheries stock assessment: choice, dynamics and uncertainty. London, Chapman and Hall. Piner, K. R. and Wischnioski, S. G. 2004. Pacific halibut chronology of bomb radiocarbon in otoliths from 1944 to 1981 and a validation of ageing methods. J. Fish Bio. 64:1060-1071. Stewart, I. J., Martell, S., Webster, R. A., Forrest, R., Ianelli, J., and Leaman, B. M. 2013. Assessment review team meeting, October 24-26, 2012. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2012: 239-266. Sullivan, P. J. and Parma, A. M. 1998. Population assessment, 1997. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 1997: 83-210. 46
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Valero, J. L. 2012. Harvest policy considerations on retrospective bias and biomass projections. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2011: 311-329. Webster, R. A. 2010. Analysis of PIT tag recoveries through 2009. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2009: 177-186. Webster, R.A. and Hare, S. R. 2011 Adjusting IPHC setline survey WPUE for survey timing and hook competition. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2010: 251-259. Webster, R. A., Kaimmer, S. M., Dykstra, C., and Leaman, B. M. 2013. Coastwide comparison of alternative setline survey baits. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2012: 569-586. Webster, R. A. and Stewart, I. J. 2013. Apportionment and regulatory area harvest calculations. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2012: 187-206.

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Table 1. Time-series of removals (by source; million lb, net wt.) used in the stock assessment. Year
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

Commercial fishery
47.69 65.49 70.12 74.70 68.55 70.97 74.95 73.36 73.31 72.11 68.12 63.03 58.70 52.18 49.83 39.61 31.87

Commercial wastage
0.73 1.05 1.20 1.34 1.29 1.44 1.66 1.77 1.93 2.03 2.05 2.29 2.34 2.62 3.04 2.21 1.54

Bycatch
14.46 13.51 13.43 13.84 13.29 13.16 12.61 12.58 12.58 13.26 13.08 12.27 11.89 11.38 10.63 9.90 9.87

Sport
8.08 9.03 8.59 7.38 9.01 8.10 8.01 9.35 10.70 10.86 10.19 11.46 10.67 8.75 7.80 7.08 6.85

Personal use
0.54 0.54 0.74 0.75 0.76 0.77 0.76 1.38 1.53 1.54 1.48 1.49 1.34 1.31 1.24 1.24 1.24

Total
71.51 89.61 94.07 98.00 92.89 94.45 97.99 98.44 100.05 99.80 94.92 90.53 84.93 76.24 72.54 60.04 51.36

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Table 2. List of data sources included in the assessment. Years
Setline survey data 1997-2001, 2002-2011

Range
Ages: 6-20+, 6-25+

Resolution
Males, Females, Total

Data
Proportions-at-age, Standard Error (SE) proportions-at-age, Numbers-per-unit-effort (NPUE)at-age, SE of NPUE-at-age, Mean length-atage, Ageing bias-corrected mean length-at-age, Mean weight-at-age, Ageing bias-corrected mean weight-at-age, Proportion legal (over 32”), Legal weight-at-age NPUE, SE of NPUE, Weight-per-unit-effort (WPUE), SE of WPUE Numbers-at-age, SE of Numbers-at-age, NPUEat-age, SE of NPUE-at-age, Mean weight-at-age, Ageing bias-corrected mean weight-at-age NPUE, SE of NPUE, WPUE, SE of WPUE Numbers, SE of numbers

1996-2011

Aggregated

Aggregated

Commercial fishery data 1996-2001, Ages: 2002-2011 6-20+, 6-25+ 1996-2011 Aggregated Bycatch data 1996-2011 Lengths: 0-120 cm, 10-cm bins 1996-2011 Ages: 6-30

Males, Females, Total Aggregated Aggregated

Males, Females, Total Aggregated

Ageing bias-corrected mean length-at-age, SE of ageing bias-corrected mean length-at-age, Ageing bias-corrected mean weight-at-age Total weight of removals for: commercial, discard, bycatch, sport, personal use Transition matrix from observed: surface to canonical age, break-and-bake to canonical age

Removals data 1996-2011

Aggregated

Ageing imprecision data Aggregated Ages: 1-20, 1-30 Maturity data Aggregated Ages:6-30+

Aggregated

Females

Maturity-at-age

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Table 3. Indices of O32 abundance used in the stock assessment (WPUE in lb/skate, NPUE in number/skate). Setline survey WPUE
NA 138.2 133.9 126.1 120.6 112.3 108.8 91.6 88.4 82.1 71.1 65.8 60.2 55.4 47.0 44.7 49.9

Year
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

Setline survey WPUE SE
NA 4.0 3.7 3.7 3.3 3.3 3.2 2.7 2.6 2.4 2.2 1.9 1.7 1.6 1.5 1.3 1.5

Setline survey NPUE
NA 8.0 7.6 6.9 6.8 6.6 6.6 6.0 6.6 6.1 5.6 5.8 5.7 5.5 5.2 5.1 5.5

Setline survey NPUE SE
NA 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1

Fishery WPUE
415 423 429 398 417 382 379 346 338 314 283 268 249 236 210 209 209

Fishery WPUE SE
9 9 9 9 9 9 9 8 8 7 7 6 6 5 5 5 5

Fishery NPUE
14.4 14.4 15.3 15.1 15.2 14.0 13.8 12.8 13.1 12.5 11.5 11.3 10.6 10.3 9.5 9.6 9.5

Fishery NPUE SE
0.32 0.31 0.33 0.34 0.34 0.32 0.33 0.31 0.31 0.30 0.28 0.28 0.26 0.24 0.23 0.24 0.23

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Table 4. Summary of historical stock assessment models. Years Pre-1977 1978-1981 1982-1983 1984-1988 1989-1994 1995-1997 1998-1999 2000-2002 2003-2006 2006-2011 Model Yield, yield-per-recruit, simple stockproduction models Cohort analysis, coastwide, natural mortality (M)=0.2 Catch-AGE-ANalysis (CAGEAN; agebased availability), coastwide, M=0.2 CAGEAN, area-specific, migratory and coastwide, M=0.2 CAGEAN, area-specific, M=0.2, agebased selectivity Statistical Catch-Age (SCA), area-specific, length-based selectivity, M=0.2 SCA, area-specific, length-based selectivity, M=0.15 New SCA, area-specific, constant agebased selectivity, M=0.15 SCA, area-specific, constant lengthbased selectivity, M=0.15 SCA, coastwide, constant length-based availability, M=0.15 Issues No growth or recruitment variability Unstable estimates Migratory dynamics not accounted for Trends differ by area Retrospective pattern M estimate imprecise Poor fit to data Retrospective pattern Migratory dynamics created bias Retrospective pattern

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Table 5. Time-series of population estimates (million lb, numbers in millions). Age-6 recruits in 2013 reflect the mean, rather than an estimate updated by the data. Exploitable biomass
518.76 569.70 575.37 555.38 503.88 445.44 418.53 380.42 339.08 300.62 268.46 236.33 210.10 191.32 180.56 173.91 178.84 186.49

Year
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

Total biomass
1,225.51 1,270.41 1,243.76 1,174.19 1,062.68 941.56 927.20 893.57 837.31 781.80 772.50 795.46 788.50 750.72 716.08 667.25 632.77 598.03

Spawning biomass
351.35 383.30 401.01 397.35 368.05 327.82 318.63 288.05 259.68 233.87 214.80 201.97 192.90 186.97 187.94 190.11 196.91 200.68

Relative spawning biomass
61% 67% 70% 69% 64% 57% 56% 50% 45% 41% 37% 35% 34% 33% 33% 33% 34% 35%

Age-6 recruits
12.96 11.47 9.91 9.01 17.61 18.88 13.56 12.59 20.13 27.20 21.04 14.86 14.49 9.32 7.83 7.20 3.78 14.13

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Table 6. Estimated numbers at age (millions). Age-6 in 2013 reflects the mean, rather than an estimate updated by the data. Age (yr)

Year

53

1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

6 12.96 11.47 9.91 9.01 17.61 18.88 13.56 12.59 20.13 27.20 21.04 14.86 14.49 9.32 7.83 7.20 3.78 14.13

7 13.32 11.01 9.75 8.42 7.66 14.97 16.04 11.53 10.69 17.08 23.06 17.84 12.59 12.26 7.87 6.61 6.08 3.19

8 19.76 11.29 9.33 8.27 7.14 6.49 12.67 13.56 9.72 9.01 14.40 19.47 15.09 10.67 10.36 6.65 5.58 5.12

9 25.77 16.68 9.53 7.87 6.96 6.01 5.47 10.61 11.33 8.11 7.50 12.02 16.29 12.65 8.92 8.67 5.57 4.67

10 10.12 21.61 13.95 7.96 6.56 5.81 5.01 4.53 8.75 9.31 6.64 6.16 9.90 13.47 10.44 7.35 7.16 4.60

11 5.74 8.43 17.90 11.54 6.57 5.43 4.79 4.11 3.69 7.08 7.50 5.36 4.98 8.02 10.94 8.47 6.00 5.87

12 5.75 4.74 6.90 14.61 9.38 5.36 4.41 3.87 3.30 2.94 5.59 5.94 4.25 3.95 6.41 8.74 6.83 4.88

13 5.92 4.70 3.84 5.57 11.71 7.55 4.30 3.52 3.07 2.59 2.29 4.34 4.60 3.30 3.11 5.05 6.97 5.51

14 3.12 4.81 3.77 3.07 4.42 9.33 5.98 3.39 2.76 2.38 1.99 1.75 3.30 3.51 2.56 2.41 3.98 5.58

15 1.75 2.52 3.84 2.99 2.42 3.50 7.32 4.67 2.64 2.11 1.80 1.50 1.31 2.48 2.69 1.96 1.89 3.17

16 2.07 1.40 2.00 3.03 2.34 1.90 2.72 5.67 3.60 2.01 1.59 1.35 1.12 0.98 1.88 2.06 1.53 1.50

17 1.78 1.65 1.10 1.56 2.35 1.83 1.47 2.10 4.35 2.72 1.50 1.19 1.00 0.83 0.74 1.42 1.60 1.21

18 0.94 1.41 1.29 0.86 1.21 1.83 1.41 1.13 1.61 3.28 2.04 1.12 0.88 0.74 0.63 0.56 1.10 1.27

19 1.92 0.74 1.10 1.00 0.66 0.93 1.40 1.08 0.86 1.21 2.45 1.52 0.83 0.65 0.56 0.47 0.43 0.87

20+ 0.62 2.00 2.11 2.45 2.61 2.49 2.57 2.96 3.00 2.84 2.99 4.00 4.02 3.53 3.11 2.74 2.47 2.27

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Table 7. Results of the bridging analysis, comparing the 2011 (wobblesq) model with data through 2011, data through 2011 but updated in 2012, data through 2012 and the current assessment model results (right-hand column).
2011 (wobblesq) 2011 2011 2012 November November November Data finalized in: 2011 2012 2012 Quantity 2012 Spawning biomass 2012 Relative spawning biomass 2013 Spawning biomass 2013 Relative spawning biomass 2012 Exploitable biomass 2013 Exploitable biomass 2012 Coastwide harvest rate 319 42% --260 -19.4% 309 41% --252 -18.9% 272 38% 324 46% 219 258 21.8% Model End year 2012 2012 November 2012 197 34% 201 35% 179 186 26.7%

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Table 8. Decision-making table. Values indicate the probability of the outcome in each column given the level of removals for that row.

Fishing intensity
Coastwide Fishery CEY (total removals) millions lb

Stock status

Stock trend

Catch trend

Effective Fishery Spawning biomass coastwide HR CEY 2013 2014 2016 2014 is is is is is is 5% is greater than less than less than less than less than less than less than target 2013 30% 20% 2013 2013 2013

0.0 (0.0) 0.0 (16.5) 3.4 (20.0) 12.9 (30.0) 17.7 (35.0) 22.7 (40.2) 27.3 (45.0) 32.1 (50.0) 36.2 (54.3) 41.6 (60.0)

0% <1% <1% 1% 23% 50% 75% 84% 97% >99%
a

25% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25%
b

<1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1%
c

23% 76% 77% 79% 80% 82% 83% 84% 85% 86%
d

<1% 2% 2% 2% 2% 3% 3% 3% 4% 4%
e

41% 95% 96% 97% 97% 97% 98% 98% 98% 99%
f

0% 0% <1% 1% 19% 48% 75% 85% 97% >99%
g

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Table 9. Extended decision-making table columns for 3-year projections.
Stock trend
Spawning biomass Coastwide 2016 2016 2016 Fishery CEY is is is (total removals) less than less than less than 2013 30% 20% millions lb

0.0 (0.0) 0.0 (16.5) 3.4 (20.0) 12.9 (30.0) 17.7 (35.0) 22.7 (40.2) 27.3 (45.0) 32.1 (50.0) 36.2 (54.3) 41.6 (60.0)

41% 95% 96% 97% 97% 97% 98% 98% 98% 99%

24% 27% 27% 27% 27% 28% 28% 28% 28% 29%

<1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1%

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Figure 1. Time series of total removals (million lb) from all sources, 1888-2012. Horizontal line indicates the most recent 100-year average.

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Figure 2. Recent removals by regulatory area and source, 2005-2012. Values below the year labels indicate the total removals from all sources, the percent change in the total from the previous year and the percent change from the directed fishery removals in the previous year.

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Figure 3. Time series management decisions (Total CEY), and available information at the time the decision was made from the stock assessment (exploitable biomass; million lb), the setline survey (WPUE; lb/skate) and the commercial fishery (WPUE; lb/skate).

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Figure 4. Time series fishery targets harvests (Fishery CEY), and total removals from all sources (million lb).

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Figure 5. Trend in setline survey WPUE, 1997-2012, colors indicate the contributions from each regulatory area to the geographically-weighted total.

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Figure 6. Trends in setline survey WPUE by regulatory area, percentages below the area labels indicate the percent change from 2011 to 2012 observations.

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Figure 7. Trends in setline survey NPUE by regulatory area, percentages below the area labels indicate the percent change from 2011 to 2012 observations.

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Figure 8. Observed proportions-at-age from the setline survey, 1997-2012. The area of each circle is scaled relative to the legend value in the upper left. Age-20 (prior to 2002) and age-25 (thereafter) represent plus-groups containing that age and all older ages. The 1987 year-class is identified by the diagonal line for visual reference.

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Figure 9. Coastwide aggregate age distributions from the 2012 setline survey (upper panel) and commercial fishery (lower panel).

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Figure 10. Trends in average age (upper panel) and average fish weight (lower panel) observed in the setline survey and commercial fishery. Values represent coastwide weighted averages across all regulatory areas.

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Figure 11. Trends in smoothed female setline survey length-at-age (upper panel) and weightat-age (lower panel), 1996-2012.

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Figure 12. Trends in smoothed male setline survey length-at-age (upper panel) and weightat-age (lower panel), 1996-2012.

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Figure 13. Comparison of area-swept estimated total biomass from the NOAA Bering Sea bottom trawl survey for all sizes of halibut (upper line, with approximate 95% confidence intervals), the portion of that biomass believed to be available to the IPHC setline survey (lower line, with approximate 95% confidence intervals) and the calibrated survey WPUE estimate based on comparison data from 2006 (inverted triangles; numbers above points indicate annual estimates).

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Figure 14. Comparison of area-swept estimated total numbers from the NOAA Bering Sea bottom trawl survey for all sizes of halibut (middle line at the end of the time-series, with approximate 95% confidence intervals), the portion of those numbers believed to be available to the IPHC setline survey (upper line at the end of the time-series, with approximate 95% confidence intervals) and the portion of those numbers estimated to be available to the commercial fishery (lower line at the end of the time-series, with approximate 95% confidence intervals).

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Figure 15. Recent area-swept estimates of total numbers of fish from the NOAA Bering Sea bottom trawl survey by 10-cm size-bin (30-160 cm), 2004-2012. Values reported below the year labels indicate the total biomass and total numbers estimates for that year.

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Figure 16. Comparison of area-swept estimated total numbers from the NOAA Aleutian Islands bottom trawl survey for all sizes of halibut (points, with approximate 95% confidence intervals), and the portion of those numbers believed to be available to the IPHC setline survey (crosses, with approximate 95% confidence intervals).

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Figure 17. Comparison of area-swept estimated total numbers from the NOAA Gulf of Alaska bottom trawl survey for all sizes of halibut (points, with approximate 95% confidence intervals), and the portion of those numbers believed to be available to the IPHC setline survey (crosses, with approximate 95% confidence intervals).

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Figure 18. Trends in commercial fishery WPUE by regulatory area, percentages below the area labels indicate the percent change from 2011 to 2012 observations. The shaded portion in each panel indicates historical data not currently included in the stock assessment model.

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Figure 19. Trends in commercial fishery WPUE by regulatory area. The shaded portion in each panel indicates historical data not currently included in the stock assessment model.

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Figure 20. Age distributions from the 2012 commercial fishery by regulatory area.

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Figure 21. Observed numbers-at-age from the commercial fishery, 1996-2012. The area of each circle is scaled relative to the legend value in the upper left. Age-20 (prior to 2002) and age-25 (thereafter) represent plus-groups containing that age and all older ages. The 1987 year-class is identified by the diagonal line for visual reference.

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Figure 22. Trends in average fish weight observed in the commercial fishery by regulatory area.

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Figure 23. Trends in smoothed female commercial fishery length-at-age (upper panel) and weight-at-age (lower panel), 1996-2012. 79
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Figure 24. Trends in smoothed male commercial fishery length-at-age (upper panel) and weight-at-age (lower panel), 1996-2012.

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Figure 25. Maturity curve used to calculate the proportion of female stock contributing to the spawning biomass.

Figure 26. Retrospective analysis among recent stock assessments. 81
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Figure 27. Retrospective analysis for the 2011 “wobblesq” model.

Figure 28. Retrospective analysis of cohort-strength estimates from the 2011 wobblesq model (figure from the 2011 stock assessment document). 82
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Figure 29. Comparison of three alternative approaches solving the retrospective pattern in the 2011 wobblesq model.

Figure 30. Retrospective analysis for the model allowing time-varying availability, and using data through 2011. 83
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Figure 31. Comparison of the 2011 and revised stock assessment models using data updated through 2011.

Figure 32. Comparison of the 2011 and revised stock assessment model estimates of recruitment using data updated through 2011. 84
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Figure 33. Comparison of the relative spawning biomass estimates from the 2011 (wobblesq) model (upper panel) and the current assessment (lower panel) using data through 2011.

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Figure 34. Biomass time-series results from the model allowing time-varying availability, and using data through 2011.

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Figure 35. Estimated annual availability curves for the setline survey (upper two panels) and the commercial fishery (lower two panels) by sex. Note that the upper curve for the 60-80 cm range on each panel represents the most recent year, indicating a shift toward smaller fish.

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Figure 36. Fixed selectivity curve assigned to bycatch mortality.

Figure 37. Estimated trends in sex-specific catchability for the commercial fishery (females are represented by the upper line, males the lower line). 88
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Figure 38. Fit to the commercial fishery and setline survey WPUE and NPUE indices of abundance.

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Figure 39. Fit to setline survey total proportions-at-age (points indicate the observed data, lines the model predictions.

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Figure 40. Fit to setline survey female proportions-at-age (points indicate the observed data, lines the model predictions.

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Figure 41. Fit to setline survey male proportions-at-age (points indicate the observed data, lines the model predictions.

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Figure 42. Fit to commercial fishery total catch-at-age (points indicate the observed data, lines the model predictions.

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Figure 43. Fit to commercial fishery female catch-at-age (points indicate the observed data, lines the model predictions.

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Figure 44. Fit to commercial fishery male catch-at-age (points indicate the observed data, lines the model predictions.

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Figure 45. Standardized residuals (observed minus expected values) from the fit to setline survey total catch-at-age. Circle areas are scaled relative to the legend value in the upper left, filled circles indicate positive values.

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Figure 46. Standardized residuals (observed minus expected values) from the fit to setline survey female catch-at-age. Circle areas are scaled relative to the legend value in the upper left, filled circles indicate positive values.

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Figure 47. Standardized residuals (observed minus expected values) from the fit to setline survey male catch-at-age. Circle areas are scaled relative to the legend value in the upper left, filled circles indicate positive values.

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Figure 48. Standardized residuals (observed minus expected values) from the fit to commercial fishery total catch-at-age. Circle areas are scaled relative to the legend value in the upper left, filled circles indicate positive values.

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Figure 49. Standardized residuals (observed minus expected values) from the fit to commercial fishery female catch-at-age. Circle areas are scaled relative to the legend value in the upper left, filled circles indicate positive values.

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Figure 50. Standardized residuals (observed minus expected values) from the fit to commercial fishery male catch-at-age. Circle areas are scaled relative to the legend value in the upper left, filled circles indicate positive values.

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Figure 51. Time series of biomass results.

Figure 52. Time series of age-8 recruitments with estimation uncertainty.

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Figure 53. Illustration of the current IPHC harvest control rule for determining the relative target harvest rate as a function of relative spawning biomass, consistent with the IPHC’s overall harvest policy.

Figure 54. Time-series of spawning biomass relative to harvest policy reference points.

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Figure 55. Illustration of the method for calculating the Effective Coastwide Harvest Rate (ECHR), consistent with the IPHC’s overall harvest policy.

Figure 56. Time series of realized coastwide harvest rates (bars) and hindcast harvest rate targets (horizontal dashes). Note that hindcast harvest rate targets represent the current perception of exploitable biomass, not the perception in that year. 104
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Figure 57. Phase plot of relative stock size and fishing intensity.

Figure 58. Results of bridging analysis indicating the spawning biomass estimated by the 2011 (wobblesq) model updated with data through 2012 and the current assessment model (2012 Base-case). 105
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Figure 59. Sensitivity analysis for the 2011 (wobblesq) model illustrating the effect of timevarying vs. time-invariant setline survey catchability.

Figure 60. Sensitivity analysis to the value used for female natural mortality; the results from the best-estimate (0.15/year) are represented by the middle line. 106
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Figure 61. Sensitivity analysis to hypothetical very strong effects of the bait experiment on standard survey skates deployed.

Figure 62. Results of the retrospective analysis on spawning biomass estimates. 107
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Figure 63. Comparison of exploitable biomass for three-year forecasts assuming size-atage remains constant at 2012 observed values (upper line) or follows recent (and generally declining) trends by age (lower line).

Figure 64. One-year forecasts under alternative removal scenarios. 108
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Figure 65. Three-year forecasts under alternative removal scenarios and assuming recent trends in size-at-age continue.

