Biologists look at sustainable halibut catch

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Biologists for the International Pacific Halibut Commission say the sustainable halibut catch may be only half of its current level.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror (http://bit.ly/fPBLA5 ) says commission biologists presented their preliminary data Wednesday to the IPHC board at a meeting in Seattle. The board will make a final decision on 2012 catch limits at a meeting in Anchorage from Jan. 24-27.

Biologists say without adjusting for past overestimates, 2012's Pacific halibut limit would be set at 33 million pounds, down from 41 million pounds in 2011. If an adjustment was made for past overestimates, the sustainable catch limit may be as little as 15.3 million pounds across the entire North Pacific.

Biologists do not know why their estimates have been consistently too high.

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Information from: Kodiak Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com

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