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In S.E. Alaska chartered sport halibut anglers have a new slot limit for halibut. Anglers can catch halibut up to 38 inches, a reduction of six inches from last season, or over 80-inches. This reduction in size on the lower slot limit is due to a declining stock of halibut.
How they decide size limits. Fisheries managers first decide on a pounds quota. In this year’s case the quota is reduced by about 25%. They then look at how many halibut were caught on guided trips. Every guided trip MUST fill out their logbook, which clearly accounts for every halibut landed. Since they have very accurate numbers of halibut caught in a given area, fisheries managers can calculate poundage based on average lengths and weights of the halibut. Then they simply figure out how many pounds the new quota is and go backward from there, calculating what reduced size limit will achieve the new quota goal. In this year’s case, a 38 inch maximum size fish, they estimate, should hold the sport guided fleet to the 2018 quota for the area.