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Appendix A: Data summaries by regulatory area.
Table A1. Time-series of total removals by regulatory Area (million lb, net wt.). Year
1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

2A
1.00 0.94 0.72 0.70 0.59 0.54 0.52 0.70 0.74 0.81 1.03 1.17 1.40 1.52 1.22 1.29 0.95 0.94 1.15 1.22 1.01 1.17 1.16 1.41 1.94 1.80 1.68 1.99 1.92 1.52 1.69 1.88 1.98 1.73 1.63 1.50 1.18 1.07 1.15

2B
6.43 9.18 9.51 7.39 6.20 6.84 7.16 7.01 6.60 6.63 10.55 12.32 13.25 14.83 15.27 12.69 11.06 9.76 9.98 13.23 12.02 12.56 11.25 14.11 14.90 14.37 12.63 12.06 14.20 13.89 14.71 15.24 14.80 12.52 10.12 8.60 8.71 8.75 7.74

2C
6.17 6.93 6.28 3.87 4.82 5.56 4.12 4.87 4.33 7.30 6.86 10.51 12.21 12.28 13.11 11.73 12.39 12.28 12.81 14.35 13.44 10.02 11.50 12.66 13.42 12.74 11.43 11.02 11.38 11.83 14.47 14.65 14.24 12.69 10.50 8.41 7.48 4.32 4.61

3A
13.50 13.85 14.64 13.02 13.75 17.62 18.44 19.85 18.16 18.15 23.10 24.17 37.74 37.49 46.55 41.97 38.19 34.44 37.05 33.44 34.97 26.32 27.77 33.71 33.76 33.11 28.00 29.82 30.26 32.24 35.54 36.17 35.13 36.96 34.23 30.73 29.07 23.20 18.73

3B
5.10 4.65 5.20 5.12 3.17 1.33 1.53 2.02 7.04 9.80 8.30 11.85 9.78 9.11 7.39 9.01 11.13 14.44 11.10 9.24 5.46 5.00 5.76 10.79 12.86 15.98 17.39 18.52 19.83 19.62 17.39 14.94 12.78 10.88 12.85 12.92 12.22 9.30 7.21

4
8.33 4.28 5.29 4.14 6.38 6.79 9.95 7.62 6.21 8.72 7.89 8.69 11.54 12.98 13.70 12.42 ------------------------

4A
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 4.67 4.87 5.35 4.52 4.12 3.74 3.81 4.88 5.39 6.36 7.08 6.84 6.97 6.78 5.31 5.38 5.25 4.71 4.74 4.20 3.91 3.71 3.45

4B 4CDE
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 2.34 2.69 3.56 2.87 3.12 2.66 3.05 4.24 3.79 4.48 5.57 5.32 4.93 4.66 3.49 2.84 2.43 2.24 2.51 2.30 2.54 2.66 2.37

Total

NA 40.54 NA 39.84 NA 41.63 NA 34.24 NA 34.90 NA 38.68 NA 41.72 NA 42.06 NA 43.08 NA 51.41 NA 57.73 NA 68.71 NA 85.92 NA 88.21 NA 97.23 NA 89.10 7.33 88.06 9.11 88.53 8.85 89.86 6.99 85.86 7.92 82.07 7.28 68.73 7.22 71.51 7.82 89.61 8.01 94.07 9.17 98.00 9.11 92.89 8.88 94.45 8.51 97.99 7.90 98.44 7.48 100.05 8.70 99.80 8.33 94.92 8.81 90.53 8.35 84.93 7.57 76.24 7.45 72.54 7.03 60.04 6.11 51.36

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Table A2. Time-series of fishery removals by regulatory Area (million lb, net wt.). Year
1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

2A
0.52 0.46 0.24 0.21 0.10 0.05 0.02 0.20 0.21 0.27 0.43 0.50 0.59 0.60 0.49 0.48 0.34 0.36 0.44 0.51 0.37 0.30 0.30 0.42 0.46 0.46 0.49 0.68 0.86 0.82 0.88 0.81 0.83 0.79 0.68 0.49 0.42 0.55 0.59

2B
4.62 7.13 7.28 5.43 4.61 4.86 5.65 5.66 5.54 5.44 9.05 10.49 11.43 12.42 12.91 10.48 8.69 7.26 7.68 10.72 9.98 9.66 9.58 12.46 13.23 12.75 10.84 10.33 12.11 11.82 12.20 12.37 12.04 9.80 7.78 6.66 6.76 6.72 5.93

2C
5.60 6.24 5.53 3.19 4.32 4.53 3.24 4.01 3.50 6.38 5.87 9.42 11.04 11.05 11.57 9.73 10.06 9.03 10.06 11.48 10.61 7.82 8.92 9.96 10.24 10.21 8.48 8.44 8.63 8.44 10.27 10.66 10.51 8.50 6.22 4.97 4.50 2.46 2.70

3A
8.19 10.60 11.04 8.64 10.30 11.34 11.97 14.23 13.52 14.13 19.77 21.77 34.66 32.89 39.41 35.19 29.96 24.07 27.43 23.08 25.69 18.46 19.87 24.71 25.85 25.43 19.33 21.60 23.27 22.82 25.24 26.19 25.77 26.55 24.58 21.80 20.52 14.70 11.96

3B
1.67 2.56 2.73 3.19 1.32 0.39 0.28 0.45 4.80 7.76 6.69 11.09 9.22 8.10 7.20 8.04 8.91 12.35 8.80 7.92 3.90 3.13 3.69 9.12 11.22 13.91 15.47 16.37 17.35 17.26 15.48 13.20 10.80 9.27 10.75 10.80 10.13 7.33 5.08

4
0.71 0.63 0.72 1.22 1.35 1.37 0.71 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA

4A
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 0.49 1.17 2.50 1.05 1.78 3.56 3.83 1.96 1.05 2.61 2.35 2.75 2.61 1.84 1.63 1.72 2.93 3.44 4.40 5.18 5.05 5.11 5.04 3.58 3.42 3.34 2.84 3.03 2.54 2.33 2.36 1.58

4B
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 0.39 0.01 1.34 1.10 1.28 0.28 1.56 1.62 2.72 1.39 1.58 2.36 2.00 2.06 1.69 2.10 3.35 2.92 3.60 4.72 4.50 4.10 3.88 2.73 1.98 1.59 1.42 1.77 1.60 1.84 2.06 1.71

4C
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 0.30 0.24 0.42 0.58 0.64 0.72 0.91 0.72 0.59 0.55 0.71 0.81 0.85 0.73 0.67 0.69 1.13 1.26 1.77 1.75 1.66 1.22 0.89 0.96 0.54 0.49 0.55 0.73 0.65 0.79 0.79 0.58

4D
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 0.01 0.00 0.15 0.39 0.70 1.29 0.73 0.46 0.69 1.05 1.50 0.74 0.85 0.73 0.65 0.72 1.16 1.32 1.91 1.94 1.86 1.76 1.96 1.66 2.59 2.37 2.73 2.56 2.22 2.12 2.19 1.42

4E
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 0.00 0.01 0.01 0.04 0.04 0.05 0.12 0.01 0.01 0.06 0.11 0.07 0.07 0.12 0.13 0.12 0.25 0.19 0.27 0.35 0.48 0.56 0.42 0.32 0.37 0.37 0.58 0.60 0.46 0.41 0.46 0.32

Total
21.31 27.62 27.54 21.88 22.00 22.54 21.87 25.74 29.01 38.39 44.97 57.70 72.83 72.20 76.34 68.98 63.62 59.31 61.15 60.08 56.02 44.14 47.69 65.49 70.12 74.70 68.55 70.97 74.95 73.36 73.31 72.11 68.12 63.03 58.70 52.18 49.83 39.61 31.87

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Table A2. Time-series of setline survey WPUE by regulatory Area (O32; net lb/skate). Year
1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

2A
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 31.0 33.7 36.4 37.3 38.3 40.6 43.0 34.5 22.8 27.9 29.0 16.8 19.4 19.1 8.3 17.3 27.0 28.5

2B
NA NA NA 13.7 19.1 NA 25.5 16.5 20.6 18.0 57.4 41.7 37.8 NA NA NA NA NA NA 95.7 NA 159.1 165.9 144.1 83.3 88.1 91.2 101.1 91.8 72.7 85.8 71.9 58.7 57.2 89.8 86.3 88.8 79.8 103.4

2C
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 113.7 142.2 259.6 260.5 282.6 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 306.2 410.6 234.8 208.9 240.1 244.1 267.8 228.3 176.0 174.7 146.7 142.6 106.4 115.6 110.3 136.3 161.4

3A
NA NA NA 58.4 26.9 41.0 76.2 131.4 130.3 119.0 361.2 377.5 305.1 NA NA NA NA NA NA 261.1 253.9 300.1 317.3 330.6 281.2 240.7 271.7 256.1 299.4 229.3 269.7 275.9 232.5 211.6 189.1 148.8 117.1 120.5 137.0

3B
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 352.2 413.9 434.9 437.9 373.1 357.1 297.2 261.6 236.3 211.2 181.2 191.3 126.0 113.0 91.4 79.8 86.8

4A
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 245.4 299.0 290.3 275.8 198.8 168.4 154.1 137.4 106.8 84.9 66.5 84.1 84.1 73.0 58.4 63.6

4B
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 281.6 215.6 203.1 216.3 171.3 119.1 104.1 73.3 86.2 95.5 87.2 103.3 106.8 68.4 67.9 48.3

4D
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 111.2 299.0 290.3 212.9 196.8 262.5 194.8 131.9 69.2 54.4 58.6 77.5 78.4 48.0 33.5 36.2

4IC
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 111.2 299.0 290.3 212.9 196.8 262.5 194.8 131.9 69.2 60.5 46.1 69.7 53.1 55.3 51.5 37.0

4ID
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 111.2 299.0 290.3 212.9 196.8 262.5 194.8 131.9 69.2 111.2 50.9 15.4 20.4 57.8 14.3 1.4

4S

4N 4CDE
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 23.2 44.5 42.1 31.5 31.3 31.1 29.0 23.3 17.4 17.0 13.3 12.1 14.5 13.1 10.1 11.2

Total
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 138.2 133.9 126.1 120.6 112.3 108.8 91.6 88.4 82.1 71.1 65.8 60.2 55.4 47.0 44.7 49.9

NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 5.5 0.0 4.3 0.2 6.4 0.5 5.8 0.7 7.3 0.2 8.1 0.3 17.3 0.2 10.6 0.2 12.3 0.7 11.0 2.0 8.6 0.8 19.4 4.8 14.7 3.7 16.3 3.5 23.5 18.1 19.3 4.0 25.6 6.5 25.8 0.0 18.7 2.9 20.0 4.5 11.6 2.1 17.0 3.5 17.0 3.1 16.2 3.4 16.8 3.3 11.9 2.7 8.2 2.5 11.6 3.3 12.2 3.2 9.7 3.2 11.5 3.7

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Table A2. Time-series of fishery WPUE by regulatory Area (net lb/skate). Year
1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

2A
59 59 33 83 39 50 37 33 22 NA 63 62 55 53 134 113 168 158 117 147 93 116 159 226 194 342 263 171 181 173 143 137 156 96 69 98 149 92 120

2B
64 68 53 61 63 48 65 67 69 NA 147 139 118 130 137 133 176 149 171 208 215 219 227 241 232 213 229 227 223 221 203 195 201 198 174 188 222 240 259

2C
57 53 42 45 56 80 79 144 146 NA 284 345 290 260 281 258 270 233 230 256 207 234 239 246 236 199 187 196 244 233 240 203 170 160 161 155 158 175 208

3A
65 66 60 61 78 86 118 142 168 NA 502 500 506 498 503 457 354 319 397 393 354 417 473 458 452 437 443 469 508 485 486 446 403 398 370 318 285 280 269

3B
57 68 65 73 53 37 113 160 203 NA 474 592 506 478 654 590 484 466 440 514 377 476 557 563 611 538 579 431 399 365 328 293 292 257 234 211 173 140 134

4A
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 158 103 NA 366 337 260 342 453 409 418 471 372 463 463 349 515 483 525 497 548 474 402 355 315 301 241 206 206 234 182 189 191

4B
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 99 NA NA 161 234 238 220 224 268 209 329 280 218 197 189 269 275 287 310 320 270 245 196 202 238 218 230 193 189 142 165 154

4C
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 110 91 NA NA 594 427 384 371 333 288 223 249 257 167 286 297 335 287 271 223 203 148 105 120 91 72 65 94 88 82 75 60

4D
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 197 330 218 241 201 432 381 399 412 851 480 475 543 671 627 535 556 511 503 388 445 379 280 237 247 249 188 166 162

4E
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA

Total
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 341 380 342 344 387 381 332 333 339 399 328 351 415 423 429 398 417 382 380 346 338 314 283 268 249 236 210 209 209

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IPHC Staff harvest advice and regulatory proposals: 2013
Bruce M. Leaman, Ian J. Stewart, Raymond A. Webster, and Heather L. Gilroy

Introduction
In providing advice on stock management for 2013, the staff has been cognizant of direction from the Commission concerning the incorporation of uncertainty in advice, the recommendations from the 2012 Performance Review (http://www.iphc.int/meetings-and-events/review.html), and the results of the 2012 external peer review of the IPHC stock assessment and management framework (Stewart et al. 2013a). The 2012 stock assessment (Stewart et al. 2013b) provides a new format for the staff’s management advice, compared with that for previous years. Previous staff advice was provided as a single recommended catch limit for each Regulatory Area. Staff advice for 2013 takes the form of a risk-benefit decision table, wherein risks of negative impacts on stock and fishery performance are associated with the benefits of particular choices of harvest level. This format for decision making more fully reflects uncertainty and allows the Commission to weigh the risks and benefits of management choices, as well as overall harvest policy, when deciding on catch limits. A significant aspect of this advice table is that it is structured at the coastwide level, rather than at the level of individual regulatory areas. This orientation results from the necessary definition of harvest policy reference points (threshold and limit) at the coastwide level. Detailed results of the stock assessment and the 2012 peer review are reported in the 2012 Report of Assessment and Research Activities (http://www.iphc.int/library/raras/308-rara-2012.html).

Updated assessments
Late season data from 2011, which were unavailable for the 2011 assessment, revised the initial estimate of 2012 exploitable biomass (Ebio) (260 Mlb) from the selected 2011 assessment model downward by approximately 3% to 252 Mlb. This adjustment is similar to that seen in recent years. In the absence of a new version of the assessment model, free of retrospective bias, the beginning of 2012 estimated Ebio as estimated using the 2011 model in 2012 would be lower by an additional 13%, to 219 Mlb. However, we know these estimates to be incorrect because of the retrospective bias. The 2012 stock assessment corrects this bias and the revised estimate of Ebio for the beginning of 2012 is 179 Mlb. Updating the corrected assessment with 2012 survey and catch data results in an estimated Ebio for the beginning of 2013 of 186 Mlb. These changes and estimates are detailed in Table 1. Coastwide commercial fishery weight per unit effort (WPUE) in 2012 was unchanged from the 2011 value and has been stable for the past three years. However, there were notable positive changes in commercial WPUE in Area 2 and modest negative changes in Area 3 and most of Area 4. The 2012 unadjusted IPHC stock assessment survey WPUE showed a coastwide increase of 12%, the first increase since the current expanded survey began in 1996. Only Area 4B showed a decline in survey WPUE for 2012. This document develops Regulatory Area harvest options consistent with three of the rowspecific harvest choices in the coastwide decision table (Table 2; Stewart et al. 2013). The three rows of the decision table upon which the Commission requested additional details at its 2012 Interim Meeting correspond to Total Removals of 35 Mlb, 40.2 Mlb (the Blue Line), and 45 Mlb. 114
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Some elements of these options (e.g., commercial fishery wastage) are based on scaled 2012 values corresponding to the relationship of 2012 removals and those identified in the harvest options. For example, if the chosen harvest option results in a Fishery Constant Exploitation Yield (FCEY) that is 70% of that for 2012, the projected removal for commercial fishery wastage would be scaled to 70% of that estimated for 2012.

Biomass apportionment among Regulatory Areas and harvest scenarios
Staff recommends continuing with the same basis for apportionment of the coastwide Ebio estimate into regulatory area Ebio estimates as was used in 2012. That is, the coastwide estimate is apportioned using survey WPUE for each regulatory area, adjusted for hook competition (catchability) and survey timing differences, averaged using a three-year, reverse weighting formula, and multiplied by the 0-400 fm bottom area for each regulatory area (Webster and Stewart 2013, Webster 2011, Webster and Hare 2010). The combination of hook competition (Fig. 1) and survey timing adjustments (Fig. 2), together with the reverse-weighting of the three most recent index values, results in adjusted survey WPUE values that differ, sometimes appreciably, from the unadjusted values (Fig. 3). This distinction is important because the apportionment formula that is used to estimate exploitable biomass distribution among regulatory areas uses the adjusted survey WPUE index (weighted by bottom area). The areas at the extreme ends of the halibut range (Areas 2A, 4B) generally show the greatest differences between raw and adjusted WPUE values (Fig. 3). Compared with the biomass distribution at the beginning of 2012, Areas 4B and 3B had lower proportions of the coastwide total while Areas 2C, 3A, and 4A had higher proportions (Fig. 4). We also present the historical apportionment-based estimates of Ebio distribution from Webster and Stewart (2013) for reference (Fig. 5). Of note in this figure are the increasing estimates of Ebio in Area 2 since harvest rates were reduced under the coastwide assessment approach. Following apportionment of the coastwide Ebio to regulatory areas under each harvest scenario, a Total Constant Exploitation Yield (TCEY) is obtained by applying the target harvest rate for each regulatory area (21.5% for Areas 2 and 3A; 16.125% for Areas 3B and 4) to the Ebio estimates. For alternative levels of coastwide harvest, the TCEY is adjusted based on the relative change from the Blue Line in Table 2, uniformly across all areas (Table 3). Area-specific harvest rates from the adjusted TCEY values are shown in Table 4. Other removals (Table 5) are subtracted from the TCEY to obtain the FCEY values by regulatory area, assuming all other removals (except wastage coastwide, plus sport catch in Areas 2A and 2B, and treaty subsistence in Area 2A, which are scaled proportional to the FCEY because of catch sharing plans) remain the same as in 20121. One set of FCEY values for 2013, consistent with the current harvest policy, corresponds to the “Blue Line” results from the stock assessment decision-making table. These area specific values are reported in Table 6. At the request of the Commissioners during the Interim Meeting, alternatives to the Blue Line were added to the preliminary decision-making table, with smaller increments of total mortality. Fully apportioned results for these rows from the decision table with 35 and 45 Mlb of total mortality are presented in Tables 7 and 8. The Blue Line apportionment table is also presented assuming the full sport-charter Guideline Harvest Level (GHL) is removed in 2013 rather than
Historical tables of estimated FCEY, staff catch limit recommendations, and Commission-adopted Catch Limits are presented in Tables A1 and A2.
1

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the estimated catch from 2012 which was used in the initial calculations (Table 9). The only change from Table 3 is increased sport removals in Area 2C consistent with a 0.788 Mlb GHL. The apportionment results for the 35 Mlb mortality row with full GHL removals are presented in Table 10. The GHL for Area 2C in this alternative is 0.788 Mlb, and it is 2.01 Mlb for Area 3A. At the 45 Mlb total mortality level, the GHL for 2C remains unchanged, but the GHL for Area 3A increases to 2.73 Mlb (Table 11). The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has indicated (Fig. 6) that similar management measures for charter fishing will be in place for 2013 as were employed in 2012. While the choice of harvest options from the risk-benefit decision table is the purview of the Commission, the staff notes that an understanding of future stock and fishery behavior is dependent on the degree to which a consistent harvest policy is implemented. As such, attention is drawn to the impact of harvest choices if catch limit decisions are made uniquely at the level of Regulatory Areas, rather than at a coastwide level in conformance with a harvest policy that has been evaluated. Additional analyses can be conducted to determine the coastwide harvest rates and the implied harvest policy that would result under such scenarios.

Fishing seasons
As in the past years, the staff recommends March 15 to November 15 opening and closing dates for the quota share fishing season. This recommendation is a compromise between minimizing interceptions of migrating fish and providing opportunity for market presence of wild halibut. All Area 2A commercial fisheries should also occur within this period. For the Area 2A directed commercial fishery, the staff recommends an opening pattern similar to 2012, starting the last week of June with a series of 10-hour periods, with fishing period limits. Therefore we recommend the following series for 2013: June 26, July 10, July 24, August 7, August 21, September 4, and September 18. The size of the fishing period limits will be determined when more information is available on fleet participation.

Catch sharing plans: Areas 2A, 2B, and 4CDE
The Commission does not make allocative decisions within regulatory areas or among different user groups. However, for Areas 2A and 4CDE the staff recommends that the Commission endorse the catch sharing plans developed by the Pacific and North Pacific Fishery Management Councils for these areas, respectively. Similarly, the staff recommends that the catch sharing allocation of 85% commercial and 15% recreational, developed by DFO for Area 2B, be endorsed.

Proposed changes to the IPHC regulations
Area 2C sport fishing regulations for the charter vessels The IPHC has received a request from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Appendix 1) concerning management measures to restrict the charter halibut harvest in Area 2C, in order to stay within the Council’s (GHL). The request is to maintain the current regulation of the reverse slot limit allowing the retention of one fish, ≤45 inches or ≥68 inches in length, with head on. In addition, as in the past, if the halibut was filleted the entire carcass must be retained on board the vessel until all fillets are offloaded.

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References
Stewart, I.J., Martell, S., Webster, R.A., Forrest, R., Ianelli, J., and Leaman, B.M. 2013a. Assessment review team meeting, October 24-26, 2012. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2012: 239-266. Stewart, I.J., Leaman, B.M., Martell, S. and Webster, R.A. 2013b. Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock at the end of 2012. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2012: 93-186. Webster, R.A. 2011. Weighted averaging of recent survey indices. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessmnent and Research Activities 2010: 241-250. Webster, R.A. and Hare, S.R. 2010. Adjusting IPHC setline survey WPUE for survey timing and hook competition. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessmnent and Research Activities 2010: 251-260. Webster, R.A. and Stewart, I. J. 2013. Apportionment and regulatory area harvest calculations. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessmnent and Research Activities 2012: 187-205.

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Table 1. Bridging analysis showing relationship of original 2011, updated 2011, and updated 2012 estimates using the 2011 model variant, and new assessment estimates using the 2012 model variant which corrects retrospective bias. All weights in Mlb (net wt.).
Model End year Data finalized in Quantity 2012 Spawning biomass 2012 Relative spawning biomass 2013 Spawning biomass 2013 Relative spawning biomass 2012 Exploitable biomass 2013 Exploitable biomass 2012 Coastwide harvest rate 319 42% --260 -19.4% 309 41% --252 -18.9% 272 38% 324 46% 219 258 21.8% 197 34% 201 35% 179 186 26.7% 2011 2011 (wobblesq) 2011 2012 November 2012 2012 2012 November 2012

November November 2011 2012

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Table 2. Risk-benefit decision table. Values indicate the probability of the outcome in each column given the level of removals for that row.
Fishing intensity Effective coastwide HR 2013 is greater than target 0% <1% <1% 1% 23% 50% 75% 84% 97% >99% a Stock status Stock trend Catch trend Fishery CEY 2016 is less than 2013 41% 95% 96% 97% 97% 97% 98% 98% 98% 99% f 2014 is less than 2013 0% 0% <1% 1% 19% 48% 75% 85% 97% >99% g

Coastwide Fishery CEY (total removals) millions lb 0.0 (0.0) 0.0 (16.5) 3.4 (20.0) 12.9 (30.0) 17.7 (35.0) 22.7 (40.2) 27.3 (45.0) 32.1 (50.0) 36.2 (54.3) 41.6 (60.0)

is less than 30% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25% b

Spawning biomass 2014 is is is 5% less less less than than than 20% 2013 2013 <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% c 23% 76% 77% 79% 80% 82% 83% 84% 85% 86% d <1% 2% 2% 2% 2% 3% 3% 3% 4% 4% e

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Table 3. Apportioned distribution of total CEY (M lb) for alternative levels of mortality (from Table 2). The middle row represents the Blue Line results (Stewart et al. 2013). All biomass values are reported in millions of net pounds. 2A 0.29 0.37 0.59 0.82 1.04 1.13 1.26 2B 1.86 2.37 3.81 5.28 6.67 7.30 8.11 2C 1.77 2.25 3.61 5.00 6.33 6.92 7.70 3A 5.34 6.80 10.92 15.13 19.13 20.92 23.27 3B 1.48 1.89 3.03 4.20 5.30 5.80 6.45 4A 0.68 0.87 1.39 1.93 2.44 2.67 2.97 4B 0.38 0.49 0.79 1.09 1.38 1.50 1.67 4CDE 1.12 1.43 2.30 3.18 4.02 4.40 4.90 Total CEY 12.93 16.46 26.43 36.63 46.30 50.65 56.34 Coastwide Harvest Rate 6.9% 8.8% 14.2% 19.6% 24.8% 27.2% 30.2%

Table 4. Area-specific harvest rates (%) based on alternative levels of mortality (from Table 2). The middle row represents the Blue Line results (Stewart et al. 2013), and the current harvest policy rates by management area. 2A 7.6 9.7 15.5 21.5 27.2 29.7 33.1 2B 7.6 9.7 15.5 21.5 27.2 29.7 33.1 2C 7.6 9.7 15.5 21.5 27.2 29.7 33.1 3A 7.6 9.7 15.5 21.5 27.2 29.7 33.1 3B 5.7 7.2 11.6 16.1 20.4 22.3 24.8 4A 5.7 7.2 11.6 16.1 20.4 22.3 24.8 4B 4CDE 5.7 5.7 7.2 7.2 11.6 11.6 16.1 16.1 20.4 20.4 22.3 22.3 24.8 24.8 Total CEY 12.93 16.46 26.43 36.63 46.30 50.65 56.34 Coastwide Harvest Rate 6.9 8.8 14.2 19.6 24.8 27.2 30.2

Table 5. “Other removals” (026; Mlb, net) observed in 2012. Note that these differ from the values deducted from the TCEY in apportionment calculations due to the scaling of commercial fishery wastage relative to 2012 values. Bycatch Wastage Sport Personal/subsistence Total 2A 0.10 0.01 NA NA 0.11 2B 0.18 0.17 NA 0.41 0.75 2C 0.01 0.08 1.41 0.43 1.91 3A 1.26 0.56 3.94 0.31 6.07 3B 1.11 0.47 0.01 0.02 1.61 4A 0.99 0.08 0.02 0.02 1.11 4B 4CDE 0.44 2.25 0.03 0.08 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.48 2.36 Total 6.34 1.48 5.38 1.21 14.40

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Table 6. Apportionment results for the Blue Line current harvest policy approach. All biomass values are reported in millions of net pounds. Exploitable biomass Percent of total Harvest rate (%) Total CEY Other removals (O26) Fishery CEY 2A 2B 2C 3A 3.81 24.54 23.28 70.38 2.0 13.2 12.5 37.7 21.5 21.5 21.5 21.5 0.82 5.28 5.00 15.13 0.11 0.69 1.89 5.89 0.71 4.58 3.12 9.24 3B 26.02 14.0 16.1 4.20 1.46 2.73 4A 11.97 6.4 16.1 1.93 1.08 0.85 4B 6.75 3.6 16.1 1.09 0.47 0.62 4CDE Total 19.74 186.49 10.6 100.0 16.1 19.6 3.18 36.63 2.33 13.93 0.85 22.70

Table 7. Apportionment results for the Table 2 row with 35 Mlb total mortality, assuming 2011 levels of Other removals. All biomass values are reported in millions of net pounds. Exploitable biomass Percent of total Harvest rate (%) Total CEY Other removals Fishery CEY 2A 3.81 2.0 18.4 0.70 0.11 0.59 2B 24.54 13.2 18.4 4.52 0.67 3.85 2C 23.28 12.5 18.4 4.29 1.88 2.41 3A 70.38 37.7 18.4 12.97 5.81 7.16 3B 26.02 14.0 13.8 3.60 1.39 2.20 4A 11.97 6.4 13.8 1.65 1.07 0.58 4B 4CDE 6.75 19.74 3.6 10.6 13.8 13.8 0.93 2.73 0.46 2.32 0.47 0.41 Total 186.49 100.0 16.8 31.40 13.71 17.69

Table 8. Apportionment results for the Table 2 row with 45 Mlb total mortality, assuming 2011 levels of Other removals. All biomass values are reported in millions of net pounds. Exploitable biomass Percent of total Harvest rate (%) Total CEY Other removals Fishery CEY 2A 3.81 2.0 24.3 0.93 0.11 0.81 2B 24.54 13.2 24.3 5.96 0.72 5.25 2C 23.28 12.5 24.3 5.66 1.90 3.76 3A 70.38 37.7 24.3 17.10 5.97 11.13 3B 26.02 14.0 18.2 4.74 1.53 3.21 4A 11.97 6.4 18.2 2.18 1.09 1.09 4B 4CDE Total 6.75 19.74 186.49 3.6 10.6 100.0 18.2 18.2 22.2 1.23 3.60 41.40 0.47 2.34 14.14 0.76 1.25 27.26

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Table 9. Apportionment results for the Blue Line, assuming the full GHL is removed in Areas 2C and 3A. All biomass values are reported in millions of net pounds. Exploitable biomass Percent of total Harvest rate (%) Total CEY Other removals Fishery CEY 2A 3.81 2.0 21.5 0.82 0.11 0.71 2B 24.54 13.2 21.5 5.28 0.69 4.58 2C 23.28 12.5 21.5 5.00 2.03 2.97 3A 70.38 37.7 21.5 15.13 5.89 9.24 3B 26.02 14.0 16.1 4.20 1.46 2.73 4A 11.97 6.4 16.1 1.93 1.08 0.85 4B 4CDE 6.75 19.74 3.6 10.6 16.1 16.1 1.09 3.18 0.47 2.33 0.62 0.85 Total 186.49 100.0 19.6 36.63 14.08 22.55

Table 10. Apportionment results for the Table 2 row with 35 Mlb total mortality, assuming the full GHL is removed in Areas 2C and 3A. All biomass values are reported in millions of net pounds. Exploitable biomass Percent of total Harvest rate (%) Total CEY Other removals Fishery CEY 2A 3.81 2.0 18.4 0.70 0.11 0.59 2B 24.54 13.2 18.4 4.52 0.67 3.85 2C 23.28 12.5 18.4 4.29 2.04 2.25 3A 70.38 37.7 18.4 12.97 5.44 7.53 3B 26.02 14.0 13.8 3.60 1.39 2.20 4A 11.97 6.4 13.8 1.65 1.07 0.58 4B 4CDE 6.75 19.74 3.6 10.6 13.8 13.8 0.93 2.73 0.46 2.32 0.47 0.41 Total 186.49 100.0 16.8 31.40 13.51 17.89

Table 11. Apportionment results for the Table 2 row with 45 Mlb total mortality, assuming the full GHL is removed in Areas 2C and 3A. All biomass values are reported in millions of net pounds. Exploitable biomass Percent of total Harvest rate (%) Total CEY Other removals Fishery CEY 2A 3.81 2.0 24.3 0.93 0.11 0.81 2B 24.54 13.2 24.3 5.96 0.72 5.25 2C 23.28 12.5 24.3 5.66 2.04 3.61 3A 70.38 37.7 24.3 17.10 6.33 10.77 3B 26.02 14.0 18.2 4.74 1.53 3.21 4A 11.97 6.4 18.2 2.18 1.09 1.09 4B 4CDE 6.75 19.74 3.6 10.6 18.2 18.2 1.23 3.60 0.47 2.34 0.76 1.25 Total 186.49 100.0 22.2 41.40 14.64 26.76

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Figure 1. Hook competition adjustment factors that are applied to setline survey WPUE for biomass apportionment.

