Saturday, August 15, 2015
Halibut Fishing in Alaska
Halibut fishing within Alaska is done by the long-line method. This means that a boat drops an anchor to the seabed with a line that runs to the surface and attaches to floating buoys or markers, with another line that travels along the seabed for a distance to another anchor. In between anchors this line usually has baited hooks about 32 feet apart.
Halibut are a species of flat fish and are bottom feeders, meaning they generally are found in deep coastal waters. One side of a halibut (bottom side) is white and the other side (top) is a darker color. They lay on their white side down and wait for prey to swim above them, then they emerge and swallow their prey.
U.S. regulators allocate a quota amount proportional to the total allowable catch for each fisherman who purchases an amount. It has become a very regulated and monitored fishery within the past decade as halibut numbers have dropped significantly as they are a very high quality fish and have been highly targeted by sport fisheries and tourists who prize big catches.
Halibut become illegal to keep if they do not measure a certain length and are too small. Halibut can also become very big and have been weighed to be up to 400 pounds. The longline is collected back to the boat by hydraulic means, which pulls and coils the line while someone at the side of the boat unsnaps hooks from the line and pulls fish in.