The International Pacific Halibut Commission met this week to discuss recommendations for catch limits for 2012 and future research projects . This was the interim meeting; the annual meeting will occur in Anchorage, January 24 - 27. In area 3B the catch is recommended to drop 32% from 7.5 million pounds in 2011 to just over 5 million pounds in 2012. You can find the IPHC recommendations for all areas here.
One research project of note is the Ichthyophonus Prevalence Pilot Study. Ichthyophonus is a internal parasite that can be found in all visceral organs and musculature of infected hosts. It has been isolated from over 80 fish species worldwide, and effects of infection vary greatly among individual and host species. IPHC scientists don't want to speculate, but agree that the parasite COULD be a cause of the low growth of halibut in the Pacific. Initially, the parasite has been found in 26.6% of halibut in the Bering Sea, 33.8% off the Oregon coast, and an alarming 76.7% of the halibut in Prince William Sound.