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Figure 2. Survey timing adjustment factors that are applied to setline survey WPUE for biomass apportionment, by area and year.

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Figure 3. Comparison of survey WPUE without adjustments (Raw WPUE), with both timing and hook competition adjustments applied (Adj WPUE), and with adjustments and a 75:20:5 weighting of the three most recent years’ values (Adj with KF).

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Figure 4. Distribution of exploitable biomass, as estimated in the 2012 stock assessment, at the beginning of 2012 (left) and 2013 (right).

Figure 5. Apportionment-based exploitable biomass estimates by year and area, calculated by applying the proportions in Table 1 of Webster and Stewart (2013) to the 2012 stock assessment estimates of coastwide Ebio. 126
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Figure 6. Letter concerning management measures for charter vessel recreational fishing in Areas 2C and 3A.

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Table A1. Estimated fishery CEY, staff recommended catch limits, and approved catch limits of Pacific halibut by IPHC regulatory area (in thousands of pounds, net weight), 2003-2012.
20041 1,810 15,7804 17,030 29,980 15,600 3,470 2,810 3,390 89,870 2005 1,170 12,7004 11,800 26,300 10,700 3,400 1,700 4,400 72,170 2006 1,490 13,2004 10,330 24,940 8,570 3,250 1,070 3,110 65,960 2009 500 4,9204 2,860 20,840 13,200 2,200 2,090 1,970 48,580 2010 570 5,5504 2,390 18,280 8,910 2,120 2,750 3,820 44,390 2011 1,120 7,9404 2,330 14,360 7,510 2,570 2,210 3,990 42,030 2012 1,150 6,6304 3,210 11,920 5,070 1,570 1,870 2,470 33,890

2003 1,290 11,320 9,110 34,220 29,190 11,220 7,760 13,820 117,930

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2004 1,480 13,8004 10,500 25,060 15,600 3,470 2,810 3,785 76,505 2005 1,330 13,2504 10,930 25,470 13,150 3,440 2,260 3,989 73,819 2006 1,380 13,2204 10,630 25,200 10,860 3,350 1,670 3,550 69,860

Regulatory Area 2A3 2B 2C 3A 3B 4A 4B 4CDE Total Regulatory Area 2A3 2B 2C 3A 3B 4A 4B 4CDE Total Regulatory Area 2A3 2B 2C 3A 3B 4A 4B 4CDE Total 2004 1,480 13,8004 11,310 25,060 15,600 3,470 2,810 3,390 76,920 2009 950 7,6304 5,020 21,700 10,900 2,550 1,870 3,460 54,080 2005 1,330 13,2504 10,930 25,470 13,150 3,440 2,260 3,990 73,820 2006 1,380 13,2204 10,630 25,200 10,860 3,350 1,670 3,550 69,860 2009 860 6,9604 4,540 22,530 11,670 2,650 1,940 2,930 54,080 2010 760 6,5904 3,710 19,990 9,900 2,330 2,160 3,580 49,020 2010 810 7,5004 4,400 19,990 9,900 2,330 2,160 3,580 50,670 2011 910 7,6504 2,330 14,360 7,510 2,410 2,180 3,720 41,070 2011 910 7,6504 2,330 14,360 7,510 2,410 2,180 3,720 41,070

2003 1,310 11,750 8,500 22,630 17,130 4.970 4,180 4,450 74,920

2012 990 6,6304 2,620 11,920 5,070 1,570 1,870 2,470 33,140 2012 989 7,0384 2,624 11,918 5,070 1,567 1,869 2,465 33,540

2003 1,310 11,750 8,500 22,630 17,130 4.970 4,180 4,450 74,920

Estimated Fishery CEY 20072 2008 660 650 6,2204 4,6504 4,980 3,920 27,630 22,250 16,770 14,270 5,230 3,510 2,560 2,700 3,850 3,680 67,900 55,630 Staff Recommendations 2008 20072 1,020 1,000 9,7204 8,0604 7,810 6,210 26,010 24,220 12,830 10,900 3,980 3,100 1,970 1,860 3,650 3,890 66,990 59,240 Catch Limits 2008 20072 1,340 1,220 11,4704 9,0004 8,510 6,210 26,200 24,220 9,220 10,900 2,890 3,100 1,440 1,860 4,100 3,890 65,170 60,400

1

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2

Staff catch limit recommendations revised after Bluebook based on CEY harvest policy Estimated fishery CEY and staff recommendations from coastwide stock assessment with survey partitioning to area as presented in the 2007 Annual Meeting Handout. The closed area stock assessment produced staff recommendations by area in millions of pounds of: Area 2A = 1.34; Area 2B = 11.47; Area 2C = 8.51; Area 3A = 26.20; Area 3B = 9.22; Area 4A = 2.89; and 4B = 1.44 and Area 4CDE = 4.10. The Commission determined the 2007 catch limits using recommendations based on the closed area stock assessment. 3 Area 2A includes sport catch and treaty Indian catch 4 Area 2B includes sport catch

Table A2. Estimated fishery CEY, staff recommended catch limits, and approved catch limits of Pacific halibut by IPHC regulatory area (in thousands of pounds, net weight), 1993 - 2002.
19941 490 8,320 12,660 27,020 3,580 Skipped Between Models Area 4 = 5,000 57,070 Area 4 = 5,920 45,030 19952 520 9,520 8,540 16,870 3,660 1996

1993 460 9,810 10,410 23,130 4,070

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Area 4 = 5,590 53,470

1999 690 11,210 10,490 24,670 26,830 8,420 6,710 9,800 98,820

2000 830 7,850 6,310 11,940 18,360 6,420 6,770 4,130 62,610

2001 1,1404 9,9904 8,780 21,890 25,460 9,820 10,060 7,630 94,770

2002 1,310 11,750 8,500 24,140 28,560 11,960 7,510 11,810 105,540

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1994 550 10,000 11,000 26,000 4,000 1,800 2,100 1,500 56,950 1995 520 9,520 9,000 20,000 3,700 1,950 2,310 1,660 48,660 1996 520 9,520 9,000 20,000 3,700 1,950 2,310 1,660 48,660

Regulatory Area 2A3 2B 2C 3A 3B 4A 4B 4CDE Total Regulatory Area 2A3 2B 2C 3A 3B 4A 4B 4CDE Total Regulatory Area 2A3 2B 2C 3A 3B 4A 4B 4CDE Total 1994 500 9,500 12,000 26,000 4,000 1,800 2,100 1,500 57,400 1999 760 12,100 10,490 24,670 13,370 4,240 3,980 4,450 74,060 1995 450 8,500 8,500 20,000 3,700 2,000 1,600 2,300 47,050 1996 520 9,520 9,000 20,000 3,700 1,950 2,310 1,660 48,660 1999 690 11,210 10,490 24,670 13,370 4,240 3,980 4,130 72,780 2000 830 9,970 8,400 18,310 15,031 4,970 4,910 4,130 66,550 2000 830 10,600 8,400 18,310 15,030 4,970 4,910 4,450 67,500 2001 1,1404 9,9904 8,780 21,890 18,500 4,970 4,910 4,450 74,630 2001 1,140 10,510 8,780 21,890 16,530 4,970 4,910 4,450 73,180 2002 1,310 11,750 8,500 22,630 17,130 4,970 3,440 4,450 74,180 2002 1,310 11,750 8,500 22,630 17,130 4,970 4,180 4,450 74,920

1993 460 9,810 10,410 23,130 4,070 2,020 2,020 1,520 53,440

1993 600 10,500 10,000 20,700 6,500 2,020 2,300 1,720 54,340

Estimated Fishery CEY 1997 1998 930 1,050 15,990 15,380 11,410 15,480 33,550 38,710 11,490 30,990 11,110 Area 4 = 10,210 25,290 13,280 98,660 136,210 Staff Recommendation 1997 1990 700 420 12,500 7,800 10,000 8,000 25,000 33,000 9,000 6,400 3,000 1,300 3,200 1,300 2,800 805 66,200 59,025 Catch limits 1997 1998 700 820 12,500 13,000 10,000 10,500 25,000 26,000 9,000 11,000 2,940 3,500 3,480 3,500 2,580 3,500 66,200 71,820

1

2

Average of standard and alternative (conservative) assessments (1994) From 1995 on, CEY based on projected rather than lagged ebio 3 Area 2A includes sport catch and treaty Indian catch 4 With the lower series of Area 2B sport catch estimates (including .887 Mlb in 2001), Area 2AB exploitable biomass is 66.71. With 11% of the total in Area 2A, the 2001 setline CEY is 1.12 M lb in 2A and 10.51 M lb in 2B. With a sport catch estimate of 1.58 M lb in 2001, the exploitable biomass for 2AB is 67.62 M lb and the 2001 setline CEY is 1.14 M lb in 2A and 9.99 M lb in 2B Source – IPHC Annual Meeting Briefing,HGilroy, Jan 2013.

Optimal harvest rates for Pacific halibut
Steven Martell, Ian J. Stewart, and Bruce M. Leaman

Abstract
Key to determining the optimal harvest rate that maximizes the long-term sustainable yield is having knowledge of stock productivity and what age, or size, of fish are being harvested by all fishing sectors. Recent size-at-age data and changes in the stock assessment model for Pacific halibut have resulted in changes in estimated productivity and selectivity for both the directed fishery and the setline survey. Previous estimates of optimal exploitation rates are outdated and need to be revised. An age- sex- and size-structured equilibrium model is used to investigate how variation in growth, changes in size-selectivity, size-limits, and bycatch impact estimates of optimal exploitation rates in each of the Regulatory Areas for Pacific halibut. Differences in growth rates between regulatory areas translate into as much as a 40% difference in yield per recruit. A maximum size limit of 140 cm results in little to no benefit of protecting spawning stock biomass under the current assumed discard mortality rate of 16%. In the absence of size limits, over all yield per recruit increases but at the expense of reducing spawning biomass and changing the composition of the catch towards smaller fish. Optimal harvest rates would have to be adjusted downwards to compensate for the loss of spawning biomass. Undetected shifts in commercial selectivity towards capturing smaller/younger fish results in an upward bias in the estimates of optimal harvest rates. A reduction in bycatch rates in non-directed fisheries can lead to desirable increases in optimal exploitation rates. Conversely, unreported bycatch results in an upward bias in optimal exploitation rates. The optimal harvest rate is very sensitive to estimates of natural mortality, steepness of the stock-recruit relationship, and fisheries selectivity. The harvest control rule should be updated with changes in model structure and updated parameter estimates to ensure the harvest policy is kept up to date. Results presented are preliminary and include a number of simplifying assumptions. Recommendations concerning revisions to the optimum harvest rate will be developed over the coming year.

Introduction
The current harvest objectives for Pacific halibut are to achieve a high level of yield while at all times maintaining healthy female spawning stock biomass to ensure long-term sustainability. The current harvest policy intends to achieve a desired exploitation rate of 21.5% in regulatory Areas 2A, 2B, 2C, and 3A, and a lower exploitation rate of 16.125% in Areas 3B, 4A, 4B, and 4CDE. These harvest rates were determined using a simulation modeling approach based on the results of closed area assessments in Areas 2B, 2C and 3A (Clark and Hare, 2006) and subsequent considerations of surplus production and yield per recruit calculations in western regulatory areas, as well as, a revised definition of exploitable biomass. Since that time, there have been several significant changes to the assessment model and regulatory area management that warrant a review and update to the current harvest policy for Pacific halibut. Most significant of these aforementioned changes was the transition from several area-based assessments to a single coast-wide assessment model and apportionment. There have also been changes in mean size-at-age and fisheries selectivity for Pacific halibut, both of which have implications for optimal harvest rate calculations. 131
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The definition of optimal harvest rate can be broadly defined as the harvest rate that would lead to maximizing the long-term yield. Optimal harvest rates can be defined in terms of specific metrics; for example, the harvest rate that maximizes the yield per recruit (FYPR), or the harvest rate that reduces the spawning biomass per recruit to some specified level (F
SPR

), or the harvest

rate that maximizes the long-term sustainable yield (FMSY). Each of these alternative harvest rate metrics requires similar biological and fisheries selectivity information, with the exception of the FMSY which requires additional information about the relationship between spawning stock biomass and recruitment. For the purpose of this report, the harvest rate that maximizes long-term sustainable yield is what is implied with the term optimal harvest rate and is denoted herein by FMSY. Factors that affect the optimal harvest rate calculation fall into two general categories: 1) biological properties that define the underlying productivity of the stock, and 2) fishing related properties associated with target and non-target fisheries that catch halibut. Important biological parameters that define the optimal harvest rate include: growth parameters and the variance in size-at-age, maturity- and fecundity-at-age, natural mortality rates, the steepness of the stockrecruitment relationship, and migration rates among the various fishing grounds (Beddington and Kirkwood, 2005). Although dispersal and movement is important for determining optimal harvest rates, it is often ignored under the assumption of a unit stock (area is sufficiently large enough to ignore dispersal and migration). The vulnerability of fish to fishing gear, also known as selectivity, is also extremely important in determining optimal harvest rates (Hilborn and Walters, 1992). In general, the age-at-entry to the fishery relative to the age-at-maturity defines the optimal fishing mortality rate; as the age-at-entry to the fishery increases relative to the ageat-maturity, the higher the value of FMSY. The current harvest strategy for Pacific halibut also includes the use of a minimum size limit in the directed commercial longline fishery. Halibut that are below the minimum legal size of 81.3 cm total length are required to be released and the IPHC assumes a 16% mortality rate for released fish based on previous tagging studies. Changes in the size limit also have implications for the FMSY calculations, especially if release mortality rates are significant. In general, if halibut less than the minimum size limit are routinely captured, then reducing the minimum size limit will also result in reductions in the optimal harvest rate. Note that the EBio calculation is based on all halibut greater than 66 cm (or 26 inches) so the definition of Ebio does not change with changes in size limits. Previous studies have examined the impacts of alternative size limits on the yield per recruit and spawning biomass per recruit using steady-state or equilibrium models (Clark and Parma, 1995). Previous halibut studies have not considered the cumulative impacts of size-selective fishing on optimal harvest rate calculations for Pacific halibut. Using a minimum size limit, faster growing individuals from a given cohort would experience higher total mortality rates over their lifetime as they recruit to the legal size at a younger age in comparison to slower growing individuals. The cumulative effect of fishing mortality imposes a higher total mortality rate on faster growing halibut; remaining individuals left in the population consist of slower growing individuals (Taylor et al., 2005). The cumulative effects of size-selective fishing can, therefore, give the appearance of declining mean weight-at-age in the population. Further, previous studies have not addressed how different release mortality rates affect yield per recruit and optimal harvest rates for Pacific halibut. Coggins et al. (2007) and Pine et al. 132
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(2008) demonstrated that for a given size limit, increases in discard mortality can lower the realized yield per recruit. This is also the case if both lower and upper size limits (i.e., slot-limit) are in place, where the assumption is that an upper size limit would add additional protection to large sexually mature females. Maximizing yield per recruit, or maximizing the total landed biomass is not always desirable from an economic perspective. In the cases where there is a differential price structure for the size of fish landed (e.g., large fish fetch a higher price per pound than small fish), it may be more desirable to fish at rates lower than F in order to maximize value of all fish landed. MSY Moreover, fishing mortality rates associated with Maximum Economic Yield (MEY) are generally lower than fishing mortality rates associated with MSY (Gordon, 1954). In this paper, I use an equilibrium model for Pacific halibut to examine how changes in biological components and size-specific fishing mortality impact estimates of optimum harvest rate calculations. In addition to the directed fishery, the impacts of other constant removals from non-directed fisheries (e.g., bycatch) on estimates of optimal fishing mortality rates in the directed fishery are also examined. The cumulative effects of size selective fishing on changes in mean weight-at-age are also explored. Size-at-age data from the 2011 setline survey are used to estimate growth curves for each regulatory area, and these growth curves are used to illustrate how relative differences in growth affect estimates of optimal harvest rates in each regulatory area.

Methods
Equilibrium model The optimal fishing mortality rate for Pacific halibut is based on the assumption that we wish to maximize the overall yield coast wide. To determine the appropriate harvest rate, the equilibrium yield is calculated over a range of alternative effective coast wide harvest rates, and the harvest rate that maximizes this yield is set equal to FMSY. Key inputs to this equilibrium model include: natural mortality rate, the steepness of the stock recruitment relationship, the maturity-at-age information and the size-based selectivity function estimated from the most recent stock assessment model. Including release mortality and cumulative effects of size-selective fishing The equilibrium model described in the previous section also takes into consideration that all fish captured are either retained or discarded, and those that are discarded are subject to an additional 16% mortality. In the model we assume that all fish less than the minimum size limit (or greater than the maximum size limit) are discarded. To represent the cumulative effects of size-selective fishing, the equilibrium model is partitioned into 11 individual sub-populations that differ by growth rate. Populations with fast growth recruit to the fishery at a younger age and therefore are subject to higher fishing mortality rates. The cumulative effect of continuous fishing over all of the populations results in higher overall total mortality rates for faster growth populations and this gives an appearance of declining size-at-age with increasing fishing mortality rates.

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Life-history parameters For this paper, the assumed natural mortality and selectivity parameters are listed in Table 1. Estimated growth parameters for each regulatory area are summarized in Table 6 in Appendix A. Sexual maturity for female halibut was assumed to be a logistic function of age, where the age-at50% maturity is 10.91 years and the standard deviation is 1.406 years. Relative fecundity-at-age is assumed to be proportional to mature female weight-at-age. The allometric length-weight b relationship (a,b parameters in W=aL ) was assumed to be the same for both sexes (Table 1). Estimates of growth parameters for Pacific halibut were based on size-at-age data ontained from the 2011 set line survey. Estimated growth parameters by sex are listed in Table 6. Estimates of asymptotic lengths for females ranged from 126.1 cm for Area 2A to 199.5 cm for Area 4C, for males asymptotic lengths ranged from 97.0 cm in are 3B to 126.8 cm in Area 4B. Growth coefficients for females averaged 0.0775 and for males averaged 0.0811. Growth rates in Area 2A are greatly accelerated relative to the standard von Bertalanffy growth curve at younger ages (p<1) in Area 2A, whereas growth rates for females are reduced in all other areas (p>1). Also note that estimates of the p parameter are heavily confounded with estimates of asymptotic length, especially in areas where data from large–older fish are lacking. The two key parameters that define the underlying stock-recruitment relationship in this model are: Bo, the unfished spawning stock biomass, and steepness (h) which is defined as the fraction of unfished recruitment that is obtained when the spawning stock biomass is reduced to 20% of its unfished state. Normally these two parameters are obtained by fitting a stockrecruitment relationship to the historical estimates of spawning biomass and recruitment numbers (usually integrated within the stock assessment model). The current assessment model for Pacific halibut has no built in stock recruitment relationship at this time, so these parameters are not readily available. In the absence of Bo and h estimates, Bo was arbitrarily set at 100 pounds, and a steepness value of 0.75 was chosen somewhat arbitrarily because estimates of FMSY were fairly similar to those obtained for Areas 3A, 2B and 2C by Clark and Hare (2006). Note also, that in arriving at a value of 0.75 for steepness, no bycatch was assumed for the non-directed fisheries (i.e., bycatch for the trawl fishery was set equal to 0). If bycatch was included in the initial development of the model, the assumed value of steepness would likely be higher to compensate for recruitment loss associated with bycatch of juvenile halibut. Optimal fishing rates To determine the fishing mortality rate that would maximize the relative yield in each regulatory area, a discrete range of equilibrium fishing mortality rates was used to calculate FMSY for that regulatory area. The relationship between fishing mortality and yield is then plotted for each regulatory area (also referred to as equilibrium yield curves). The equilibrium yield curves obtained for each regulatory area assume no migration between each regulatory area, and for the purposes of this paper, are effectively treated as closed populations. Therefore, a single value of Bo is used for all regulatory areas and we only report the relative yields per 100 pounds of unfished spawning biomass. The other reason for assuming the same scaling and steepness parameter is that it also allows for direct comparisons of yield-perrecruit, spawning biomass per-recruit, discards per-recruit etc. in response to differences in sizeat-age (growth) in each regulatory area.

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Scenarios Combinations of policy parameters in the equilibrium model were explored to examine the implications of changing fishing regulations on optimal harvest rate calculations. Also the sensitivity of optimal harvest rates to alternative assumptions about discard mortality rates, steepness, or the effects of bycatch non-directed fisheries was also examined. In addition to the base scenario (S1, Table 2), eight additional scenarios were examined to explore the effects of minimum and maximum size limits (S2, S3), a 10 cm shift in commercial selectivity towards smaller fish (S4), other mortality associated with non-directed fisheries that remove a constant catch (S5), and sensitivity to size-dependent natural mortality (S6, S7) and steepness (S8, S9). The intention of scenarios 2 and 3 is to examine how the overall equilibrium yield, yield-perrecruit, spawning biomass per-recruit, and estimates of F would change with changes in size MSY limits. Similarly, how would these same variables change if the fishery targeted smaller fish (S4)? In the case of Scenario 4, the same size-based selectivity coefficients are used, but the liner interpolation over size is shifted to 50–120 cm from the status quo of 60–130 cm. In other words, if a 100 cm female had a selectivity of 0.535 in the base scenario, is S4 it has a selectivity of 0.535 at 90 cm. In scenario S5, the bycatch from a non-directed trawl fishery is assumed to be constant, irrespective of the density of halibut on the trawl grounds (a worst-case scenario). Also, bycatch is not expected to result in additional compensation in juvenile survival rates for new recruits (i.e., there is no impact on steepness of the stock-recruit relationship). In the case of constant bycatch, the fishing mortality rate is expected to decrease exponentially with increasing halibut density. For example, if the bycatch fisheries discard a fixed amount of 1 million pounds of dead halibut each year and the equilibrium biomass is 10 million pounds, then the corresponding fishing mortality rate of the bycatch fishery is proportional to 1/10, or 0.1. If, however, the equilibrium biomass is at a lower level, e.g., 2.5 million pounds, then the equilibrium fishing mortality rate is proportional to 1/2.5, or 0.40. It was also assumed that bycatch from the trawl fisheries selected fish of small and intermediate sizes. This selectivity was approximated with a double logistic function with the size at 50% selectivity at 61 cm for the ascending limb and 81.3 for the descending limb, and a standard deviation of 0.1 cm (knife-edge) for both ascending and descending portions of the curve. In reality, the actual selectivity curves could differ markedly, and the appropriate sizecomposition data would have to be integrated into the assessment model to estimate selectivity parameters for a discard fishery. In scenarios 6 and 7, natural mortality is assumed to be size-dependent where small halibut have a higher natural mortality rate than larger halibut (S6), or natural mortality rates increase with increasing size (S7). In both scenarios 6 and 7, the average natural mortality rate is approximately 0.15 when integrated over all size classes. Lastly, scenarios 8 and 9 are intended to demonstrate how sensitive the reference fishing mortality rate calculation is to the assumed value of steepness in the stock assessment model. This is akin to the range of recruitment values used in the Clark and Hare (2006) simulation study where no density-dependent effects on recruitment were assumed.

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Results
Growth Size-at-age data in each of the regulatory areas has very marked differences in both the mean length-at-age, and the distribution of age-classes (Fig. 1). Male and female halibut in Area 2A are fast growing but tend to have a much smaller asymptotic size than halibut sampled in other regulatory areas. Moreover, the age-composition in Area 2A is truncated relative to other regions, with very few fish older than 17 years. The coefficient of variation in length-at-age is much higher in Areas 2B and 2C, especially for females. Estimated growth rates for female halibut in these two areas is nearly linear for younger ages, and on average older halibut in these regions are much larger in comparison to other regions with old female halibut. Area 4B is also another anomaly in that the age-distribution is much older, especially for males, with many sampled individuals beyond age 20. Additional details about the growth model and estimated model parameters are found in Appendix A. We note here that estimated growth parameters in Figure 1 are biased due to size-based selectivity in the setline survey and potentially contaminated due to the cumulative effects of size-selective fishing. Nonetheless, the relative differences in growth rates in each of the regulatory areas, is what is important in this analysis. Area-specific estimates of FMSY The relative equilibrium yield versus fishing mortality rate in each of the regulatory areas (Fig. 2) demonstrate the relative differences in expected yield based only on differences in halibut growth (size-at-age) in each of the regulatory areas. For each of the regulatory areas shown in Figure 2, a minimum size limit of 81.3 cm exists, steepness is fixed at an arbitrary value of 0.75, size-selectivity is the same in each area, and natural mortality rates are the same (M=0.15) for all areas. The only biological difference between regulatory areas is the growth rate. For each recruiting halibut in a specific regulatory area, the maximum yield per recruit would be obtained in Area 2A. Halibut in Area 2A are very large at younger ages and more vulnerable to the fishing gear (selectivity) at an age when they are numerically more abundant. In contrast, in Area 4C halibut obtain very large sizes, but the growth rate is much slower in comparison to 2A so fewer individuals are available to be harvested and less yield per recruit is obtained in this area. The net result of this difference in growth rates is that estimates of FMSY are lower in Area 4C relative to Area 2A (Fig. 2 and Table 3). The difference in early growth between 2A and 4C translates into roughly 40% more yield per recruit in Area 2A. Equilibrium yield curves for each regulatory area under each of the 9 alternative scenarios are shown in Figure 3 and the corresponding estimates of optimal exploitation rates are summarized in Table 3. Relative to the current harvest rate policy of 21.5% and 16.125%, estimates of optimal exploitation rates for Areas 2B and 2C are below the current 21.5% value. However, recall that this is based on the assumption of a Beverton-Holt stock recruitment relationship with a steepness value set at an arbitrary level of 0.75. The utility of S1 is to serve as a baseline in which to compare impacts of alternative size limits and model assumptions on the estimates of optimal exploitation rates that would maximize the average long-term yield in each of the statistical areas. The maximum size limit scenario results in slight increases in the estimates of FMSY in areas where halibut grow to a sufficiently large size to benefit from such protection (Table 3). 136
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Imposing a maximum size limit does not result in any yield benefits in any of the regulatory areas (Scenario S2, Table 4). In fact, in Areas 2A and 3B, there is a very small probability that an individual halibut would survive and grow to surpass the upper legal size limit of 140 cm. There is only a minor improvement in the relative spawning biomass in Areas 2A and 3B associated with a maximum size limit of 140 cm (Table 5). Whereas, there is a further reduction in the spawning biomass depletion in areas where halibut grow beyond the 140 cm maximum size limit and fishing at FMSY, and the amount of spawning biomass reduction is proportional to the discard mortality rates. If size-limits were removed altogether, and there is no change in the size-selectivity of the commercial fishery, then estimates of FMSY would have to be reduced (S3, Table 3) in order to compensate for the increased total mortality rate associated with retaining fish smaller than 81.3 cm. Relative increases in overall yield do occur with the removal of the minimum size limits, as the yield per recruit in each area increases, with the exception of Area 4B. However, this modest increase in overall yield does come at the expense of reducing spawning stock biomass, as well as, reducing the average size of landed fish. Scenario 4 represents a shift in the commercial selectivity towards smaller fish, and the net impact of this shift is a reduction in the F values for each regulatory area, as well as, MSY decreases in the overall landed yield (Tables 3 and 4). Recall that this scenario was run with the current minimum size limit of 81.3 cm in place and serves to show that minimum size-limits alone does not afford protection of spawning stock biomass if discard mortality rates are greater than 0. Although corresponding increases in spawning biomass are observed in Table 5. for scenario 4, this increase owes to the reduction in F that would be required to maximize yield MSY if selectivity were to shift towards smaller fish. The effects of other discard mortality, from non-directed fisheries, also plays a role in harvest policy calculations. In scenario 5, a constant total harvest of 2 Mlb (i.e., bycatch from a trawl fishery) was imposed as an increasing fishing mortality rate with increasing directed Fe. In this scenario, a constant level of bycatch results in a dramatic reduction in overall yield in the directed fishery (Table 4) and a reduction in the optimal harvest rate (FMSY) that would produce the maximum sustainable yield in the directed fishery. For example, in Area 2A, 2 lb of bycatch would reduce the directed yield by 1.41 lb if fishing at the optimal fishing mortality rate (Table 4, scenario S5). In the case where bycatch fisheries remove a fixed amount, the mortality rate increases with declining stock size. Whereas, in the directed fishery, annual catches would scale down with reductions in exploitable biomass, and fishing mortality rates would scale down if the spawning biomass falls below B30%. Note also that FMSY estimates would increase if efforts were made to reduce bycatch in non-directed fisheries. Sensitivity to assumed parameter values Scenarios 6 and 7 examine how sensitive MSY-based reference points are to estimates of natural mortality rates. The current assessment model assumes natural mortality is independent of size/age. These two scenarios examine a size-effect in natural mortality. In general, if M is size/age independent, the increasing M results in increases in the estimates of FMSY, and vice versa (Walters and Martell, 2004). Also increases in M results in a decrease in MSY and the 137
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spawning biomass at FMSY. If M is size-dependent and decreases with size, estimates of FMSY also decrease, and vice versa. Natural mortality also plays a role in the general scaling of MSY; as fewer older fish are available for harvest due to high natural mortality rates, then the value of MSY decreases. Hence mis-specification of M can lead to biased estimates of other reference points (e.g., unfished spawning biomass Bo). Lastly, estimates of FMSY are very sensitive to the steepness of the stock-recruitment relationship. With increasing steepness the corresponding estimates of FMSY also increase, and vice versa. The resilience of the stock to over-fishing decreases with decreasing values of steepness, the overall yield declines and there are fewer recruits per unit of spawning biomass (i.e., lower stock productivity). Wastage in the directed fishery In all scenarios where size limits exist, wastage in the directed fishery increases with increasing fishing mortality. Under the current status quo scenario (S1), the long-term average wastage in the directed fishery is estimated to be less than 5% of the total landed yield in each of the regulatory areas if fishing mortality rates are less that 0.25 (Fig. 4). Note that for the purposes of this paper, as well as for the wastage estimates that go into the stock assessment model, it is assumed that the selectivity of the commercial fishery is the same as the estimated selectivity curve in the setline survey. The use of an upper size limit (S2), results in increased wastage over the status quo scenario, but only in areas where halibut attain sufficiently large sizes. At low equilibrium fishing mortality rates wastage in Areas 2B, 2C, 4B and 4C are greater than 10% of the landed catch due to large halibut (greater than 140 cm) in these regions (Fig. 4). As fishing mortality rates increase and erode the size structure, wastage rates decline and effectively become the same as that of a minimum size limit only. In scenario 4, where the commercial selectivity curve was shifted by 10 cm towards smaller fish, the long-term average wastage in the directed fishery more than doubles what is currently assumed under the status quo scenario (Fig. 4). Note that a minimum size limit of 81.3 cm is also maintained in the S4 calculations. Lastly, I also note here that under Scenario 3 (not shown in Fig. 4), there is no wastage, as it is assumed that all fish harvested are landed. Changes in mean weight-at-age Mean size-at-age is predicted to decline with increasing size-selective fishing mortality, especially for age-classes that are fully recruited to the fishing gear (Fig. 5). Ages less than 8 years are not expected to show much of a change in the mean weight-at-age because they are only partially recruited to the gear, and have not been subjected to intense fishing mortality. There are substantial differences in how the predicted mean weight-at-age would change with increasing fishing mortality across regulatory areas. This is a result of differences in growth rates among regulatory areas. Despite these differences, the general pattern of cumulative sizeselective fishing results larger changes in mean size for older individuals and little to no change for age classes that are not subject to intensive fishing. Similar patterns are also evident in the raw size-at-age data collected from the setline survey (Fig. 6). In recent years, exploitation rates in Area 2B are estimated to be greater than the target rate of 21.5%. Mean weight-at-age for age6 fish in Area 2B have varied little between 2002 and 2006; whereas there has been a decline in mean weight-at-age for ages 10 and 14 between 2007 and 2009 (Fig. 6). There is considerable variability in the observed size-at-age data from the set line survey in all of the regulatory areas. 138
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Discussion
Factors that affect estimates of optimal harvest rates come in two general forms: (1) biological components that define the underlying productivity of the stock, and (2) fishery components that affect size-at-entry and size-specific mortality. The former cannot be directly managed but must be taken into consideration in harevst policy, especially if there are temporal changes in stock productivity. The latter can be directly controlled through a variety of tools that limit gear specifications, size limits, or even areas fished, to control size-at-entry into the fishery and reduce post release mortality rates. In the case of Pacific halibut, there have been recent changes in size-at-age and there is also considerable variation in the size-at-age among the regulatory areas. Optimal harvest rate calculations for each of the regulatory areas will have to be updated frequently owing to continued changes, and differences, in size-at-age among regulatory areas. Also, any changes in fisheries operations or changes in fishery regulations (e.g., change in size limits or bycatch) will also affect optimal harvest calculations. In general, the underlying parameters that define the harvest control rule should be updated on a routine, or even annual, basis to ensure that biological and technological changes are taken into account to ensure harvest policy is kept up to date. In this paper, we examined how changes in stock productivity and size-selectivity interact with estimates of fishing mortality rates that maximize long-term sustainable yields. This was approximated using an age- and sex-structured equilibrium model conditioned on regulatory area size-at-age data from the 2011 setline survey and parameters from the most recent stock assessment. The previous harvest policy was based on a stochastic simulation model for Pacific halibut that is now dated because of: (a) continued changes in size-at-age for Pacific halibut, (b) a transition from area-based assessments to a coast-wide model, (c) recent recognition that fishery and survey selectivity must vary over time in the coast-wide assessment due to changes in the distribution of the stock, and (d) reduction in the bycatch levels in non-directed fisheries. There have been previous equilibrium-based models for the development of harvest policy for Pacific halibut (e.g., Clark and Parma, 1995), but these models did not explicitly consider the effects of wastage and bycatch on optimal harvest rates. Moreover, previous analyses were also limited to the core halibut areas (2B, 2C and 3A). This study attempts to address some of these shortcomings, but is still incomplete. At this point, this analysis should be considered a work in progress for the sole reason that a key population parameter (i.e., steepness) that defines the underlying stock productivity is not yet available for the new coast-wide assessment. The steepness parameter was arbitrarily set at a value of 0.75 and was chosen because it resulted in estimates of F that are similar to those MSY obtained by Clark and Hare (2006). Nevertheless, the relative changes in FMSY among regulatory areas based on differences in growth rates would not differ if a reliable estimate of steepness was available. Also critical to optimal harvest rate calculations is the area-based selectivity. At present, the coast-wide assessment model explicitly assumes size-based selectivity for each fishing gear does not vary by regulatory area, yet it is allowed to vary over time due to shifts in the distribution of the stock. In comparison to differences in size-at-age, regulatory area differences in selectivity-at-age relative to maturity-at-age will also have a large impact on estimates of area specific optimal exploitation rates. The previous closed-area assessment models estimated marked differences in selectivity among regulatory Areas 2B and 3A (Clark and Hare, 2006). The transition to a coast-wide model introduced a new assumption that size-based selectivity is the same for all regulatory areas. 139
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One issue, that has not been examined here, and has very important harvest policy implications is the initial recruitment and movement of halibut among regulatory areas. Areaspecific optimal harvest rates are sensitive to movement of halibut among regulatory areas. There has been a considerable effort in this regard to understand the movement of halibut (e.g., Loher and Seitz, 2006; Webster, 2009) and what the potential implications are for harvest policy (Valero and Hare, 2009, 2010). In general, areas with a net migration loss are nearly equivalent to having a higher natural mortality rate in a closed area model. The harvest policy implications in such a case would be to harvest at a higher rate, but the total removals would would scale down. The opposite is true for an area that has a net migration increase, harvest at a lower rate, but the scale of the harvest increases due to immigration to the area. If however, the objective is to maximize the yield from all areas combined, then the optimal harvest rate calculations are much more complex involving dispersal kernels for new recruits and age-specific migration transition matrices. Under such circumstances it is not possible to make generalized statements about how optimal harvest rates would change because the answer depends on the relative migration coefficients among the regulatory areas and the initial distribution of new recruits. Valero and Hare (2010) had made progress in this area and their early conclusions suggested that harvest policies to the north of Area 2 would have fairly severe implications for Area 2 itself due to downstream migration of halibut into this area. It is intuitive to think that imposing a maximum size limit would afford protection to sexually mature fish that grow beyond the size limit and that this would lead to an increase in spawning biomass (or reduce the level of depletion). This does occur, but only if there is a very low discard mortality rate associated with releasing fish. In the case examined here, with 140 cm size limit and fishing at FMSY, the spawning biomass in each regulatory area remains nearly the same or declines in comparison to no maximum size limit. The reason for this decline is related to a discard mortality rate of 0.16 per year, the relatively low number of halibut currently growing to this size, and under MSY-based harvest policies, values of FMSY would increase in areas where halibut grow to sufficient size and a maximum size limit is used in the harvest policy. Shifts in the directed commercial selectivity schedule towards smaller halibut pose a conservation concern if the discard mortality rate is greater than 0, even if minimum size limits are in place. If individual IFQ holders are not accountable for their discard mortality of undersized fish, then fishing can continue until their quota is filled with legal-sized halibut. If there is a shift towards catching smaller fish, or the probability of capturing a legal-size fish in a given area is low, then the corresponding increase in discard mortality results in a higher overall total mortality rate that may not be accounted for if the shift in selectivity goes undetected. This is of particular concern in the current assessment of Pacific halibut, where the wastage calculation assumes the commercial fishery selectivity is the same as the top 33% of the setline survey WPUE (Gilroy and Hare, 2009). Moreover, estimated commercial selectivity is based on composition data from port samples, not fish sampled on the boats at sea when the gear is being retrieved. In other words, the wastage calculation in the directed fishery is based on a tenuous assumption about how the commercial gear selects fish less than 81.3 cm. The harvest policy implications of undetected changes in selectivity and estimates of optimal exploitation rates are somewhat insensitive if the discard mortality rates are low or even negligible. If under-sized fish are handled with extreme care such that survival rates are near 100%, then the previous discussion about uncertainty in commercial selectivity for under-size fish is moot. Moreover, the estimate of wastage would consist only of lost or abandoned gear. 140
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However, if the release mortality rates are appreciable, then estimates of optimum harvest rates must also include release mortality associated with size-limits (Goodyear, 1993; Coggins et al., 2007). In general, as the size limit increases the optimum fishing rate that would maximize yield increases exponentially. This relationship is also the same for the fishing mortality rate that would deplete the spawning biomass to some target level. The exponential increase in F
MSY

occurs when individuals have had at least one chance to spawn before they become vulnerable to fishing. Pine et al. (2008) demonstrated that as the release mortality rates increase, the potential of a minimum size limit to hedge against overfishing decreases as the release mortality rates increase. If the observed changes in size-at-age are a result of cumulative size-selective fishing, then the largest changes in size-at-age would be expected in areas with higher fishing mortality rates. In closed populations, the variance in size-at-age for older fish is expected to decrease with increasing fishing mortality rates. Areas 2B and 2C are thought to have fairly high fishing mortality rates based on the results of the stock assessments and biomass apportionment (Hare, 2012). Based on the size-at-age data from the setline survey, the largest variance in size-at-age is found in Areas 2B and 2C, suggesting that these areas either have a low exploitation rates or are heavily influenced by migration from adjacent areas that have lower exploitation rates. In the very near future, the Pacific halibut assessment model is likely to evolve to a more implicit spatial representation where estimated selectivities by regulatory area may differ. Given that steepness is unknown, and selectivity likely differs by regulatory area, it is not recommended to change the current harvest policy until, at a minimum, these two issues have been addressed. Preferably, the full suite of biological factors, including dispersal of recruits and migration, and factors that affect selectivity would be included in the harvest policy analysis.

Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank the following persons for discussions about harvest policy for Pacific halibut: Steven Hare, Juan Valero, Robyn Forrest and Jim Ianelli. Also, comments from several IPHC staff including Ray Webster, Claude Dykstra, Heather Gilroy, Stephen Keith and Gregg Williams during earlier presentations of this work are greatly appreciated and have led to many refinements in this work. Special thanks to Aaron Ranta and Jay Walker for helping with database queries and technical support.

References
Beddington, J. R. and Kirkwood, G. P. 2005. The estimation of potential yield and stock status using life-history parameters. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 360(1453):163–170. Clark, W. and Hare, S. 2006. Assessment and management of Pacific halibut: data, methods, and policy. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Sci. Rep. No. 83 Clark, W. and Parma, A. 1995. Re-evaluation of the 32-inch Commercial Size Limit. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Tech. Rep. No. 33. Coggins, L., Catalano, M., Allen, M., Pine, W., and Walters, C. 2007. Effects of cryptic mortality and the hidden costs of using length limits in fishery management. Fish and Fisheries 8(3):196– 210. 141
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Gilroy, H. and Hare, S. 2009. Wastage of halibut in the commercial halibut fishery. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Reseach Activities 2008:59–62. Goodyear, C. 1993. Spawning stock biomass per recruit in fisheries management: foundation and current use. Canadian Special Publication of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, pages 67–82. Gordon, H. 1954. The economic theory of a common-property resource: the fishery. The Journal of Political Economy, 62(2):124–142. Hare, S. 2012. Assessment of the pacific halibut stock at the end of 2011. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities, 2011:91–194. Hilborn, R. and Walters, C. J. 1992. Quantitative fisheries stock assessment: choice, dynamics and uncertainty, volume 2. Springer. Loher, T. and Seitz, A. 2006. Seasonal migration and environmental conditions of pacific halibut hippoglossus stenolepis, elucidated from pop-up archival transmitting (pat) tags. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Series 317:259. Martell, S. J. D., Pine, W. E., and Walters, C. J. 2008. Parameterizing age-structured models from a fisheries management perspective. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 65:1586–1600.

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Table 1. Natural mortality rate and size-specific selectivity coefficients (scaled to the maximum estimated coefficient) used in the equilibrium model. Parameter Unfished spawning biomass Steepness Natural mortality Symbol h M k Age-at-50% maturity Std Age-at-50% maturity Length weight scale a Length weight power b Selectivity coefficients Value 100 0.75 Sex-specific Female Male

0.15 145 0.10 10.91 1.406 6.821e-6 3.24 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 Female 0.000 0.153 0.310 0.441 0.535 0.610 0.695 0.785

0.1439 110 0.12

Male 0.000 0.132 0.243 0.367 0.535 0.694 0.848 1.000

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Table 2. Parameter settings for alternative model scenarios. See text for description of scenarios; h is the steepness of the stock-recruitment relationship, M is the natural mortality rate for females, SL corresponds to size limit, DM is discard mortality rate, size shift in selectivity (cm), and other mortality is the range of instantaneous mortality rates from non-directed fisheries. Scenario S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 Min SL 81.3 81.3 0 81.3 81.3 81.3 81.3 81.3 81.3 Max SL ∞ 140 ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ DM 0.16 0.16 0.16 0.16 0.16 0.16 0.16 0.16 0.16 Selectivity shift 0 0 0 -10 cm 0 0 0 0 0 Other Mortality 0 0 0 0 0.02– 0.153 0 0 0 0

h 0.75 0.75 0.75 0.75 0.75 0.75 0.75 0.85 0.65

M 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.23–0.12 0.12–0.23 0.15 0.15

Table 3. Estimates of optimal exploitation rates for each regulatory area and scenario combination. Scenario descriptions are found on page 7. Scenario S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 2A 0.248 0.248 0.221 0.201 0.168 0.180 0.213 0.260 0.155 2B 0.197 0.221 0.180 0.163 0.137 0.133 0.176 0.209 0.129 2C 0.180 0.221 0.163 0.151 0.133 0.120 0.168 0.197 0.120 3A 0.297 0.300 0.256 0.229 0.172 0.193 0.252 0.289 0.180 3B 0.318 0.321 0.275 0.245 0.185 0.205 0.275 0.311 0.193 4A 0.260 0.271 0.229 0.209 0.168 0.163 0.233 0.264 0.163 4B 0.180 0.225 0.168 0.155 0.137 0.124 0.172 0.197 0.124 4C 0.176 0.237 0.163 0.151 0.133 0.111 0.172 0.189 0.120 4D 0.300 0.304 0.260 0.233 0.176 0.193 0.256 0.293 0.180

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Table 4. Relative change in yield by regulatory area in comparison to S1 (status quo) for each of the alternative scenarios while fishing at rates defined in Table 3 (MSY based fishing mortality). Scenario S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 2A 0.00 0.00 0.65 -0.04 -1.41 -0.72 0.32 1.10 -1.13 2B 0.00 -0.17 0.30 -0.03 -0.84 -0.83 0.38 0.72 -0.76 2C 0.00 -0.27 0.11 -0.02 -0.69 -1.00 0.48 0.66 -0.69 3A 0.00 -0.01 0.85 -0.14 -1.41 -0.86 0.24 0.57 -0.87 3B 0.00 0.00 0.78 -0.15 -1.44 -0.89 0.24 0.55 -0.88 4A 0.00 -0.04 0.28 -0.09 -1.12 -0.98 0.40 0.63 -0.82 4B 0.00 -0.33 -0.01 -0.04 -0.71 -1.00 0.45 0.69 -0.78 4C 0.00 -0.41 0.04 -0.04 -0.61 -1.00 0.44 0.49 -0.60 4D 0.00 -0.01 0.45 -0.14 -1.47 -0.91 0.26 0.60 -0.92

Table 5. Relative spawning biomass while fishing at for each scenario and regulatory area. Scenario S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 2A 23.8 23.9 22.6 24.8 26.0 24.1 25.7 20.5 29.2 2B 25.5 24.4 24.5 26.1 27.7 25.9 27.7 22.4 29.5 2C 25.8 24.2 25.4 26.7 26.8 25.7 28.0 22.4 29.7 3A 26.0 25.7 23.0 27.5 29.4 26.0 28.7 24.3 30.4 3B 26.8 26.6 23.5 28.3 30.1 26.6 29.3 25.1 31.3 4A 26.9 26.2 25.0 27.7 29.0 27.2 29.0 24.7 30.8 4B 27.6 25.5 27.0 27.8 28.4 26.7 28.7 24.1 30.7 4C 28.3 25.4 27.6 28.8 29.2 28.2 30.0 25.6 31.8 4D 27.1 26.9 24.4 28.5 30.4 27.3 29.7 25.6 31.9

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Table 6. Estimated growth parameters for each regulatory area based on fitting a 4 parameter growth model to the 2011 size-at-age data from the setline survey. Reg. Area 2A 2B 2C 3A 3B 4A 4B 4C 4D L∞ Female 126.1 165.3 192.2 147.6 135.6 153.6 167.3 199.5 153.4 k Male Female 99.3 0.105 107.6 0.076 104.3 0.063 97.8 0.057 97.0 0.073 107.0 0.073 126.8 0.109 125.7 0.079 114.6 0.064 Male 0.095 0.069 0.110 0.073 0.083 0.086 0.080 0.068 0.065 Female −2.30 −4.62 −6.08 −5.81 −4.33 −5.16 −4.75 −5.86 −6.23 to Male −4.53 −7.45 −3.65 −4.25 −4.90 −3.94 −3.60 −11.21 −4.61 p Female 0.983 1.499 1.736 1.167 1.252 1.601 2.830 2.717 1.530 Male 0.818 0.986 1.296 0.733 0.995 1.202 1.203 2.185 0.953

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Female

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Figure1. Estimated growth curves by regulatory area and sex based on fitted models to size-at-age data collected in the 2011 setline survey.

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Figure 2. Relative equilibrium yield versus fishing mortality in the directed fishery assuming steepness h=0.75, a minimum size limit of 81.3 cm, and no other sources of additional mortality. Vertical arrows pointing to the axis indicate the estimated F for each regulatory area.

1

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3

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Figure 3. Relative equilibrium yield versus fishing mortality for all 9 scenarios described in Table 2, where the different line colors denotes Regulatory area.

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Figure 4. Percent wastage in the directed fishery versus long-term equilibrium fishing mortality rate for each regulatory area. Scenario 1 consists of a minimum size limit of 81.3 cm, scenario 2 includes an additional maximum size limit of 140 cm, and scenario 4 consists of a 81.3 cm minimum size limit and commercial selectivity shifting 10 cm towards smaller fish.

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Figure 5. Expected change in mean weight-at-age for female halibut by regulatory area for ages 6, 12, 14, and 20 years.

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Figure 6. Observed distribution of weight at ages 6,12 and 14 years for sampled female Pacific halibut in the setline survey between 1998 to 2011. Interpolation based on loess smoothing.

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Figure 7. Observed and predicted length-at-age by regulatory area and sex for the 2011 setline survey data.

Coastwide comparison of alternative setline survey baits
Raymond A. Webster, Steven M. Kaimmer, Claude L. Dykstra and Bruce M. Leaman

Abstract
A coastwide comparison of the current setline survey bait, chum salmon, with two potential replacements, pollock and pink salmon, showed differences in O32 halibut WPUE, U32 catch rates, rates of bait return, bycatch rates, and rates of baits missing on setting. There was also evidence for differences among the length and age distributions of halibut captured using the three baits. These differences often varied greatly among regulatory areas. Any transition to a new survey bait must allow for the collection of sufficient information to account for these differences and their effects on the IPHC stock assessment.

Introduction
Since the stock assessment survey was standardised in its current layout in 1998, the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) has been using chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) exclusively as bait for its annual setline survey. The IPHC’s minimum quality requirement is #2 semi-bright, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) grade A through E, H&G (headed and gutted), IQF (individually quick frozen) chum with meat-colored flesh. With the price of chum increasing and availability decreasing, we wish to consider alternative baits. Before replacing the current bait, it is important that we compare it with possible alternatives to ensure that the survey index will not be affected by the change, or to estimate a correction factor to apply if there is an effect on the index. In 2011, a small-scale pilot study was undertaken in two setline survey regions (Webster et al. 2012) comparing two alternative designs. The results of the study led us to select a randomised block design that deployed all three baits on a single set. In 2012, the study was conducted coastwide in conjunction with the annual IPHC setline survey.

Methods
Experimental design This study compared three baits using a modification of an experimental design selected in the 2011 pilot study (Webster et al. 2012). The baits were chum salmon, pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), and walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma). The chum salmon were of or exceeded the minimum quality requirement as detailed above. The majority of pollock was incidentally captured during the 2012 Pacific cod A-season (from the F/V Aleutian Lady, a freezer longliner), and was J-cut, frozen at sea, and supplied in 40 lb fibre bags. Due to a distribution error at the storage facility in Dutch Harbor, a second pollock product type was used in some areas: whole, round, frozen pollock (200-800 gm/fish, frozen at sea, provided in 60 lb fiber bags, and sourced from the F/V Victory – a cod longliner), were supplied to two boats and used in all of 4B (Adak and Attu regions), 55 stations out of 66 for Unalaska (F/V Van Isle trips 5-7), and 18 stations out of 46 for Portlock (F/V Van Isle trip 8). Vessels fishing with the whole, round pollock were instructed to 154
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remove and discard the heads when baiting up. The pink salmon used on all vessels were #1 IQF (3 lbs up) sourced from multiple providers in multiple locations. All baits were purchased frozen and were then partially to fully thawed before cutting and baiting. All gear was hand baited. The crew was responsible for cutting the bait into pieces weighing between 0.25 and 0.33 pounds each. Pollock were generally cut in halves or thirds to achieve the bait weight standard on each hook. Care was taken to keep the bait size consistent across all sets. IPHC staff monitored bait size during the charter to ensure compliance with charter standards. We used a randomised block design, with all three baits in a random order on a single set. In this design, sets of eight skates were used as experimental blocks, with each set having baited skates of each bait type alternating, and separated by full length unbaited skates. There was concern that the bait plume of each baited skate could extend across adjacent skates, potentially affecting their catch. However, we found no evidence for this in the 2011 pilot study when using the unbaited intermediate skates, hence we proceeded with this design in the full coastwide study. In order to simultaneously run the standardised setline survey and conduct this study, four consecutive chum salmon skates were used on each set, along with one each of pollock and pink salmon. Typically, the setline survey has used from five to eight skates at each station, but to accommodate the experimental skates on the same set, it was decided that a maximum of four skates of chum salmon was feasible. A previous analysis (Webster and Hare 2011) showed that the outermost (end) skates of a set have higher WPUE of halibut on average than the interior skates, an observation known as the ‘end skate effect’. In order to ensure a fair comparison of chum salmon with the two baits used on single 100-hook skates, survey staff recorded which halibut were caught on the first and last 50 hooks of the chum skates section. Data from only these halibut were used in the treatment comparisons. For other comparisons, such as missing baits, bycatch, and returned baits, data from the first and final chum skates were used averaged. As in the pilot study and the stock assessment survey, a standard skate of gear was defined as an 1800-foot skate with one hundred #3 (16/0) circle hooks spaced 18 feet apart. Statistical analysis We fitted linear models to test for differences among baits, and whether those differences varied among regulatory areas or not (i.e., a bait by area interaction effect). Variables examined were O32 halibut WPUE, proportions of hooks catching U32 halibut, proportion of hooks with returned baits, and proportion of baits falling off hooks during setting (missing baits). All analyses included survey set as a blocking variable. WPUE was computed by dividing the halibut catch by the number of effective skates. The number of effective skates was computed as the number of skates set, adjusted for missing hooks (hook counts less than 100). Missing baits have not previously been deducted from hook totals when computing setline survey WPUE, and we follow that protocol here. However, in the pilot study, pollock had a much higher proportion of missing baits than chum salmon (around 0.03 compared with 0.005 or less for chum). Similar differences would have the potential to affect comparisons among bait types in this study, and therefore an analysis of missing baits upon setting was also performed. The O32 WPUE data were analysed by fitting general linear models and testing for significant effects through an analysis of variance (ANOVA). WPUE was first transformed using a Box-Cox transformation with λ = 0.4 to more closely satisfy the normality and constant variance assumptions 155
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of the model. Counts on U32 fish (those with fork lengths less than 32 inches), returned baits, and missing baits were analysed using a generalized linear model (GLIM) with binomial family and logit link function (logistic regression), using the same independent variables as for the O32 WPUE analyses. That is, counts of U32 fish per skate were assumed to have a binomial distribution, with population size being the number of effective hooks on each skate. Effects were tested using F tests that allow for over- or under-dispersion often present in such binomial count data. We also tested for two effects of interactions among adjacent baits, as we did in the 2011 pilot study. Each baited skate could potentially affect the catch of one or both of its neighbours, and so the two effects each accounted for one direction: the first was an effect on the baited skates set immediately after, and the second an effect on the baited skate set before. As discussed in Mead (1988), two tests must be done: the first is a test of the interaction effect after accounting for the bait effect, and the second is a test of the bait effect after accounting for the interaction effect. The test of interaction effects presented here is of the combined effect of the two possible directions the effect could have. For the major variables of interest, we also performed post-hoc pairwise comparison t-tests between chum salmon and each of the alternative baits for each regulatory area. In doing these tests, one approach is to fix the global significance level, α, so that the probability of getting a significant result on at least one test equals α (=0.05, for example). This would be the approach of methods such as Tukey’s pairwise comparisons, and ensures a low probability of incorrectly concluding there is any statistically significant difference when there is none (Type 1 error). The drawback of this is that it also increases the probability of concluding that there is no difference when there is one (Type II error). When considering the switch to a new bait, we felt that it was important to avoid concluding the change would have no effect when it in fact it would, and for this reason we did not adjust the p-values of the pairwise comparisons in the manner of methods such as Tukey’s tests. The proportion of hooks returned with baits is used to adjust survey WPUE for hook competition (Clark 2008, Etienne et al. 2010). We computed adjusted WPUE for the three baits to assess the effect of this adjustment on bait differences. Preliminary comparisons of the length and age distributions of halibut captured on the alternative baits with those caught on chum baits were also undertaken using simulated versions of Fisher’s Exact Test for each regulatory area. This test assumes independence of all sampled halibut, and therefore does not account for the nested nature of the sampling design. Nevertheless, the results can still be used to highlight potentially important differences among baits.

Results
Halibut catch There was very strong evidence that O32 WPUE differed among the three baits, and that these differences varied among regulatory areas (Table 1). Figure 1 shows that in general, WPUE of pollock was higher than that of other baits in Gulf of Alaska areas (Areas 2A to 3B), but lower in parts of Area 4. WPUE of pink salmon was generally closer to that of chum salmon than pollock, although it was slightly, but significantly lower in Areas 3A and 3B. Comparison of the proportions of hooks that caught U32 halibut among baits differs from the O32 WPUE comparison, although again there is very strong evidence for bait differences that vary by area (Table 1). In almost all Gulf of Alaska areas and Area 4A, pink salmon caught significantly 156
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fewer halibut than chum salmon (Fig. 2). Catch of U32 halibut using pollock baits was closer to chum salmon in most areas, but was lower in Areas 2B, 2C and most dramatically, in Area 4B. For neither O32 WPUE nor U32 catch rates was there clear evidence for interactive effects on catch of using different baits together on the same set (Table 1). For Area 4B, the comparison of WPUE between pollock and other baits was confounded with any effect of using a non-standard pollock bait in that area, i.e., we do not know if the low WPUE using pollock was something we would have observed had we used the standard (j-cut) pollock bait type. Only some sets in Areas 3A (18/369 sets) and 4A (51/107 sets) used the non-standard pollock bait, so at least in these areas, we can compare sets that used each type of pollock bait. Differences among the three baits types are similar for sets that used each type of pollock bait (Table 2), and although these comparisons are also confounded with geographical differences, they imply that the low catch using pollock in Area 4B is not due to the product type of pollock used. Returned baits and bycatch Very large differences were observed among the mean proportion of hooks returning with baits still on them (Table 1 and Fig. 3). Most striking is the large fraction of pollock baits returned, with return rates of 0.4-0.7% in many areas, up to eight times the rate of chum salmon returns. Pink salmon return rates were lower on average than those of chum salmon. A large factor in the high rates of bait return for pollock was much lower catch rates of bycatch species (Fig. 4). Pollock baits have consistently the lowest bycatch rates across all areas, and this appears to be largely due to lower catch rates of the two main bycatch species, spiny dogfish (Areas 2A to 3A) and Pacific cod (Areas 3A to 4D). Bycatch rates using pink salmon are lower than chum salmon in Areas 2B, 2C, and 3A and similar elsewhere. We also compared the proportion of hooks with returned baits between sets using standard and non-standard pollock bait. As with WPUE, the patterns were similar for both groups of sets (Table 2). The proportion of hooks with returned baits was much lower on the sets in Area 3A using whole pollock, but as there were only 18 sets here, it is hard to draw clear conclusions from these data. Adjusted WPUE The proportion of baits returned was used to compute O32 WPUE adjusted for hook competition. In previous work (Clark 2008), the area-specific adjustments were scaled so that there was no adjustment at the coastwide level. In this analysis, we did not scale the area-specific adjustments for each bait, thus enabling adjusted WPUE to be compared among baits. Therefore, the adjusted values in Figure 5 are calculated in almost the same way as that proposed by Etienne et al. (2010), except that we are applying adjustments to WPUE, not numbers per unit effort (NPUE) (see also Webster et al. 2011, pages 235-237). After adjusting for hook competition, O32 halibut WPUE becomes lower for pollock than chum salmon in all areas except Area 2A, whereas unadjusted values showed higher WPUE when using pollock in the Gulf of Alaska (Fig. 1). WPUE of pink and chum salmon are similar in the Gulf of Alaska, but pink has higher adjusted WPUE than chum salmon in Areas 4B and 4C. Missing baits The proportion of baits that were observed falling off hooks during setting, known as missing baits, was low for all bait types (Figure 6), generally less than 0.01, and no more than 0.02. Missing 157
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baits are not used in the calculation of effective skates when computing WPUE, and we have not done so here (although we did in the pilot study’s analysis because proportions were much higher for the alternative baits). While there were clear differences in the proportions among baits (Table 1 and Figure 6), with pollock and pink salmon tending to have higher proportions than chum salmon, all proportions are very low, and adjusting the numbers of hooks fished for missing baits in the analyses would make little difference to the comparisons of bait types discussed above. Interestingly, this was the only variable which had evidence for interactive effects from neighbouring baits (Table 1), that is, the proportion of missing baits for a skate of gear depended on the type of bait used on adjacent baited skates. More detailed examination of this effect showed that it was uni-directional: on an average set, a bait type’s rate of missing baits was affected by the bait type set prior to it, not the one that followed. The mean rates (not presented) indicate that missing bait rates are higher when a bait treatment did not follow a baited skate, i.e., for the first skate (or skates, for chum) of each set. We suspect this is related to the drag or lack of it on the different treatments (including the blank skates), which affects sink rate of the gear already deployed and thereby the speed of the hooks leaving the setting chute. The faster the hooks leave the setting chute, the more likely it is for bait to fall off the hooks. Length and age distributions Figures 7 and 8 compare the length distributions of halibut captured using pollock and pink salmon respectively with that of chum salmon, while Figures 9 and 10 make the same comparisons for the age distribution of halibut. There is evidence for differences between the length and age distributions of each alternative bait and chum salmon for at least some regulatory areas. For most Gulf of Alaska areas (Areas 2B to 3B) and Area 4C, pollock catches fewer small fish than chum salmon (Fig. 7). There is no evidence of differences between the length distributions of pollock and chum salmon for Areas 4A, 4B and 4D, and only weak evidence for Area 2A. The length distributions of halibut caught using pink and chum salmon are generally very similar, with only Area 3B having statistically significant distributions (Fig. 8). It appears that chum salmon catches more very small fish in this area, while pink salmon catches more fish above 85 cm in length. There is less evidence for differences in age distributions. Comparing pollock and chum salmon (Fig. 9), while there appears to be a tendency for younger fish to be caught using chum salmon in Area 2, the statistical tests showed only weak evidence for a difference in Areas 2A and 2C. There was evidence for a difference in age distributions for Area 4A (younger fish when using chum salmon) and Area 4C (due to the large proportion of age 9-10 fish when using pollock). Comparing pink and chum salmon (Fig. 10), as with length, the age distributions are generally close. There is some evidence of differences for Areas 2C (younger fish when using chum salmon) and 4B (chum has a stronger mode at 9-10 years), and weak evidence for Area 4C. Adjustment factors The ratio of O32 halibut WPUE using chum salmon and each alternative bait provides an estimate of a scaling factor that can be applied to convert WPUE of the alternative bait to WPUE of the standard chum salmon bait. These ratios along with standard errors estimated from bootstrapping are presented in Table 3.

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Discussion
This study has found clear differences between the catch of chum salmon and each of the proposed alternative survey baits, walleye pollock and pink salmon. Further, these differences vary greatly among regulatory areas. Any change to an alternative setline survey bait will require careful accounting for these differences. This study does provide scaling factors with which to adjust O32 WPUE for either alternative bait so that it is comparable to WPUE of chum salmon. However, this study does not provide any information on whether there are temporal differences in the relative performance of the three baits. Just as we observe great spatial variability in WPUE, it seems likely that catch rates may also vary with time, depending on factors such as availability of different food sources that could make each bait more or less appealing in a given year relative to other baits. A change to another survey bait would also require the stock assessment model to estimate different values for catchability and selectivity for length (or age) for chum salmon and the selected replacement bait. Obtaining sufficient information for estimating differences in these parameters will likely require using chum salmon and the replacement bait together on the setline survey for one or more additional years.

References
Etienne M. P., Obradovich S. Yamanaka L. and McAllister M. 2010. Extracting abundance indices from longline surveys: method to account for hook competition and unbaited hooks. Preprint arXiv:1005.0892v2 (submitted CJFAS). Clark, W.G. 2008. Effect of hook competition on survey CPUE. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Research and Assessment Activities 2007: 211-215. Mead, R. 1988. The design of experiments: statistical principles for practical application. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Webster, R.A. and Hare, S. R. 2011 Adjusting IPHC setline survey WPUE for survey timing and hook competition. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2010: 251-259. Webster, R.A., Hare, S. R., Valero, J. L., and Leaman, B. M. 2011. Notes on the IPHC setline survey design, alternatives for estimating biomass distribution, and the hook competition adjustment Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2010: 229240. Webster, R.A., Kaimmer, S., Leaman, B. M., and Dykstra, C.L. 2012. Bait comparison pilot study. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2011: 561-576.

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Table 1. Statistical tests of effects. Effect Set Bait Area*Bait Interactions O32 WPUE F1226,2430=5.80 p<0.001 F2,2430=22.8 p<0.001 F16,2430=5.77 p<0.001 F6,2430=1.88 p=0.081 U32 count F1226,2430=11.8 p<0.001 F2,2430=34.4 p<0.001 F16,2430=5.23 p<0.001 F6,2430=1.58 p=0.15 Returned baits F1226,2430=5.10 p<0.001 F2,2430=1277 p<0.001 F16,2430=17.5 p<0.001 F6,2430=1.57 p=0.15 Missing baits F1226,2430=2.58 p<0.001 F2,2430=321 p<0.001 F16,2430=5.35 p<0.001 F6,2430=3.91 p=0.001

Table 2. Comparison of mean O32 WPUE (lbs/skate) and proportion of hooks returned with baits on sets that used standard pollock baits and those that used the non-standard, whole pollock baits. Variable WPUE Returned baits Reg Area 3A 4A 3A 4A Standard pollock SA PO PS 154 192 140 71 68 65 0.051 0.241 0.035 0.069 0.516 0.078 SA 189 81 0.046 0.046 Whole pollock PO PS 207 125 72 66 0.089 0.033 0.435 0.025

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Table 3. Estimated adjustment factors for converting pollock and pink salmon WPUE to chum salmon WPUE, with standard errors (estimated from 1000 bootstrap resamples) in parentheses. Raw WPUE Reg Area 2A 2B 2C 3A 3B 4A 4B 4C 4D Pollock 0.83 (0.15) 0.76 (0.06) 0.77 (0.07) 0.81 (0.04) 0.89 (0.05) 1.08 (0.13) 2.02 (0.38) 1.74 (0.98) 0.92 (0.29) Pink salmon 1.05 (0.19) 1.19 (0.11) 0.91 (0.07) 1.12 (0.05) 1.14 (0.06) 1.15 (0.14) 0.74 (0.14) 1.09 (0.22) 1.28 (0.32) WPUE with hook adjustment Pollock 0.98 (0.18) 1.18 (0.10) 1.45 (0.16) 1.34 (0.07) 1.57 (0.10) 2.32 (0.31) 2.72 (0.55) 2.87 (1.39) 1.58 (0.52) Pink salmon 0.92 (0.19) 0.88 (0.09) 0.83 (0.10) 1.01 (0.06) 0.84 (0.06) 1.12 (0.17) 0.61 (0.12) 0.69 (0.16) 1.09 (0.26)

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2A
50 40 30 20 10 0 SA PO PS 50 0

2B NS
150 100

2C
250

NS

*** •

**

200 150 100 50

NS

SA

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0

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120

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80

*** **

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PS

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80 60 40 20 0 SA PO PS

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4D NS NS NS
30 20 10

***

20 10 0 SA PO PS

0

SA

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Bait

Figure 1. Average O32 WPUE by bait type and regulatory area. Symbols above alternative baits indicate the p-value range for pairwise comparisons with chum salmon (see text): *** p≤0.001; ** 0.001<p≤0.01; * 0.01<p≤0.05; • 0.05<p≤0.1; NS p>0.1.

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2A
0.010 0.008 0.006 0.004 0.002

2B
0.04 0.03 0.05

2C
0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01

NS *

**

***

**

0.02 0.01

Proportion of hooks

0.000

SA

PO

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0.00

SA

PO

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0.00

SA

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0.10 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0.00 SA PO PS

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0.14 0.12 0.10 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0.00

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0.07 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.00

NS

NS ***

NS ***

SA

PO

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SA

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0.020 0.015 0.010 0.005 0.000 SA PO PS

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0.020 0.015

4D NS
0.020 0.015 0.010 0.005

NS

NS

***

0.010 0.005 0.000 SA PO PS

0.000

SA

PO

PS

Bait
Figure 2. Average proportion of hooks with U32 halibit, by bait type and regulatory area. Symbols above alternative baits indicate the p-value range for pairwise comparisons with chum salmon (see text): *** p≤0.001; ** 0.001<p≤0.01; * 0.01<p≤0.05; • 0.05<p≤0.1; NS p>0.1.

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2A
0.25 0.20 0.15 0.10 0.05

2B
0.5 0.4 0.3

2C
0.4 0.3 0.2

***

***

***

***

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***
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0.00

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0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.0 SA

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***

**
PS

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***
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NS
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0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.0

4C
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4D
0.6 0.4 0.2

***

***

***

***
SA PO PS

0.2 0.0 SA PO

***
PS 0.0 SA PO

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PS

Bait

Figure 3. Average proportion of hooks with returned baits, by bait type and regulatory area. Symbols above alternative baits indicate the p-value range for pairwise comparisons with chum salmon (see text): *** p≤0.001; ** 0.001<p≤0.01; * 0.01<p≤0.05; • 0.05<p≤0.1; NS p>0.1.

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2A
0.15 0.15 0.10 0.05 0.00 SA PO PS 0.10 0.05 0.00 SA PO PS

2B

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Other Whiteblotched Skate Great Sculpin Yellow Irish Lord Longnose Skate Alaska Skate
PO PS

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Spiny Dogfish Sablefish (Blackcod) Pacific Cod
PO PS

0.14 0.12 0.10 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0.00

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Figure 4. Average proportion of hooks with bycatch, by species, bait type and regulatory area.

2A
100 80 60 40 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0

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700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0

2C

Adjusted WPUE (lbs/skate)

20 0 SA PO PS

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600 500 400 300 200 100 0 SA PO PS 300 200 100 0 SA 400

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80 60 40 20 SA PO PS 0 SA

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Figure 5. O32 WPUE adjusted for hook competition, by bait type and regulatory area.

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2A
0.012 0.010 0.008 0.006 0.004 0.002 0.000 0.020 0.015 0.010 0.005 SA PO PS 0.000 SA

2B
0.006 0.005 0.004 0.003 0.002 0.001 PO PS 0.000 SA

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Proportion of hooks

PO

PS

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0.020 0.015 0.010 0.005 0.000 SA PO PS 0.012 0.010 0.008 0.006 0.004 0.002 0.000 SA

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0.008 0.006 0.004 0.002 PO PS 0.000 SA

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PO

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0.006 0.005 0.004 0.003 0.002 0.001 0.000 SA PO PS 0.004 0.003 0.002 0.001 0.000 SA

4C
0.004 0.003 0.002 0.001 PO PS 0.000 SA

4D

PO

PS

Bait

Figure 6. Average proportion of hooks with baits missing on setting, by bait type and regulatory area.

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2A
0.15 0.15

2B p = 0.088 p < 0.001
0.00 0.04 0.08 0.12

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Proportion of sampled halibut

<70

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95

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Fork length (cm)

Figure 7. Length distribution of halibut captured using Pollock (green bars) compared with chum salmon (red bars). Fish are grouped by 5 cm length bins from 70 to 130 cm, with <70 cm bin on the left, and a ≥130 cm bin on the right of each figure.

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2A
0.15 0.15

2B p > 0.1 p > 0.1
0.00 0.04 0.08 0.12

2C p > 0.1

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Proportion of sampled halibut

0.00

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Figure 8. Length distribution of halibut captured using pink salmon (pink bars) compared with chum salmon (red bars). Fish are grouped by 5 cm length bins from 70 to 130 cm, with <70 cm bin on the left, and a ≥130 cm bin on the right of each figure.

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0.00 0.10 0.20 0.30

0.30

p = 0.096

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Age
Figure 9. Age distribution of halibut captured using Pollock (green bars) compared with chum salmon (red bars). Fish are grouped by 2 year age bins from age 7 to 24, with a <7 years bin on the left, and a ≥25 years bin on the right of each figure. The number below each 2-year bin is the lesser year of that bin (e.g., “9” = 9 & 10).

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0.00 0.10 0.20 0.30

0.30

p > 0.1

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p > 0.1
0.10

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0.30

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2B

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p = 0.038

Proportion of sampled halibut

0.00

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Age
Figure 10. Age distribution of halibut captured using pink salmon (pink bars) compared with chum salmon (red bars). Fish are grouped by 2 year age bins from age 7 to 24, with a <7 years bin on the left, and a ≥25 years bin on the right of each figure. The number below each 2-year bin is the lesser year of that bin (e.g., “9” = 9 & 10).

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Halibut size at age research1
Bruce M. Leamana, Steven Martella, Timothy Lohera, Kirstin K. Holsmanb, Bruce S. Millerc, Kerim Y. Aydind, and Gordon H. Krusee International Pacific Halibut Commission, bAlaska Fisheries Science Center/Joint Institute for Study of Atmosphere and Ocean (UW), cUniversity of Washington, dAlaska Fisheries Science Center, eUniversity of Alaska
a

Introduction
The Commission staff is initiating projects to examine the processes and impacts of changes in halibut size at age (SAA) over the history of the halibut fishery. Causes of variation in size at age are legion and can originate from both natural and anthropogenic causes. It is important to differentiate SAA from individual growth. Most fishery-based data concern SAA rather than growth because the sizes of the same individuals are not sampled over time. Rather, size at age data for individuals from the same and different cohorts are obtained from sampling. As such, we can only infer lifetime growth for individuals from the same cohort and generally have no knowledge of the growth trajectory of these individuals prior to sampling. A detailed review of mechanisms and potential avenues of investigation for understanding changing SAA and changes in individual growth is provided in Loher (2013). Both that paper and the ongoing concerns about the impacts of changing SAA expressed in IPHC stock assessments and research papers (Clark and Hare 2008, Hare 2011, 2012, Stewart et al. 2013, Valero 2012) have prompted detailed investigation of this issue. As an internal project, the staff is developing new estimates of age and SAA composition of halibut for the period 1996-2002, a period over which there were changes in IPHC age determination methodology. Age estimates for the 1996-2002 period were originally estimated using a surface ageing methodology, now known to produce biased estimates of age for older fish. The IPHC stock assessment currently uses estimates of age composition for this period that are derived from the relationship between surface and section (break and burn, B/B) age estimates (Clark 2004, Clark and Hare 2006). After 2002, all ages were derived from either B/B or break and bake (B/ Bk) methodologies, which are considered reliable. The data from this internal project will be used initially within the current IPHC stock assessment to enable assessment of commercial fishery and survey age data derived using a common methodology for the period after 1996. A second project aims to employ an integrated approach to examining SAA changes and involves investigators from several agencies and disciplines. This project, summarized below, has been submitted as a proposal to the North Pacific Research Board, which has identified halibut SAA as a priority area of investigation.

Background
Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) are widespread throughout the north Pacific Ocean and have been actively managed by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) in
1

Portions of this report are extracted from proposal #650: Fishery, Climate, and Ecological Effects on Pacific Halibut Size-at-age (SAA), submitted to the North Pacific Research Board, December 2012.

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the Northeast Pacific since 1923. Indigenous fisheries for halibut date back millennia and the commercial fishery off the west coast of North America began in 1888 (IPHC 1998). Today, the fishery remains one of the most important commercial fisheries in the region. Historical IPHC sampling programs have created a record of both statistical and biological data, including a long time series of observations of halibut SAA. In the past two decades, the SAA of halibut has undergone an extensive reduction (Figure 1; Hare 2011). For some ages, realized SAA in halibut is roughly half that of two decades ago. The ageing methodology used by the IPHC transitioned in 2002 from surface readings to B/B and eventually to B/Bk reading of otoliths. While the reduction in SAA is exaggerated by the evolution of ageing methodology, hence assigned ages, the reduced SAA is also evident in younger age groups (≤ 12 y) for which ageing methodology biases are minimal. On its own, this pattern of change is of considerable biological interest but is of equal significance to the management of halibut fisheries, because it affects available estimates of halibut biomass and resultant fishery yield. Moreover, failure to understand and account for this pressing issue could lead to conservation concerns. The observed changes in SAA over recent years are remarkable but they are of even greater interest when considered over the longer period of observation available in IPHC records. The SAA currently observed is of approximately the same magnitude as that observed in the 1920s. Records of SAA from IPHC research cruises (pre-1960) and surveys (post-1960) show a SAA pattern of small values in the 1920s, rising relatively steadily to historical high values in the 1990s, and the decline to present values. So, while there is considerable interest in the causes of the recent decades-long decline in halibut SAA, it is also pertinent to consider the causes of increased SAA in the earlier period. In recent years, lower recruitment of cohorts spawned in the early and late 1990s combined with decreasing SAA have led to steady declines in the exploitable biomass of halibut stocks, with consequent effects on the yield from the fishery. The cause or causes of the changes in halibut SAA are poorly understood. The decrease observed over the past two decades has been posited to result from both intrinsic (e.g., density dependence) and extrinsic (e.g., competition, environmental forcing, bioenergetic changes, anthropogenic impacts) factors; ideally, mechanism(s) advanced to account for change should address both the decrease seen in recent years and the long period of increasing SAA observed historically.

Processes affecting SAA
Fish growth is the integrated outcome of environmental conditions, trophic conditions, ecological interactions, and genetics that influence somatic production and size-selective mortality over the lifespan of an individual fish. Generally, most fish meet metabolic demands before allocating assimilated energy towards somatic or gonadal tissue growth, and exhibit metabolic rates that increase rapidly with water temperature. Thus, slight variability in environmental conditions, food availability, or fish behavior can have compound effects on subsequent SAA. Although primarily driven by growth, variation in SAA can also reflect annual variation in size-selective mortality as increased predation pressure may preferentially remove the smallest individuals from a population or cohort (resulting in an apparent increase of mean size), or intensified harvest pressure may selectively remove the largest or fastest growing fish (resulting in an apparent decrease in mean SAA). Hence, changes in growth due to variability in temperature and food availability need to be quantified in order to differentiate fishery and environmental mechanisms affecting mean SAA of Pacific halibut. 173
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Fishing can further influence apparent growth rates and SAA of exploited fish populations by a variety of direct and indirect processes. First, when harvest commences on an unfished stock, total mortality rate increases above baseline natural mortality rates resulting in a shortening of mean lifespan and loss of the oldest or largest individuals in a population. This decline in mean size of fish in the catch is a normal response to fishing, which stabilizes when fishing mortality rate is held at sustainable levels. Fisheries can be size selective as a result of differences in the area or time of fishing, size-specific gear selectively, and size-specific probability of fish retention (Pope et al. 1975). Size-selective harvest can alter the demographics of the population if certain sizes are systematically removed or size restrictions are in place. Fishing can also indirectly impact growth and SAA by altering ecological interactions. If prey resources are limited, fishing can relieve intraspecific competition and increase growth rates, age-at-maturity, and recruitment. Density-dependent growth, coupled to a similar reaction of recruitment in response to fishing (e.g., Ricker 1954), is an important compensatory response that allow fish stocks to sustain fisheries. Conversely, fishery removals can intensify predation risk from predatory species or cannibalistic older age-classes, either reducing foraging opportunities (which reduces SAA) and/or intensifying size-dependent predation risk (which increases SAA). The degree to which any of these factors influence growth is also further modified by environmental conditions that impact the distribution and abundance of prey, predator, and competitive species. There are numerous examples of both increased SAA after intensified fishing (e.g., Millner and Whiting 1996) as well as decreased SAA from over-harvest (e.g., Helser and Martell 2007, Schweigert et al. 2002). Thus, the magnitude of fishing effects on individual growth and population SAA is often ecosystem- and species-dependent and subject to non-linear processes that may attenuate or amplify growth. Genetic selection is another, potentially deleterious effect of fishing on growth, maturity, and other fish traits. In laboratory experiments, size-selective harvest of largest 90th percentile of Atlantic silversides (Menidia menidia) caused selection for fish with genotypes with slower growth over just four generations of harvest (Conover and Munch 2002). Occurrences of genetic selection in wild capture fisheries depend on factors such as harvest rate, selection differential, and the heritability of the fish traits under selection. In fish populations, the heritability for traits, such as body size and age at maturity, tend to range around 0.2-0.3, which is sufficient for selection to occur (Law 2000). Attempts to use phenotypic traits to disentangle genetic from other influences on wild fish populations have been challenging. In northern cod (Gadus morhua) off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, the age of 50% maturity shifted one year younger from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s (Olson et al. 2004, 2005). However, slower growth was also experienced; slower growth would be expected to delay maturation. Because this expectation is opposite the maturity observations, this was taken as evidence for genetic selection. Lack of recovery of these traits after a decade of a fishery moratorium was interpreted as further evidence for genetic selection. The analysis made use of a “probabilistic maturation reaction norm” (PMRN) for age and size at maturity, defined by the age- or size-specific probabilities at which an individual becomes mature during a time period (Olson et al. 2005). These conclusions received some criticisms, including the observation that decreases in size or age of maturation occurred synchronously with declines in sea-surface temperature and increased sea ice cover (Kuparinen and Merilä 2007). Notwithstanding the pros and cons of PMRN methodology to consider evidence of genetic selection (Dieckmann and Heino 2007), it is difficult to apply this approach in the case of Pacific halibut because of the current difficulty in identifying first maturation in the species. The SAA data alone do not lend themselves to this approach; long-term trends in mean weight of age-8 174
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female halibut – low in the 1920s, high in the 1970s, and low in the 2000s (Clark and Hare 2002) – suggests that growth can be variable and have trends rather than suggesting that genetic selection is occurring. Previous analyses also suggest that halibut recruitment is environmentally driven (Clark et al. 1999) and growth variability may be a density-dependent response to changes in stock size (Clark and Hare 2002), although subsequent investigations also suggested the influence of inter-specific competition (Hare and Clark 2008). Bioenergetics models can be used to predict the effect of changing environmental and trophic conditions on growth and accordingly calculate the residual impacts of fishery-induced effects. Fish metabolism scales predictably with body size, temperature, and activity, thus bioenergetics models can use straightforward environmental data (i.e., temperature) and field-based diet observations to predict individual fish consumption or growth rates and, when scaled to the population level, SAA distributions. Bioenergetic models have long been used to address a variety of ecological questions (Hartman and Kitchell 2008; Ney 1993) and more recently have been applied to assess fishery impacts on growth (e.g., Meka and Margraf 2007). This study proposes a comprehensive investigation and analysis of candidate causes for SAA changes in Pacific halibut as well as an integrated approach to incorporating SAA dynamics into the assessment and management of the halibut stock. It builds on existing information (particularly the unique historical archive of halibut otoliths maintained by the IPHC), develops new understanding of ecosystem influences on growth, assesses the impact of fishery-induced changes, and creates a flexible modeling framework to integrate SAA changes into development of optimum harvest policies for Pacific halibut. The proposed study is subdivided into four components to meet our objectives: 1. Re-examination of historical halibut ageing structures (prior to 2002) to derive a 80+ year time series of SAA, as well as length and age at maturity observations, using a less biased break and burn aging method for individuals older than age 12; 2. Retrospective spatial analysis of ecological data based on IPHC and NMFS field surveys of relative abundance, diet, and biological characteristics of halibut and co-occurring species, to assess the relative importance of extrinsic and intrinsic factors by area; 3. Bioenergetic modeling of halibut growth and maturity based on physiological studies to test hypotheses concerning changes in SAA; and 4. Integrated modeling of halibut SAA, maturity, potential fishery effects, and their impacts on stock assessment, harvest policy, and associated yield. Residuals of the integrated growth model (i.e., variance in growth not explained by densitydependent or bioenergetics-based and environment-dependent effects) will be examined for possible evidence of fishery/genetic effects. This approach will provide new insights into the factors affecting growth with updated datasets that we will generate in this project. The participating agencies have a unique capability to integrate their historical data with contemporary observations and analytic techniques to develop an optimum approach to incorporating the impacts of halibut SAA changes on assessment and management. Ultimately, the project will also provide broad insights into factors that affect halibut SAA, some of which may be linked directly to harvest policy and management of the Pacific halibut resource.

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Project components
i. SAA otolith update of Pacific halibut samples prior to 2002 We will re-examine archived halibut ageing structures (prior to 2002) to derive an 80+ year time series of SAA, as well as length- and age-at-maturity observations, using a less biased break and bake (B/Bk) aging method for individuals older than age 12. IPHC historical otoliths archives contain previously-estimated surface ages with associated georeferencing and biometric data. Data are available from commercial fishery sampling, research cruises, and some surveys. Representative samples of this otolith collection will be re-aged using the B/Bk technique. ii. Retrospective spatial analysis of trophic and ecological data Pacific halibut is one of three major groundfish apex predators that have dominated the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) shelf demersal community since the late 1970s; the others being Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) and arrowtooth flounder (Atheresthes stomias). The composition of groundfish biomass in the GOA has varied tremendously on a decadal scale since the 1970s, in particular with a rise and decline of walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) in the 1980s, followed by the rise of arrowtooth flounder from the 1990s to the present. Explanations for the changing patterns include historical fishing pressure and decadal climate variability, although causality has been extremely difficult to determine in either a conceptual or quantitative modeling framework (Gaichas et al. 2011). Since the early 1980s, researchers at the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC), in partnership with project PI Dr. Bruce Miller, collected and analyzed stomach contents of major groundfish species in the GOA and eastern Bering Sea (EBS). To date, over 53,000 samples of the three major predators have been collected (Table 1). This is part of a collection of 250,000 samples including walleye pollock, Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus), skates, flatfish, and a range of other species. Some of these samples were analyzed as part of NPRB Projects #525, #622, #628, and portions of the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska Integrated Ecosystem Research Programs (BSIERP and GOAIERP). Ongoing collections and the database are under the supervision of NOAA project collaborator Dr. Kerim Aydin. To date, analyses of patterns and trends in Pacific halibut diets have not been a focus of research with these data, particularly with respect to trends in halibut growth. A preliminary examination reveals intriguing patterns with respect to the changes in halibut SAA over decades; for example, walleye pollock declined as a percentage of consumption for halibut >75 cm fork length (Fig. 1). However, from such simple analyses, it is not immediately clear how observed dietary changes may relate to changes in individual halibut growth. First, sample sizes have not been historically uniform across the region, with more focus on the western and Central GOA (west of Prince William Sound) than the east and southeast (Table 1), thus limiting comparative analysis and perhaps biasing broad, pooled observations. Second, the snapshot in Figure 1 does not pinpoint any source of growth limitation; it is possible that supply of pollock has decreased, but it is also possible that competition with arrowtooth flounder (a pollock specialist) has increased, or that competition at smaller sizes with Pacific cod (a benthic predator) limits growth in smaller halibut, therefore limiting lifetime individual growth trajectories. Finally, straight dietary percentages do not necessarily reflect changes in total ratio, food competition, or actual growth. To approach these questions, the following three food-habits associated activities are planned as part of this project. First, in 2013, the AFSC is planning to conduct its biennial groundfish trawl survey of the Gulf 176
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of Alaska, including the collection of groundfish stomachs for laboratory analysis. Collections, already planned as part of standard AFSC cruise operations, will include up to 800 additional Pacific halibut, focusing on low sample-size areas such as the east and southeast portions of the survey, and potentially including Pacific cod and arrowtooth flounder collections in these low sample areas. These additional collections will be analyzed in the laboratory as part of this project. Should survey contingency planning limit 2013 collections, analysis will instead focus on previouslycollected GOA samples of halibut, cod, and arrowtooth that have not yet been analyzed. Second, a set of multivariate statistical analyses will be performed both on the diet data and on haul-scale community composition metrics from the historical AFSC GOA groundfish survey biomass data (1990-2013) and associated data, such as surface and bottom water temperature measured during the survey. A particular interest is to determine the spatial scale over which variation in diet composition is associated with variation in groundfish community composition, especially with respect to local, sub-regional, regional, or interannual changes in prey supply (particularly walleye pollock), or the presence of apex predator competitors. Emphasis will also be placed on comparing the western and central GOA with the eastern and southeastern GOA where trends in SAA have been more stable over time. Finally, while the diet data can be used to index overall stomach content weight, inferences on whether detected shifts in diet composition also represent shifts in consumption or growth rates will be made by using the historical trends in these data in conjunction with our planned halibut bioenergetics modeling. iii. Bioenergetics Modeling We propose a 3-step bioenergetics modeling approach: 1. Use bioenergetics models to retrospectively estimate regionally- and annually-specific growth and foraging efficiencies from otolith-based estimates of SAA and field-based observations of temperature and diet; 2. Use generalized linear regressions to quantify the relationships between a variety of fishing and environmental factors (i.e., harvest pressure, fleet distribution, interand intraspecific competition, circulation, stratification, PDO and ENSO indices) and variability in growth and foraging efficiency (defined as the ratio of energy consumed to maximum potential energy consumed); and 3. Use results of these analyses to inform integrative population growth modeling. Bioenergetic estimates of growth and foraging efficiency We will use the broadly-applied Wisconsin bioenergetics modeling approach (Ney 1990; Kitchell et al. 1977) developed for Pleuronectes species (Holsman and Aydin in prep.), which estimates temperature- and weight-specific maximum daily consumption rates for individual fish. Realized individual consumption rates based on in situ fish are typically much lower than those observed in the laboratory because inter- and intra-species competition, mismatched prey phenology or distributions, and predator avoidance behaviors by prey species often limit capture and consumption rates. Realized consumption is modeled as a mass balance equation where energy consumed is allocated to growth or lost to metabolism and waste. Temperature will be extracted from trawl surveys temperatures and available environmental data for the EBS and GOA and diet composition data from bottom trawl surveys will be used to estimate predator/prey densities for

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each region (e.g., southern EBS and three sub areas of northern GOA). All metabolic and waste functions are parameterized from laboratory experiments or derived from literature values for the species or similar animals. Foraging efficiency, defined as the ratio of observed to maximum consumption over time, is iteratively fit through minimization of observed weight and weight by the mass balance equation to predict daily growth. Using weight-at-age derived from otolith-based observations of SAA of individual fish, we will estimate individual foraging efficiencies. Trophic and environmental effects on foraging efficiency Foraging efficiency provides a temperature- and weight-corrected index of growth; e.g., low values indicate that observed growth is lower than that expected based only on changes in prey composition or water temperature. By exploring spatial and temporal patterns in age-specific foraging efficiency, we can identify demographic and distributional bottlenecks in growth (i.e., areas or ages with low foraging efficiencies, and explore environmental or anthropogenic drivers of changes in growth and resultant SAA. To evaluate if variability in foraging efficiency is associated with spatio-temporal patterns in environmental conditions, we will build a full set of generalized mixed effects models, where foraging efficiency is a function one or more environmental factors (i.e., inter- and intraspecific competition, circulation, stratification, PDO and ENSO indices). This approach will allow us to evaluate the strength of temporal trends in foraging efficiency and resultant SAA and the degree to which declines may be attributed to measurable factors (such as temperature or indices of fishing pressure). We also plan to include null models (overall intercept– only model), and area specific intercept only models. We will rank all models with Akaike’s information criterion (AIC; Burnham & Anderson 2002) and use AIC model selection and averaging to identify the relative weight of each environmental factor in predicting age-specific and region-specific foraging efficiencies. Simulate SAA for integrative modeling Using a similar approach to step 1, we will use otolith-based estimates of weight at age to derive expected SAA distributions from retrospective growth trajectories of individual fish chosen to represent key geographic regions and time periods within the recent SAA time series. Otolith increment analyses will be conducted on these individuals to generate proxies of somatic growth at age (sensu Chambers and Miller 1995), from age 1 through age at collection. Initially (i.e., during project year 1), a total of 30 age-15 fish collected within each of three geographic regions (EBS, central GOA, eastern GOA) will be analyzed, representing the 1977 and 1992 year-classes (i.e., collected in 1992 and 2007, respectively). These year-classes represent periods of relatively high and low observed mean SAA, and correspond to regions for which corresponding stomach samples are available (Table 1). In year 2, we will endeavor to expand sample sizes within these groupings and to add the western GOA. We will develop time- and area-specific somatic-otolith length relationships, permitting conversion of individual increment measurements into estimates of somatic growth in length, and subsequently to weight via published length-weight relationships for the species. These growth data will be used in the integrated model. The resulting trajectories will be combined to generate annual region-specific distributions for estimated SAA and annual overall population SAA distributions (i.e., regionally-biomass weighted average SAA). Deviations between estimated and observed SAA will inform integrative modeling and provide additional information to aid in model convergence. 178
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iv. Integrated Growth Model The objectives of developing an integrated growth model for Pacific halibut are two-fold: (1) hypotheses testing, and (2) fully specify the growth model into the halibut assessment to better quantify uncertainty associated with changes in size-at-age. Model specification will include elements that attempt to explain additional variation in the size-at-age data collected by the IPHC over the past few decades. Possible covariates for growth include intra- and interspecific competition (density effects), environmental covariates (changes in temperature, upwelling, etc.). Also, as explained earlier, another hypothesis that could partially explain observed changes in sizeat-age is the cumulative effects of size-selective fishing. In this case, faster growing individuals recruit to the fishery at younger ages relative to slower growing members of the same cohort. Over time, remaining individuals in the population will consist of slower growing individuals that are less vulnerable to size selective fishing gear. Such cumulative effects could be significant and give the appearance of declining size-at-age with increasing fishing mortality rates over time. Models will be fit to SAA data by sex in each of the IPHC regulatory areas. We might expect interesting contrasts in SAA models developed for areas of heavier (e.g., Areas 2B and 2C) versus lighter fishing intensity (e.g., 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4CDE), which may help to elucidate cause and effect. Although the constant harvest rate policy for halibut has been 20% of exploitable biomass, realized harvest rate has exceeded 50% (particularly in 2B and 2C) in some recent years. To address intraspecific competition, we will include halibut biomass estimates. To address interspecific competition, we will use biomass estimates of competitors determined from stomach analyses (e.g., arrowtooth flounder). A suite of environmental factors thought to affect halibut growth will include the GAK1 time series of subsurface temperatures off Seward, AK (http:// www.ims.uaf.edu/gak1/), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (reflecting broad environmental variability derived from sea surface temperature), and other variables. The model developed will be akin to a generalized additive modeling approach. A change in the average SAA of Pacific halibut has implications for the harvest policy. In short, with declining rates of growth, the optimal fishing mortality rate that maximizes long-term sustainable yields also declines, and vice versa. Integrating the growth model, along with variables that are correlated with growth, into the annual stock assessment will allow for immediate updates of the harvest policy and ensure that this policy is commensurate with the current growth regime. Moreover, uncertainty in growth can also be integrated into the decision-making framework for providing annual advice on catch quotas.

References
Burnham, K.P. and Anderson, D.R. 2002 Model selection and inference: a practical informationtheoretic approach, 2nd ed. Springer, New York, NY Chambers, C.C. and Miller, T.J. 1995. Evaluating fish growth by means of otolith increment analysis: special properties of individual-level longitudinal data. Pp. 155–175 in D.H. Secor, J.M. Dean, and S. Campana (eds.), Recent Developments in Otolith Research, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia. Clark, W.G. 2004. Statistical distribution of IPHC age readings. Inter. Pac. Hal. Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2003:99-110.

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Clark, W.G. and Hare, S.R. 2008. Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock at the end of 2007. Inter. Pac. Hal. Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2007: 177-204. Clark, W.G. and Hare, S.R. 2006. Assessment and management of Pacific halibut: Data, methods and policy. Inter. Pac. Hal. Comm. Sci. Rep. 83. Clark, W.G. and Hare, S.R. 2002. Effects of climate and stock size on recruitment and growth of Pacific halibut. N. Amer. J. Fish. Mgmt. 22:852-862. Clark, W.G., Hare, S.R., Parma, A.M., Sullivan, P.J, and Trumble, R.J. 1999. Decadal changes in growth and recruitment of Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 56:242-252. Conover, D.O. and Munch, S.B. 2002. Sustaining fisheries yields over evolutionary time scales. Science 297:94-96. Dieckmann, U. and Heino, M. 2007. Probabilitistic maturation reaction norms: Their history, strengths, and limitations. Mar. Ecol. Progr. Ser. 335:253-269. Gaichas, S.K., Aydin, K.Y., and Francis, R.C. 2011. What drives dynamics in the Gulf of Alaska? Integrating hypotheses of species, fishing, and climate relationships using ecosystem modeling. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 68: 1553-1578. Hanson, P.C., Johnson, T.B., Schindler, D.E., and Kitchell, J.F. 1997. Fish Bioenergetics 3.0. University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, Technical Report WISCU- T-97-001, Madison. Hare, S.R. 2011. Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock at the end of 2010. Inter. Pac. Hal. Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2010:85-176. Hare, S.R. 2012. Assessment of the Pacific halibut stock at the end of 2011. Inter. Pac. Hal. Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2011:91-194. Hare, S.R. and Clark, W.G. 2008. 2007 IPHC harvest policy analysis: past, present, and future considerations. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2007: 275-295. Helser, T. and Martell, S. 2007. Stock Assessment of Pacific Hake (whiting) in US and Canadian Waters in 2007. Pac. Fish. Manage. Counc., Portland, Oreg, 362 Holsman, K.H. and Aydin, K.Y. (in prep.). Field and bioenergetic based daily ration estimates for walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma), Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), and arrowtooth flounder (Atheresthes stomias) from Alaska (USA). In prep. International Pacific Halibut Commission. 1988. The Pacific halibut : Biology, fishery, and management. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Tech. Rep. 40. 64p. Kitchell, J.F., Stewart, D.J., and Weininger, D. 1977. Applications of a bioenergetics model to perch (Perca flavescens) and walleye (Stizostedion vitreum). J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 34:1922–1935. Kuparinen, A. and Merilä, J. 2007. Detecting and managing fisheries-induced evolution. TREE 22:652-659. 180
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Hartman, K.J. and Kitchell, J.F. 2008: Bioenergetics Modeling: Progress since the 1992 Symposium, Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 137: 216-223 Law, R. 2000. Fishing, selection, and phenotypic evolution. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 57:659-668. Loher, T. 2013. Potential mechanisms, research avenues, and management action associated with size at age and growth of Pacific halibut. Int. Pac. Hal. Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2012: 457-486. Lorenzen, K. and Enberg, K. 2002. Density-dependent growth as a key mechanism in the regulation of fish stocks: Evidence from among-population comparisons. Proc. Roy. Soc. London B 269:49-54. Meka, J.M. and Margraf, F.J. 2007. Using a bioenergetic model to assess growth reduction from catch and release fishing and hooking injury in rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss. Fish. Manag. Ecol. 14:131 – 139. Millner, R.S. and Whiting, C.L. 1996. Long-term changes in growth and population abundance of sole in the North Sea from 1940 to the present. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 53:1185-1195. Ney, J.J. 1993. Bioenergetics today: growing pains on the cutting edge. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 122:736–748. Ney, J.J. 1990. Trophic economics in fisheries: assessment of demand–supply relationships between predators and prey. Rev. Aquat. Sci. 2:55–81. Olsen, E.M, Heino, M., Lilly, G.R., Morgan, M.J., Brattey, J., Ernande, B., and Dieckmann, U. 2004. Maturation trends indicative of rapid evolution preceded the collapse of northern cod. Nature 428:932-935. Olsen, E.M., Lilly, G.R., Heino, M., Morgan, M.J., Brattey, J., and Dieckmann, U.2005. Assessing changes in age and size at maturation in collapsing populations of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 62:811-823. Pope, J.A., Margette, A.R., Hamley, J.M., and Akyüz, E.F. 1975. Manual of methods for fish stock assessment. Part III. Selectivity of fishing gear. FAO, United Nations, Rome. R Development Core Team. 2010 R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna. www.R-project.org Ricker, W.E. 1954. Stock and recruitment. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 11:559-623. Schweigert, J., Funk, F., Oda, K., and T., M. (2002). Herring size-at-age variation in the North Pacific. In Peterson, W. and Hay, D., editors, REX workshop on temporal variations in sizeat-age for fish species in coastal areas around the Pacific Rim, number 20, pages 47–57. PICES Sci. Rep. Skaug, H. and Fournier, D. 2011. Random Effects in AD Model Builder ADMB-RE User Guide Version 10.0 (2011-01-18). http://admb-project.org/documentation/manuals/admb-usermanuals

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Stewart, I.J., Leaman, B.M., Martell, S.J.D., Webster, R.A. 2013. Assessment of the Pacific halibut at the end of 2012. Inter. Pac. Hal. Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2012: 93-186. Swain, D.P., Sinclair, A.F., and Hanson, J.M. 2007. Evolutionary response to size-selective mortality in an exploited fish population. Proc. Roy. Soc. B 274:1015-1022. Valero, J.L. 2012. Harvest policy considerations on retrospective bias and biomass projections. Inter. Pac. Hal. Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2011:311-330.

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Table 1. Sample sizes of stomach collections of three major groundfish predators in the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center food habits database.
Species Halibut Decade 1980-1989 1990-1999 2000-2009 Bering Sea 601 3,191 1,259 5,051 2,926 4,567 8,930 16,423 12,008 20,320 12,640 44,968 West 449 958 1,407 48 1,348 1,861 3,257 170 1,161 1,296 2,627 Gulf of Alaska Central East & SE 1,344 57 1,614 173 2,958 230 105 6,336 189 4,036 423 10,477 612 365 3,130 88 2,362 43 5,857 131 Total

Halibut Total Arrowtooth 1980-1989 1990-1999 2000-2009 Arrowtooth Total Cod 1980-1989 1990-1999 2000-2009 Cod Total

9,646

30,769

53,583

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Figure 2. Percent weight in diet of major prey items of Pacific halibut in the GOA, by decade and length.

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Appendix I. IPHC 2013 Annual Research Plan (Preliminary)
November 2012 IPHC Staff

Executive summary
The fishery for Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) is one of the most valuable and geographically largest in the north Pacific Ocean. Industry participants from Canada and the United States have prosecuted the fishery and depended upon the resource since the turn of the 20th century. Annual removals have been as high as 100 million pounds; the long term average is 64 million pounds. Management of the Pacific halibut resource and fishery has been the responsibility of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) since its creation in 1923. To assess, forecast, and manage the resource and fishery requires accurate assessments, continuous monitoring, and research responsive to the needs of managers and stakeholders. The IPHC staff has developed and compiled a series of research studies for 2013, which it recommends to the Commission for adoption through this Annual Research Plan. The recommended studies require a funding level of $0.45 million during fiscal year 2013. Several studies will contribute towards greater understanding of two issues currently facing the Commission and industry stakeholders, notably the decline in size at age and further development of advanced geomagnetic tags for describing the scope and timing of migration. Assessment and stock identification Two priority topics are addressed: assessment information and migration studies. The staff is proposing to continue with collection of juvenile abundance data, which is incorporated into the annual assessment, and an improved maturity stage assignment, which contributes to the ageat-maturity schedule. Second, as part of the continued focus on understanding halibut migration, the staff proposes to continue with the development of the geomagnetic archival tag technology, which involves several projects to resolve tag attachment, geomagnetic data resolution, and release locations in Area 4B. A new study into the halibut length/weight relationship is proposed to address the frequent observation that the current relationship is deficient in some uses. In addition, an expansion of the annual assessment survey into northern California waters is also proposed to evaluate stock density in that area, based on new information on recent removals. Management strategy One study is proposed which begins the staff’s investigation into the declining trend in size at age. The study takes advantage of IPHC’s extensive historical otolith archives, dating to the 1920s. Ecology Three studies are proposed which are continuations of studies currently underway: oceanographic monitoring with the profilers from the survey platforms, mercury and contaminant assessment, and assessment of Ichthyophonus prevalence.

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The staff notes that this Annual Research Plan does not describe all research activities conducted by IPHC. Various studies are conducted as a matter of routine work by the staff, some in collaboration with other agencies. The research recommendations included in this Plan are based on identified research gaps, to supplement research already under way and advance the IPHC mission.

Introduction
The Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) resource has been the target of exploitation for centuries. Commercial harvests have been recorded since the late 1800s, and more recently a sport fishery has grown in popularity throughout its range. Annual harvests have varied throughout history and have reached nearly 100 million pounds in 1990 and again in 2004. At the turn of the 20th century, the resource status suffered a serious decline, leading the halibut industry to petition the U.S. and Canadian governments for creation a multilateral management agency to institute fishery restrictions aimed at stock recovery for the benefit of fishers from both countries. The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) was created in 1923 by a convention between the two countries. The 1923 Convention was also noteworthy in that it was the first treaty to be concluded anywhere for the conservation of a depleted deep-sea fishery. The Commission was charged with studying the life history of halibut and with recommending regulations for the preservation and development of the fishery. The IPHC, as an international fisheries organization, receives monies from both the U.S. and Canadian governments to support an executive director and staff. Annually, the IPHC meets to conduct the business of the Commission. At this annual meeting the budgets, research plans, biomass estimates, catch recommendations, as well as regulatory proposals are discussed and approved then forwarded to the respective governments for implementation. The IPHC staff and offices are currently located in Seattle, Washington. The IPHC conducts numerous projects annually to support both major mandates: stock assessment and basic halibut biology. Current projects include standardized stock assessment fishing surveys from northern California to the end of the Aleutian Islands, as well as field sampling in major fishing ports to collect scientific information from the halibut fleet. In conjunction with these ongoing programs, the IPHC conducts numerous biological and scientific experiments to further the understanding and information about Pacific halibut. The 2012 IPHC Performance Review recommended the creation of a Five Year Research Plan and an Annual Research Plan (ARP). The plans would provide linkage to Commission objectives, with an accompanying process for input and periodic reviews by the Commission, interested stakeholders, the Research Advisory Board, and a peer review. The IPHC staff is tasked with developing the preliminary ARP for presentation to the Commission at the Interim Meeting, where discussion of overall research priorities, individual studies and associated budgets will occur. The staff will further develop the ARP following the Interim Meeting and present a final ARP at the Annual Meeting for Commission approval.

Research focus and priorities
Nearly all of the research done by the IPHC is directed toward one of three continuing objectives of the Commission: 1) improving the annual stock assessment and quota recommendations; 2) developing information on current management issues; and 3) adding to knowledge of the biology 187
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and life history of halibut. In each of these areas the work program applies the best information and methods available, and the research program aims to improve the information and methods by answering the most important outstanding questions. IPHC research is conducted within four areas of study as identified within the Five Year Research Plan. These areas, which connect to the IPHC mission and support the assessment and management objectives of the Commission, are 1) assessment and stock identification; 2) management strategy; 3) biology; and 4) ecology. The ARP is based on management and assessment needs as prioritized by the IPHC staff and Commission. It is the Commission’s long term goal to also obtain the views and advice of its Research Advisory Board (RAB) and external scientific input in the formulation and prioritization of the ARP. For 2012, this process is still being developed, so input from those sources will be brought into the process during in the 2013 research development cycle. For the past several years, two primary topics have been at the forefront of discussions about the halibut resource. The first has been the continuing decline in size at age (SAA), with the resulting effects and impacts on the assessment, harvest policy, and stock status. The second issue has been the migratory behavior of the stock, specifically seasonal and ontogenetic migration, including sex- and age-specific differences in spawning migration timing and duration. In the following section, studies for 2013 will be proposed which address both topics. Briefly, the IPHC staff proposes to begin an otolith increment study which would examine growth patterns during earlier time periods (project 2013-01). Understanding migration patterns is the overarching goal of the archival tag program, which has several aspects examining tag type, location, tag shedding and resolution of geomagnetic location data (projects 650.xx).

Proposed for 2013
Research proposed by IPHC staff goes through an internal review process by the staff Science Board. This year, the Board met in early October to review staff proposals for 2013 research. For each proposal, the Board discussed the merits, objectives, design, and coherence with the Commission’s research goals and objectives. The Principal Investigator (PI) subsequently joined the Board for a broad discussion of the project. Concerns, questions and need for refinements or revisions, if any, about the proposal were communicated to the PI at that time. Following a full review of all proposals, the Board assigned a priority rating to each project, based on the following criteria: High – Research which has a direct bearing on the assessment or its inputs, harvest policy, or current management structure. Postponement of a high priority project would have a significant and immediate impact on management or IPHC operation. Medium – Research which addresses an assessment issue or management question/need. Postponement will not have an immediate significant impact on fishery management or IPHC operation but may impact future analyses. Low – Research which addresses current issues of any subject but is not considered having a timely need or being crucial to current IPHC management or operation. Based on the Science Board discussions and the topics previously outlined, the IPHC staff recommends the following research studies for funding in FY2013. 188
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Assessment and stock identification Project 604.00: Monitoring juvenile halibut abundance via NMFS trawl surveys

Priority: High Budget: $ 53,631 Start Date: 1996 Anticipated ending: Continuing Personnel: L. Sadorus, A. Ranta, I. Stewart The series of NMFS trawl survey data on halibut, parallel to our assessment survey data, is extremely valuable as a second fishery-independent data source for stock assessment. Trawl data are particularly useful because they include large numbers of juveniles (ages 3-7) that do not appear in large numbers in the setline survey. Otoliths have been collected on the NMFS surveys since 1996 and provide relevant age information. These data are incorporated into IPHC’s database of the NMFS haul data, expanded to estimates of relative abundance and age/size composition, and stored in a database at IPHC. Project cost is comprised of personnel and travel. For 2013, samplers will be deployed in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska surveys. Project 636.00: Evaluation of Pacific halibut macroscopic maturity stage assignments

Priority: High Budget: $ 18,800 Start: 2004 Anticipated Ending: Continuing Personnel: K. MacTavish, other staff as needed The staff believes it is necessary to re-evaluate our classification criteria for female gonad maturity stage. The method currently used on the assessment surveys is based on visual criteria established in the early 1990s and modified in 1995. These survey data combined with the age data are important components in the stock assessment model. Four maturity stages are presently assigned to female halibut; immature (F1), maturing (F2), spawning (F3) and resting (F4). Once a female halibut has spawned, the gonad transitions to a resting phase, back to maturing, and then to spawning again. Our criteria for classification also assume that the immature (F1) stage is only seen with immature fish but we are seeing anomalies during the survey that question this assumption. Gonad samples were collected in 2004 from which to base this study. In 2013, work will continue on finalizing a sampling protocol for measurement of oocyte diameters, and contract slide preparation for gonads. The PI will also begin assessment of archived gonads from a set of previously-prepared slides.

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Project 650.13:

Archival tags: mounting protocols (OCA)

Priority: Medium Budget: $ 14,800 Start Date: 2009 Anticipated ending: 2014 Personnel: T. Loher For 2013, the staff intends to continue holding halibut in tanks at the Oregon Coast Aquarium (OCA) in Newport, OR to investigate alternate mounting protocols for the externally-mounted archival tags. A total of 30 halibut were captured via hook-and-line and transported live to the OCA. The fish are treated for parasites, examined regularly to assess healing and/or relative infection rates among mounting types, and behavior monitored. At the end of the holding period, fish will be measured to assess relative growth among treatment groups, and tags will be removed to examine the effects of the tag mounts on the tissue and musculature at the attachment site, or internal interactions in the case of an internal-external-streamer modification. The results will support the anticipated use of this type of technology in subsequent years. Expenses for 2013 involve the care and feeding of the fish at OCA. Project 650.14: Archival tags: tag attachment protocols

Priority: High Budget: $ 600 Start Date: 2009 Anticipated ending: 2014 Personnel: T. Loher External and internal tag recovery rates are being tested in the field release of archival test tags. In August-September 2009, 200 fish were tagged off southern Kodiak Island (in Areas 3A and 3B), half with external tags and half with internal implants. Fish were also tagged with a bright pink cheek tag, and rewards of $100 will be given for all tags recovered. Nine fish were recovered in 2011. Expenses in 2013 consist of tag rewards. Note that the because of a subsequent decision to focus only on an external mount protocol, this project is proposed to be redone in Area 3A in 2013 (see 2013-04, below). Project 650.15: Archival tags: coastwide deployment

Priority: High Budget: $ 125,000 Start Date: 2016 Anticipated ending: Continuing Personnel: T. Loher, B. Leaman, R. Webster, J. Forsberg In preparation for a coastwide release of archival tags in 2016, the staff has been working with Lotek Wireless (St. John’s, NL) on a specific tag design and configuration for IPHC use. Although 190
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no field activity is planned for 2013, Lotek is continuing their work on our requirements and construction. Results from the 2009 release of dummy archival tags in Area 3A and the examination of several mounting protocols on fish being held at the Oregon Coast Aquarium will feed into the design of the tag and its attachment to the fish. Project 650.16: Archival tags: Area 4B site selection

Priority: High Budget: $ 1,000 Start date: 2010 Anticipated ending: 2014 Personnel: T. Loher, J. Forsberg, survey team In 2009, 773 fish were tagged in Area 4B to evaluate tag recovery rates in preparation of a future release of archival tags in the area. Recovery rates of PIT tags released in the Aleutians were quite low, without evidence of recovery hotspots. This suggests that if archival tags were deployed in the Aleutians, we would likely recover relatively few of those tags. This would result in either too few data to draw any conclusions or require that a very large number of tags be initially deployed. Given that archival tags cost $500-1200 each, resorting to a very large deployment would be financially prohibitive and problematic. The goal is to locate at least two release sites which will yield a sufficient number of recoveries. The requested budget for 2013 is to cover the rewards for the anticipated recoveries. Project 650.17: Archival tags: geomag tag performance

Priority: Low Budget: $ 6,000 Start Date: 2011 Anticipated ending: 2012 Personnel: T. Loher, J. Nielsen (UAF Juneau) In 2011 we deployed both Desert Star and Lotek geomagnetic tags on 30 halibut in two regions of the Gulf of Alaska: in Area 2C, just offshore of southern Prince of Wales Island; and in Area 3A, offshore of southern Kodiak Island. Tagging was restricted to large fish (110-150 cm FL), most likely to be mature females and likely to conduct a spawning migration shortly after tagging, and was divided into two deployment locations because the coastline and bathymetry of the areas are largely perpendicular to one another with respect to the magnetic environment. In Area 2C, total magnetic field gradients run largely parallel to shore, whereas in Area 3A around Kodiak that gradient runs perpendicular to shore. As such, we hypothesized that geomagnetic positioning based on total field strength would more accurately detect onshore-offshore movement in 2C and alongshore migration around Kodiak. Recoveries are expected in 2013 to enable testing of the hypothesis; project expenses are for the rewards. Note that the because of a tag internal architecture redesign, this project is proposed to be redone in Area 4A in 2013 (see 2013-05, below).

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Project 2013-03: Estimate of length/weight relationship and head/ice/slime adjustment (NEW) Priority: Low Budget: $ 5,000 Start: 2013 Anticipated Ending: open ended Personnel: R. Webster, L. Erickson, K. MacTavish, H. Gilroy The purpose of this study is to collect data for use in estimating the relationship between fork length and net weight, including the estimate of adjustments necessary to convert head-on weight to net weight. Data will be collected coastwide at sampled ports throughout the season in order to estimate spatial and seasonal variation in the length to weight relationship. In the current length-weight relationship, adjustments are made for head, ice, and slime, and are used when estimating the net weight of commercial offloads. The current relationship between fork length and net weight includes adjustments for the weight of the head, and of ice and slime: gross weight is assumed to include 12% head weight and 2% ice and slime, which combine to give a multiplier of 0.8624 to convert gross to net weight. In practice, deductions of 12% in Areas 2A and 2B, and 11.8% in Alaska, are applied to commercial landings at the plants to convert from gross to net weight. These both include the 2% deduction for ice and slime assumed in the IPHC length-net weight relationship, but 10% for the head. IPHC port samplers will be tasked to collect data at plants within their port. Therefore in addition, data collected during the study will provide direct estimates of adjustment factors to compare with the currently assumed values, and will allow us to assess variability in the weight of heads and ice and slime. The end result is expected to be new adjustment factors that, if appropriate, can be applied consistently across all ports, or be allowed to vary with regulatory area. Project 2013-04: Archival tags: tag attachment protocols (NEW) Priority: High Budget: $ 46,250 Start: 2013 Anticipated Ending: 2015 Personnel: Loher This proposal is an update of 650.14, which was a 2009 release of 200 tags – half external tags, and half with internal implants. It is proposed to be redone to fully evaluate external attachment. The Board was supportive of this project, as the results are needed to evaluate three potential tag attachment sites on the fish. The release is being designed to occur from the surveys to reduce costs while still achieving a broad distribution of releases. Design issues regarding the number of tags to be deployed and shedding rates are being refined. The study was given a high priority because a suitable external tag attachment site is crucial to the success of the coastwide archival tag study.

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Project 2013-05: Archival tags: geomag performance (NEW) Priority: High Budget: $ 6,400 Start: 2013 Anticipated Ending: 2016 Personnel: Loher This proposal is an update of 650.17, which was a 2011 release of 30 tags in Area 2C and 3A to examine location resolution of geomag tags. The study is proposed to be redone because an improved geomag design has recently been released, which is expected to perform better than the design used in 2011. The proposed study entails releasing ~30 fish on the Area 4A-south assessment survey. The Board gave this a high priority, as it will provide information on the accuracy of the location data provided by the Lotek archival tags. Project 2013-06: SSA Expansion – California pilot (NEW) Priority: Medium Budget: $ 49,408 Start: 2013 Anticipated Ending: currently only planned for 2013 Personnel: C. Dykstra, survey team The IPHC staff is considering extending the assessment survey into the waters off northern California. Currently the survey stops at the Oregon/California border, which has traditionally been the southern end of commercial fishing in recent years. However, recent reports of previously unknown but significant sport fishery harvests of halibut from northern California waters, which contributed to exceeding the catch limit for that area, have indicated the potential for a larger share of the resource in this area than has been assumed. Adding this area into the assessment requires a measure of fish density, which would be provided by the survey. This issue also has implications to the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Area 2A Catch Sharing Plan, which allocates a portion of the Area 2A catch limit to the area south of Humbug Mountain, Oregon, including California. The current staff proposal would extend the 10 x 10 nm systematic survey grid off northern California, to a terminus of 40o N., based on a review of halibut sport fishery sampling by California Fish and Game.

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Management Strategy Project 2012-01: Otolith increment analysis (New) Budget: $ 4,176 Priority: High Start Date: 2013 Anticipated ending: 2015 Personnel: T. Loher, S. Wischniowski This study is an internal IPHC project but may be part of a broader, comprehensive study to examine potential causes for the recent changes in halibut size at age (SAA) as well as an integrated approach to incorporating SAA dynamics into halibut assessment and management. The broader study would be funded through a grant application to the North Pacific Research Board, in cooperation with National Marine Fisheries Service and the University of Alaska. For the internal IPHC project staff will mine the otolith archives for historical samples which were collected at prescribed time intervals and measure the otolith growth increments. The relation between otolith growth and somatic growth is not well understood in many fishes, including halibut. But the IPHC otolith archives provide a unique opportunity to potentially examine changes in otolith growth over time and, by extension, halibut growth. Anticipated work in 2013 includes refining the study design, otolith selection, cross sectioning, and aging. Project 2013-02: Genetic sexing techniques (SNPs) Budget: $ 156,324 Priority: none Start: 2013 Anticipated Ending: Continuing Personnel: T. Loher, L. Hauser (UW MMBL), other staff as needed This is a proposal to estimate the sex composition of the commercial landings through the use of genetic markers identified in tissue collections of landed commercial fish. This work has potential for a high degree of accuracy, if sex-specific markers can be identified, but the staff Science Board had reservations about the practical application of the approach to the coastwide commercial fishery, given an existing, though imprecise technique for sexing the catch. The assessment team would first like to quantify the gain of having more precise estimates of sex composition in the commercial catch versus the existing technique and fitting the assessment model to a sex aggregated total catch before making a substantial investment in this technology. Accordingly, the Board recommends placing this proposal on hold for 2013.

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Ecology Project 610.13: Oceanographic monitoring of the north Pacific and Bering Sea continental shelf with water column profilers

Priority: Medium Budget: $ 53,676 Start date: 2009 Anticipated ending: Continuing Personnel: L. Sadorus, P. Stabeno (NMFS PMEL) The IPHC maintains one of the most extensive sampling platforms in the north Pacific. This platform provides enormous potential for collection of valuable oceanographic data. In particular, understanding the dynamics of the structure of the mixed layer depth – a major Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) goal - requires in situ vertical profiling. Since 2001, IPHC has successfully deployed a SeaBird SBE-19 water column profiler during the annual stock assessment survey. A second profiler was added to the program in 2007. In 2009, a NOAA grant provided for the complete outfitting of all chartered survey vessels, resulting in a complete coastwide deployment. Annual costs are directed towards maintenance and calibration of the profilers, and data preparation necessary for submission to the National Ocean Data Center. Project 642.00: Assessment of mercury and contaminants in Pacific halibut

Priority: Medium Budget: $ 4,000 Start Date: 2002 Anticipated ending: Continuing Personnel: C. Dykstra, B. Gerlach (ADEC) The staff proposes to continue our collaboration with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) in 2013, collecting halibut tissue samples for analysis of heavy metal and organic pollutant loading. This work has been ongoing since 2002. Results from a 2002 collection of halibut samples led the Alaska Division of Public Health in 2003 to conclude that the concentrations of heavy metals in Alaskan Pacific halibut were not a public health concern. In 2004 the first results regarding organic pollutants (PCB’s, pesticides) were released demonstrating that halibut had the lowest concentrations of the five species (including salmon and sablefish) examined. The Alaska Division of Public Health updated their advice on fish consumption in 2007 with some restrictions on the number of meals of halibut for women of child bearing age and young children. Since 2002 the IPHC has submitted 1,293 samples for testing by ADEC. The IPHC and ADEC are continuing to qualify the data with physical parameters (age, size, and weight) and additional analyses will be done on the samples. ADEC and the Environmental Protection Agency planned on going ahead with this study regardless of IPHC input. Our involvement in the project has allowed us to provide input on study design, sampling protocols in the field, etc., which will make the resultant information much more robust.

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Project 661.11:

Ichthyophonus prevalence in halibut

Priority: Medium Budget: $ 49,239 Start Date: 2012 Anticipated ending: ongoing Personnel: C. Dykstra, G. Williams, J. Gregg (USGS), P. Hershberger (USGS) Ichthyophonus is a protozoan parasite from the class Mesomycetozoea, a highly diverse group of organisms having characteristics of both animals and fungi. It has been identified in many marine fish, and is considered a causative agent in herring fishery collapses world-wide and there is concern over its effects on the success of salmon spawning on major rivers such as the Yukon. In 2011 the IPHC ran a small pilot project looking at Ichthyophonus prevalence in Pacific halibut in response to some initial test results from a 2010 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study which found high incidence rates in sport caught halibut in Cook Inlet, AK. The 2011 pilot took place in three geographically disparate areas (Oregon, Prince William Sound proper, and the northern Bering Sea). Results from this study found some of the highest incidence rates for any marine species in the Prince William Sound region (76.7% incidence), with lower, but still significant levels in Oregon (33.8%) and the northern Bering Sea (26.6%). USGS defines the Prince William Sound result as an epizootic event as the incidence rate is much higher than background rates seen in other halibut studies. In 2012, tissue samples were collected in all survey areas to further describe the spatial nature of the prevalence. In addition, samples were collected from smaller juveniles caught on the NMFS trawl survey in the Bering Sea. Prevalence of infection measured at ten longline survey sites ranged from 15% near Attu Island to over 70% in Prince William Sound, with a mean overall prevalence (Bering Sea to Oregon Coast) of 47%. Prevalence in smaller halibut (<50 cm) captured by trawl in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Island was 2.4%, indicating infections establish after some ontogenetic shift in diet, habitat, or behavior. The prevalence of infection reported here is higher than that which has been observed in studies of other sympatric fish species, including other pleuronectids, suggesting that either susceptibility and/or infection pressures are higher in halibut. While ichthyophoniasis has been shown to reduce growth rate, decrease swimming stamina, and cause mortality in other fish hosts, its effects on Pacific halibut are unknown. For this reason, the proposal being developed for 2013 involves studying the effect of infection intensity on growth and survival on fish held in the USGS lab. Study specifics are currently being worked out with USGS; a final design will be provided in advance of the Annual Meeting.

Alternative research packages
The Commission requested to see options for research which would be contingent on various funding levels. The full suite of projects outlined by the IPHC staff is summarized in Table 1, with a total budget of $606,293. The staff Science Board recommended not proceeding with the proposal for the development of production-scale genetic sexing techniques in 2013, which had a proposed budget of $156,324. By excluding this project, the total budget for the remaining proposed projects is $449,969.

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One approach to constructing the alternative research packages is to consider the proposals based on priority and/or area of study. Project budgets can be summed up within these strata for evaluation, which is shown in the following table. Note, however, that the cells within a column are not additive, as some projects span more than one area of study. For example, the Otolith increment study, assigned a high priority, was shown in Table 1 as being applicable to the Management Strategy and Biology areas of study. Thus it would appear in the totals for both study areas in the High priority column, yet appear just once in the column total for High priority projects. This type of presentation enables the Commission to consider those groups of projects of a prescribed priority and/or area of study which could be conducted if budgetary limitations were present. Area of Study Assessment/stock identification Management strategy Biology Ecology Total High $ 251,681 $ 4,176 $ 22,976 -$ 255,857 Medium $ 64,208 --$ 106,915 $ 171,123 Low $ 22,989 $ 14,989 $ 14,989 $ 14,989 $ 22,989 Total $ 338,878 $ 19,165 $ 37,965 $ 121,904 $ 449,969

Note that many of the studies proposed for 2013 were initiated in previous years and are considered as ongoing research initiatives. Some have been structured as multi-year studies of a fixed duration, whereas others have more of a long term focus. For reference, the total proposed research package for 2013 has the following split between ongoing and new studies: Study type Ongoing New for 2013 Total No. of studies 11 5 16 Proposed budget $ 338,735 $ 111,234 $ 449,969

Future research directions
The staff anticipates additional future studies on SAA, perhaps in collaboration with other agencies. In conjunction with those studies, the staff will be considering additional otolith studies which would include re-aging selected time series which would benefit both SAA studies and the assessment. Another potential research avenue will be the application of environmental (profiler) data to recruitment scenarios and year class strength.

Recommendations for changes to the Five Year Research Plan
The staff has no recommendations for changes to the Five Year Plan at this time. The Commission and staff are currently developing the Annual and Five Year Plan, including the process to support their development. As these are further developed, the staff expects to recommend any changes necessary to support the Commission’s needs.

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Table 1. Summary of proposed research for 2013.
Assessment & Stock ID Management Strategy Biology

Project # High Medium Low High Medium Medium High High High Low Medium High --Low High High Medium ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● 53,676 14,989 ● 53,631

Priority

Ecology

Budget (US$) Lead/PI Sadorus Sadorus Sadorus 18,800 MacTavish 4,000 14,800 600 125,000 1,000 3,000 49,239 4,176 156,324 5,000 46,250 6,400 49,408 $ 449,969 $ 606,293 Dykstra Loher Loher Loher Loher Loher Dykstra Loher Loher Webster Loher Loher Dykstra

Begin/End Dates Ongoing Ongoing Ongoing 2008/2014 Ongoing 2016 2016 2016 Open ended 2014 2012/2013 Open ended On hold for 2013 Open ended 2016 2014+ 2013

604.00

610.13

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618.00

636.00

642.00

Study Name Monitoring juvenile halibut abundance via NMFS trawl surveys Oceanographic monitoring of the north Pacific and Bering Sea continental shelf with water column profilers IPHC Intern Program Evaluation of Pacific halibut macroscopic maturity stage assignments Assessment of mercury and contaminants in Pacific halibut

650.13

Archival tags: mounting protocols (OCA)

198

650.14

Archival tags: tag attachment protocols

650.15

Archival tags: coastwide deployment

650.16

Archival tags: Area 4B site selection

650.17

Archival tags: geomag tag performance

661.11

Ichthyophonus prevalence in halibut

2013-01

Otolith increment analysis

2013-02

Genetic sexing techniques (SNPs)

2013-03

Length/weight and head/ice/slime factors

2013-04

2013-05

Archival tags: tag attachment protocols (650.14 update) Archival tags: geomag tag performance (650.17 update)

2013-06

SSA expansion: California pilot

Total (without 2013-02)

Overall Total (all projects)

Review of 2012 - Project summaries
This section is provides a brief recap of projects conducted in 2012. Full reports on each project can be found in the 2012 RARA. Project 604.00: Monitoring juvenile halibut abundance via NMFS trawl surveys

Budget: $ 55,661 Start Date: 1996 Anticipated ending: Continuing Personnel: L. Sadorus, A. Ranta, I. Stewart The series of NMFS trawl survey data on halibut, parallel to our assessment survey data, is extremely valuable as a second fishery-independent data source for stock assessment. Trawl data are particularly useful because they include large numbers of juveniles (ages 3-7) that do not appear in large numbers in the setline survey. Otoliths have been collected on the NMFS surveys since 1996 and provide relevant age information. These data are incorporated into IPHC’s database of the NMFS haul data, expanded to estimates of relative abundance and age/size composition by IPHC area (NMFS calculates estimates by INPFC area), and stored in a database at IPHC. Project cost is comprised of personnel and travel. In 2011, samplers were deployed on the NMFS Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea surveys. For 2012, samplers were deployed in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Island surveys. Project 610.13: Oceanographic monitoring of the north Pacific and Bering Sea continental shelf with water column profilers

Budget: $ 73,893 Start date: 2009 Anticipated ending: Continuing Personnel: L. Sadorus, P. Stabeno (NMFS PMEL) The IPHC maintains one of the most extensive sampling platforms in the north Pacific. This platform provides enormous potential for collection of valuable oceanographic data. In particular, understanding the dynamics of the structure of the mixed layer depth – a major GLOBEC goal requires in situ vertical profiling. Since 2001, IPHC has successfully deployed a SeaBird SBE-19 water column profiler du ring the annual stock assessment survey. A second profiler was added to the program in 2007. In 2009, a NOAA grant provided for the complete outfitting of all chartered survey vessels, resulting in a complete coastwide deployment. Annual costs are directed towards maintenance and calibration of the profilers, and data preparation necessary for submission to the National Ocean Data Center. Over 1,200 casts were made in 2012.

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Project 618.00:

Undergraduate Internship

Budget: $ 13,933 Start Date: 2002 Anticipated duration: Continuing Personnel: L. Sadorus, other staff support as needed One undergraduate will be selected through the intern/co-op programs at regional universities and colleges to do a combination of office and at-sea work based out of the Commission offices during the summer months. The program includes various pre-determined office tasks as well as being assigned a research project then designing and executing said project. A final report and presentation are given at the conclusion of the employment term. The report is usually included in the RARA. Unfortunately, in 2012 we were unsuccessful in hiring an intern to develop an imagebased technology solution for fish sampling. Project 636.00: Evaluation of Pacific halibut macroscopic maturity stage assignments

Budget: $ 16,800 Start: 2004 Anticipated Ending: Continuing Personnel: K. MacTavish, other staff as needed The staff believes it is necessary to re-evaluate our classification criteria for female gonad maturity stage. The method currently used on the assessment surveys is based on visual criteria established in the early 1990s and modified in 1995. These survey data combined with the age data are important components in the stock assessment model. Four maturity stages are presently assigned to female halibut; immature (F1), maturing (F2), spawning (F3) and resting (F4). Once a female halibut has spawned, the gonad transitions to a resting phase, back to maturing, and then to spawning again. Our criteria for classification also assume that the immature (F1) stage is only seen with immature fish but we are seeing anomalies during the survey that question this assumption. Gonad samples were collected in 2004 from which to base this study. In 2012, work was undertaken to look for a size gradient for oocytes dependent on their location within the gonad, determine the maximum precision for oocyte diameter measurements by oocyte maturation stage, and to begin the design of a sampling protocol for measurement of oocyte diameters. Project 642.00: Assessment of mercury and contaminants in Pacific halibut

Budget: $ 4,000 Start Date: 2002 Anticipated ending: Continuing Personnel: C. Dykstra, B. Gerlach (ADEC) The staff continued in our collaboration with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) in 2012, collecting halibut tissue samples for analysis of heavy metal and organic pollutant loading. This work has been ongoing since 2002. Results from a 2002 collection of 200
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halibut samples led the Alaska Division of Public Health in 2003 to conclude that the concentrations of heavy metals in Alaskan Pacific halibut were not a public health concern. In 2004 the first results regarding organic pollutants (PCB’s, pesticides) were released demonstrating that halibut had the lowest concentrations of the five species (including salmon and sablefish) examined. The Alaska Division of Public Health updated their advice on fish consumption in 2007 with some restrictions on the number of meals of halibut for women of child bearing age and young children. Since 2002 the IPHC has submitted 1,293 samples for testing by ADEC. The IPHC and ADEC are continuing to qualify the data with physical parameters (age, size, and weight) and additional analyses will be done on the samples. ADEC and EPA planned on going ahead with this study regardless of IPHC input. Our involvement in the project has allowed us to provide input on study design, sampling protocols in the field, etc., which will make the resultant information much more robust. Sampling continued in 2012 with a targeted collection of 70 samples (15 fish between 10-20 lbs., 15 fish between 20-40 lbs., 30 fish between 40-100 lbs., and 10 fish greater than 100 lbs.) from each of four sites. Fifty-five (55) samples were obtained from Semidi, 67 from Seward, 56 from northern Washington, and 50 from lower Oregon. Project 650.13: Archival tags: tag mounting protocols (OCA)

Budget: $ 14,800 Start Date: 2009 Anticipated ending: 2014 Personnel: T. Loher For 2012, the staff intends to continue holding halibut in tanks at the Oregon Coast Aquarium (OCA) in Newport, OR to investigate alternate mounting protocols for the externally-mounted archival tags. The 2008 releases in Area 2B were our first experience with using an external mount, and that process suggested some revisions and improvements could be possible which would reduce any effect the tags may have on the fish’s behavior. Additional improvements to tag design may also be helpful in creating a different mounting device. A total of 30 halibut were captured via hook-and-line and transported live to the OCA. The fish are treated for parasites, examined regularly to assess healing and/or relative infection rates among mounting types, and behavior monitored. At the end of the holding period, fish will be measured to assess relative growth among treatment groups, and tags will be removed to examine the effects of the tag mounts on the tissue and musculature at the attachment site, or internal interactions in the case of an internal-externalstreamer modification. The results will support the anticipated use of this type of technology in subsequent years. Expenses for 2012 involve the care and feeding of the fish at OCA.

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Project 650.14:

Archival tags: tag attachment protocols

Budget: $ 4,000 Start Date: 2009 Anticipated ending: 2014 Personnel: T. Loher External and internal tag recovery rates are being tested in the field release of archival test tags. In August-September 2009, 200 fish were tagged off southern Kodiak Island (in Areas 3A and 3B), half with external tags and half with internal implants. Fish were also tagged with a bright pink cheek tag, and rewards of $100 will be given for all tags recovered. Nine fish were recovered in 2011; 3 in 2012. Project 650.15: Archival tags: coastwide deployment

Budget: $ 130,000 Start Date: 2016 Anticipated ending: Continuing Personnel: T. Loher, B. Leaman, R. Webster, J. Forsberg In preparation for a coastwide release of archival tags in 2016, the staff has been working with Lotek Wireless (St. John’s, NL) on a specific tag design and configuration for IPHC use. Although no field activity is planned for 2013, Lotek is continuing their work on our requirements and construction. Results from the 2009 release of dummy archival tags in Area 3A and the examination of several mounting protocols on fish being held at the Oregon Coast Aquarium will feed into the design of the tag and its attachment to the fish. Project 650.16: Archival tags: Area 4B site selection

Budget: $ 2,600 Start date: 2010 Anticipated ending: 2014 Personnel: T. Loher, J. Forsberg, survey team In 2009, 773 fish were tagged in Area 4B to evaluate tag recovery rates in preparation of a future release of archival tags in the area. Recovery rates of PIT tags released in the Aleutians were quite low, without evidence of recovery hotspots. This suggests that if archival tags were deployed in the Aleutians, we would likely recover relatively few of those tags. This would result in either too few data to draw any conclusions or require that a very large number of tags be initially deployed. Given that archival tags cost $500-1200 each, resorting to a very large deployment would be financially prohibitive and problematic. Our goal is to locate at least two release sites which will yield a sufficient number of recoveries. Eleven tags were recovered in 2011. In 2012, only five tags were recovered.

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Project 650.17:

Archival tags: geomag tag performance

Budget: $ 6,000 Start Date: 2011 Anticipated ending: 2012 Personnel: T. Loher, J. Nielsen (UAF Juneau) In 2011 we deployed both Desert Star and Lotek geomagnetic tags on 30 halibut in two regions of the Gulf of Alaska: in Area 2C, just offshore of southern Prince of Wales Island; and in Area 3A, offshore of southern Kodiak Island. Tagging was restricted to large fish (110-150 cm FL), most likely to be mature females and likely to conduct a spawning migration shortly after tagging, and was divided into two deployment locations because the coastline and bathymetry of the areas are largely perpendicular to one another with respect to the magnetic environment. In Area 2C, total magnetic field gradients run largely parallel to shore, whereas in Area 3A around Kodiak that gradient runs perpendicular to shore. As such, we hypothesized that geomagnetic positioning based on total field strength would more accurately detect onshore-offshore movement in 2C and alongshore migration around Kodiak. Only one tag has been recovered to date. Project 661.11: Ichthyophonus prevalence in halibut

Budget: $ 50,739 Start Date: 2012 Anticipated ending: 2012 Personnel: C. Dykstra, G. Williams, J. Gregg (USGS), P. Hershberger (USGS) This study will further characterize Ichthyophonus prevalence across the Pacific halibut’s range, to determine overall prevalence rates and to see if the Prince William Sound results are repeatable. Twelve sites will be targeted, spread out over the assessment survey ranging from Oregon to the northern Bering Sea. As there is knowledge regarding herring infection rates in Prince William Sound, Sitka Sound area, and Lynn Canal, these areas are likely to be included in the primary target areas for sample collection. The study was modified to do a more intensive sampling (stratified by age or size) in the Bering Sea and/or Aleutian Islands where we were able to source samples from smaller fish caught during the NMFS trawl survey. IPHC collected the samples, and the USGS lab in Marrowstone will conduct the culture and testing component. Sample analysis and results are currently being finalized, and will be reported in the RARA.

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Project 662.11:

Hook modification study to reduce rockfish bycatch on circle hooks

Budget: $ 29,676 Start Date: 2012 Anticipated ending: 2012 Personnel: S. Kaimmer, S. Wischniowski A study to examine a potential hook modification designed to reduce rockfish bycatch was conducted in southeastern Alaska during May 11-21. Rockfish bycatch continues to be a problem in hook & line fisheries targeting Pacific halibut. This is particularly so for yelloweye and quillback rockfish which in some areas are under varying degrees of protection. Previous camera observation of halibut and rockfish (Kaimmer 1998) suggested that hook attacks by halibut are much more forceful than those made by rockfish, and we hypothesized that spring wires across the hook gap might be able to reduce rockfish hooking while not impeding halibut captures. We observed no decrease in hooking success for yelloweye rockfish over 4.5 kg using various spring wire configurations. Too few quillback rockfish were encountered to make a definitive statement regarding this species. However, the charter vessel’s crew commented that the wired hooks were very awkward to work with, both in baiting and in removing fish from the hook, and it would take a major improvement in bycatch avoidance to make these hooks feasible in a fishery. Project 421.11: Examination of potential alternative bait for the assessment survey

Budget: $ 400,000 Start Date: 2012 Anticipated ending: 2012 Personnel: R. Webster, S. Kaimmer, C. Dykstra, survey team A coastwide comparison of alternative baits for the assessment survey was conducted in 2012. A 2011 pilot study conducted to refine the experimental design also led to the decision to examine pollock and pink salmon as alternatives to the standard #2 chum salmon, in this year’s study. There were significant differences in O32 WPUE between chum salmon and the two alternative baits that varied by regulatory area. Most notably, WPUE for pollock was somewhat higher in general than WPUE for the two salmon baits in the Gulf of Alaska, but much lower in parts of Area 4. There was also evidence for differences in catch rates of U32 halibut and bycatch species among the three baits. We also compared the length and age distributions of halibut caught using the three baits. The results will be further analyzed in 2013, with the expectation that any change would not be implemented until 2014, at the earliest.

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Appendix II. IPHC regulation proposals submitted for the 2013 Annual Meeting
IPHC Staff The following are regulation proposals received from the industry. Received From Title / Topic Type James WhitethornHarvest ticket for Alaska halibut and Management West Brothers Group black cod 2 Shawn CrittendenStatewide charter tag (for Oregon) Management Not just a Sport Fisherman 3 Ronn BuschmannAdoption of circle hook as the legal Regulatory Individual gear in the directed halibut fisheries 4 Don MartinAccount for preserved fish on board Regulatory Individual sport fishing vessels 5 Ronn BuschmannHalibut catch and (careful) release Regulatory Individual regulation Proposal numbers 6 and 7 were forwarded on to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) by letter on December 1, 2012. They do not need to be discussed as part of IPHC deliberations as they are not relevant to IPHC regulations. They are provided for information only. 6 Robert MosherIn Alaska, change from blocks to NA IFQ holder percent of catch limit 7 James WhitethornIn Alaska, allow D-class halibut on NA West Brothers Group C-class vessels 8 Letter to NPFMC Letter referring to props 6 and 7 Number 1

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#1

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IPHC Regulations Proposal Submission Form
Proposal Title:Adoption of the Circle hook as the only legal gear in directed halibut fisheries Year Proposed For: 2013 Submission Information (Please print or type) Name: Ronn Buschmann Affiliation: self Address:Box 1367 City:Petersburg State/Prov: AK Fax: Postal/ZIP Code: 99833

#3

Telephone(907) 723-1642 Signature: Ronn Buschmann

Email:buschmann@gci.net

1. What is the definition and objective of the proposal? This proposal is to adopt the Circle hook or the soft circle type hooks used commonly with mechanical baiting machines as the sole legal gear in directed commercial, charter(both guided and unguided), recreational, and subsistence halibut fishing. This would outlaw “J” hooks which are still used on some commercial boats and treble hooks which some charter and recreational users utilize. The traditional Native American halibut hook would be legal gear in the personal use and subsistence halibut fishery.

2. Impacts: Describe who you think this proposed change might affect (include fishers, processors, agencies, and the public). 2a. Who might benefit from the proposed change? The resource. Presently the commission has adopted a slot limit for 2C charter operations and there is also an influx of small fish into Southeast Alaska as well as other areas. This will lead to more sorting in both the commercial and recreational sectors as the commercial fishermen release <32” fish and the recreational fishermen deal with regulations like the one fish charter limit by releasing smaller fish in favor of larger fish. Halibut tend to swallow J hooks which can be impossible to remove without damaging the fish and treble hooks are very difficult to remove from a live fish and tend to catch in the gills and cause heavy bleeding. The circle hook is most likely to hook in the harder parts of the mouth just inside the jaw, cause little bleeding and is easily removed. The purpose of this regulation is to increase survivability among fish that are caught and released for whatever reason.

2b. Who might suffer hardships or be worse off? Some operators will be required to purchase circle hooks to replace their existing gear. Those who are fishing multiple species, i.e. salmon and halibut, will need to carry two sets of gear.

3. Are there other solutions to the problem described above? If so, why were they rejected? None

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IPHC Regulations Proposal Submission Form
Proposal Title: Halibut Catch and Release Regulation Year Proposed For: _2013

Name: Ronn Buschmann Affiliation: self Address:P. O. Box 1367 City:Petersbur~ StatelProv: AK Postal/ZIP Code:
u

99833

Telephone(907) 723-1642 Fax: Signature:Ronn Buschmann

('

,

(

1. What is the definition and objective of the proposal? The objective of the proposal is to establish a guideline for the catch and release of halibut which are not to be retained for any reason but generally because they are too small or do not fit slot limit requirements. This regulation specifically prohibits gaffing or harpooning any fish which may not be retained. A fish which is to be measured to establish that it is >32" in the commercial fishery or which may be released in the recreational or charter fishery must be released unharmed. A small fish may be removed from the water and placed on deck for a short period of time by lifting it with the hook and leader used to catch it. Larger fish must be measured in the water. Any fish which is gaffed or harpooned must be taken and reported.

2. Impacts: Describe who you think this proposed change might affect (include fishers, processors, agencies, and the public). 2a. Who might benefit from the proposed change? The resource and future fishers in all sectors. We are at as point in this fishery where we have a declining biomass, increasing demand, and unmeasured impacts from the cod and pollock trawl fishery. It is necessary that we take whatever measures we can to increase survivability among those fish which are released.

3. Are there other solutions to the problem described above? H so, why were they rejected?
none

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#7

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#8

December 1, 2012 VIA EMAIL Mr. Eric Olson, Chair North Pacific Fishery Management Council 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306 Anchorage, AK 99501-2252 Dear Eric, The International Pacific Halibut Commission completed its Interim Meeting this week. Regulation Proposals were reviewed at the meeting, and two of the proposals recommend changes to the Alaska IFQ program. As such, we are forwarding the proposals to you for the Council review process. The proposals are attached and include the following: Change from Blocks to Percent of Catch Limit; and To Be Able to Fish D Class Halibut on C Class Boats. Sincerely,

Bruce M. Leaman Executive Director attachments

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Appendix III. Catch limit, research, stock assessment and apportionment comments submitted for the 2013 Annual Meeting
IPHC Staff The following proposals received from the industry were completed on the Regulation Proposal and Catch Limit Forms and are relating to the stock assessment and apportionment process, research, and catch limits.

Number 1 2 3 4

5 6

7

Received From James WhitethornWest Brothers Group Rex MurphyAlaska Charter Association Greg SutterAlaska Charter Association Rob JonesNorthwest Indian Fisheries Commission James WhitethornWest Brothers Group Melvin B. Grove Jr.Prince William Sound (PWS) Charter Boat Association Dave FraserAdak Community Development Corporation

Title / Topic Survey based and historical catch share plan Abundance based management for all halibut removals Sport and Commercial (Setline) hook and release mortality study Improving understanding of halibut biomass in Area 2A Area 2C total removals of 8.4 M lb and commercial catch (limit) of 6.6 M lb. Closed Area for longline between Memorial Day to Labor Day in IPHC stat area 230-240 Recommendation of harvest rate and percent of coastwide total biomass

Area Coastwide Coastwide Research Area 2A

Area 2C Area 3A – PWS Area 4A

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#1

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IPHC Regulations Proposal Submission Form
Proposal Title: Abundance based management of all halibut removals Year Proposed For: 2016 Submission Information (Please print or type) Name: Rex Murphy Affiliation: Alaska Charter Association Address: PO Box 478 City: Homer Telephone: 907-235-8282 Signature: 1. What is the definition and objective of the proposal?
The objective is abundance-based management of all halibut removals by the IPHC. Article III of the Protocol allows the IPHC to limit the size and quantity of halibut taken by directed fisheries, and additionally allows the IPHC during both open and closed seasons, to permit, limit, regulate or prohibit the incidental catch of halibut that may be taken, retained, possessed, or landed from each area or portion of an area, by vessels fishing for other species of fish 1.

#2

State/Prov: AK Fax:907-235-8282

Postal/ZIP Code:

99603

Email: info@alaskacharter.org

Removals of halibut under 32 inches (U32) represent future lost yield for directed fisheries. The IPHC currently does not manage total U32 removals. While the total CEY represents the sustainable amount of O32 removals, the IPHC has deducted U32 recreational and subsistence catch from the total CEY for years, and in 2011 also began deducting O26/U32 bycatch and wastage from the total CEY. In an attempt to compensate directed fisheries for the O26/U32 removals from the total CEY, the IPHC increased the harvest rates in all areas. These changes amount to a wash in some but not all areas. In areas 3A and 3B, directed fisheries suffered a decrease in commercial catch limits of approximately 310,000 and 630,000 pounds in each area respectively relative to the 2010 methodology. (See attached Tables 1 and 2.) The deduction of O26/U32 bycatch from the O32 total CEY is in fact a reallocation of directed fishery TAC to compensate for non-directed removals. Adjustments to harvest rates and deductions of U32 removals that are not part of the O32 total CEY are confusing and non-transparent methods of managing the resource. This proposal suggests that IPHC actively manage all halibut removals by establishing a U32 Total CEY and U32 catch limits in addition to the current O32 Total CEY and catch limits. This approach maintains the historical continuity of the O32 harvest data, while transparently managing all removals on an abundance basis. Upon
1

Article III of the Protocol amending the Convention between Canada and the United States of America for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the Northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. Available at: http://www.lexum.com/ca_us/en/cts.1980.44.en.html

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implementation, only O32 removals would be deducted from the O32 Total CEY, U32 removals would be deducted from the U32 Total CEY and the allocation and management of both O32 and U32 removals would be handled domestically. This approach would require fundamental changes in how U32 removals are managed by the IPHC as well as domestically; therefore an implementation year of 2016 is suggested. A reasonable first step would be to task IPHC staff to prepare a discussion paper on managing U32 removals for review at the 2014 meeting.

2. Impacts: Describe who you think this proposed change might affect (include fishers, processors, agencies, and the public).
The proposed change will affect fishermen, processors, agencies, the resource and the public, with the hopeful results of maximizing sustainable yield and minimizing bycatch and wastage.

2a.Who might benefit from the proposed change?
A comprehensive approach to resource management is obviously preferable to an approach that does not actively manage all removals according to abundance. The future of the directed fishery depends on the health of the entire stock. The IPHC is charged with maintaining stocks at optimal yield, so it makes perfect sense that all halibut removals must be actively managed to attain this goal. Directed fisheries will benefit in areas where the implementation of O26/U32 deductions from the total CEY has negatively impacted their total allowable catch.

2b.Who might suffer hardships or be worse off?
Depending on the amount of U32 removals that the IPHC determines is sustainable, and depending on how U32 removals are allocated and managed domestically, directed or nondirected fisheries with U32 removals could be affected.

3. Are there other solutions to the problem described above? If so, why were they rejected?

Please attach any other supporting materials. All items submitted by November 2, 2012 will be considered at the IPHC Annual Meeting. Remember to include contact information and signature.

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Table 1: 2012 Catch Limit Calculations including O26/U32 Bycatch and Wastage in Other Removals2 Other 2012 2012 Slow UpRemovals Staff Fishery Full Reg Harvest Total including Catch O26/U32 CEY Down Area eBio Rate CEY Rec 2A 6.15 0.215 1.32225 0.17 1.15225 -0.16 0.99 2B 34.9 0.215 7.5035 0.87 6.6335 0.00 6.63 2C 27.28 0.215 5.8652 2.65 3.2152 -0.59 2.63 3A 92 0.215 19.78 7.86 11.92 0.00 11.92 3B 41.17 0.161 6.62837 1.57 5.05837 0.00 5.06 4A 14.86 0.161 2.39246 0.83 1.56246 0.00 1.56 4B 14.25 0.161 2.29425 0.43 1.86425 0.00 1.86 4CDE 29.4 0.161 4.7334 2.28 2.4534 0.00 2.45 Table 2: 2012 Catch Limit Calculations not including O26/U32 Bycatch and Wastage in Other Removals3 Other 2012 Slow Up2012 Removals not Reg Harvest Total including Fishery Full Catch O26/U32 Area eBio Rate CEY CEY Down Rec 2A 6.15 0.2 1.23 0.13 1.10 -0.12 0.98 2B 34.9 0.2 6.98 0.58 6.41 0.00 6.41 2C 27.28 0.2 5.456 2.50 2.96 -0.46 2.50 3A 92 0.2 18.4 6.17 12.23 0.00 12.23 3B 41.17 0.15 6.1755 0.49 5.69 0.00 5.69 4A 14.86 0.15 2.229 0.49 1.74 0.00 1.74 4B 14.25 0.15 2.1375 0.31 1.83 0.00 1.83 4CDE 29.4 0.15 4.41 1.41 3.00 0.00 3.00

2

eBIo, other removals sourced from 2012 IPHC Bluebook, page 207. Does not factor in non-scientific “other considerations” applied in 2012. 3 eBIo, other removals sourced from 2012 IPHC Bluebook, page 207. O26/U32 bycatch and wastage sourced from 2011 IPHC RARA pages 185 and 187. Assumes 2011 catch limits were also calculated not including bycatch and wastage.

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IPHC Regulations Proposal Submission Form
Proposal Title:__Sport Halibut and Commercial Setline Hook and Release Mortality Study_ Year Proposed For: __2013____________ Submission Information (Please print or type) Name: Affiliation: Address: City: Homer Telephone State/Prov: AK Fax: Postal/ZIP Code: Email: 99603 Greg Sutter Alaska Charter Association

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Signature: pp. 1. What is the definition and objective of the proposal? A research study should be conducted to establish current hook and release mortality rates for both the sport halibut and commercial setline fisheries. This study should be conducted prior to pursuing any policy for separate accountability for the sport and commercial sectors. 2. Impacts: Describe who you think this proposed change might affect (include fishers, processors, agencies, and the public). 2a. Who might benefit from the proposed change? All users of the halibut fishery will benefit when there is accurate accountability for all removals, including wastage. 2b. Who might suffer hardships or be worse off? Sport fishers and setline fishermen who might be assigned an arbitrary high rate1 of hook and release mortality will be denied their full utilization of their harvest allocation (Optimal Yield). 3. Are there other solutions to the problem described above? If so, why were they rejected? No hook and release mortality has ever been applied to the sport halibut fishery in the past. The only scientific studies actually performed on Pacific halibut were conducted in 1958 and 1960 using Jhooks, and the number of samples was very small due to problems with high water temperature 2. With the predominant use of circle hooks in both sectors and the growing use of barbless circle hooks in the sport sector, it is believed that sport fish release mortality should be much lower than 6%. Likewise, a commercial release mortality of 16% is most likely higher than actual.

Please attach any other supporting materials. All items submitted by November 2, 2012 will be considered at the IPHC Annual Meeting. Remember to include contact information and signature.
Existing data for sport hook and release mortality is outdated and flawed by current standards of research. Viability of tagged Pacific halibut. Gordon J. Peltonen. 25 p. (1969). Available at: http://www.iphc.int/publications/scirep/Report0052.pdf
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