Upcoming Meetings

99th Session of the IPHC Annual Meeting (AM099)

23-27 January 2023

Book your hotel room at the Fairmont Empress early to receive the best event rate!

17th Session of the IPHC Management Strategy Advisory Board (MSAB017) 

18-20 October 2022

23rd Session of the IPHC Research Advisory Board (RAB023)

29 November 2022

98th Session of the IPHC Interim Meeting (IM098)

30 November - 1 December 2022

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New IPHC Commissioner appointed

Mr. Jon Kurland was appointed to the IPHC on 12 September 2022 as the U.S.A. Government Commissioner filling the seat previously occupied by Mr. Glenn Merrill. Commissioner Kurland is the current Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region and has been with NOAA since 1990. He has held several leadership positions and has worked closely with habitat conservation and protected resources interests.

What's New at IPHC

This newsletter is the first in a quarterly series that will highlight current IPHC activities, provide spotlight interviews with Secretariat members and industry professionals, and serve as a reminder for upcoming meetings and events. 

This summer, the IPHC has been back to near-normal function following the decreased in-person activities because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The fishery-independent setline survey (FISS) and field research were successfully conducted, the IPHC Secretariat welcomed a new Assistant Director, and Mr. Jon Kurland was appointed as a U.S.A. Commissioner. Read on to learn more.

Providing the best possible scientific advice to decision-makers

This year, the IPHC Secretariat created the 5-Year Program of Integrated Research and Monitoring (2022-26) (aka "the Plan" linked below). The Plan builds on the previous 5-Year Biological and Ecosystem Science Research Plan (2017-21). The purpose of the Plan is to guide the Commission and Secretariat in integrating among the various research, monitoring, and support activities to ensure that resources are allocated where they need to be and as efficiently as possible. Ultimately, this will improve knowledge of key inputs into the Pacific halibut stock assessment and the Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) processes, ensuring that the best possible advice is available to stakeholders and Commissioners for management decisions.

5-Year Plan


Today's fisheries for Pacific halibut come in many forms. The goal for the Pacific halibut stock assessment is to account for all removals from the stock. Fishery removal information is received from other agencies, tribal biologists, processing plants, and from harvesters landing fish at the dock. 

As of the 30 August 2022, a total of 1,810 logs had been collected from commercial landings (for both current and past years) by Secretariat in the field, and 8,078 otoliths had been collected from landed fish. The IPHC website includes a large amount of information on these various removals that can be accessed by clicking the button below. 

Fisheries information

Stock Assessment Update

As of September, data continue to be received from the field and this year's stock assessment has not yet taken place. However, ensuring the models are providing the most reliable and accurate information is in the best interest of all involved. The Pacific halibut stock assessment scientific review process is on a three year cycle. The in-between years include minor updates to the models and data, but every third year, there is a full examination of the input data, model structure, and methods for providing management information. This year (2022) is a full examination year. The proposed improvements were discussed during the June Scientific Review Board meeting (SRB020), and include such things as reconsidering the treatment of marine mammal depredation, and how to best represent natural mortality (the rate at which fish die from natural causes) in the models. A response to recommendations from June and final refinements for the 2022 assessment were presented at SRB021, and can be accessed at the button below.

2022 Stock Assessment Development

Fishery Independent Setline Survey (FISS) is a wrap

Final hooks were pulled out of the water on 15 September to complete fishing for the 2022 FISS. A total of 911 stations were fished off the coasts of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon out of a planned 1,188 stations.

Both biological and oceanographic data were collected that will help to inform the Pacific halibut stock assessment, the Management Strategy Evaluation, and other projects.

The vessels that performed the work included: F/V Devotion, F/V Bold Pursuit, F/V Kema Sue, F/V Pacific Surveyor, F/V Pender Isle, F/V St Nicholas, F/V Star Wars II, and F/V Vanisle

Click the button below for the FISS interactive tool that includes FISS data from past years and is expected to be updated with 2022 data by early November.

FISS Interactive Tool

Chickens are delicious - Andrea in Juneau in the summer of 2022 following a recreational fishing trip and right before starting at the IPHC.

Secretariat Spotlight

Andrea Keikkala - Assistant Director

Andrea joined the staff of the IPHC on 5 July 2022. She is a member of the senior management team and provides direct management oversight and leadership for the internal operations of the organization. We sat down with Andrea to get to know her a little better and here is what she had to say. 

Q. Can you tell us a little about your background? 

A. I was raised in Juneau, Alaska and went to school at Gonzaga University (Go Bulldogs). I have a couple of graduate degrees; my most recent master’s is in Organizational Leadership, and I hold a HR Management certificate from Cornell. I have lived in Washington for almost 15 years.  I started my career right out of college in the office of Alaska State Senator Stedman who continues to represent communities in SE Alaska today. I built my career leading Chambers of Commerce in Sitka, AK and Kent, WA. Most recently I led an educational not-for-profit with an international reach. I am incredibly proud of the impact this organization was able to accomplish throughout the pandemic and the hundreds of youth we served. 

Q. Why did you choose the IPHC?

A. It is an honor to work for IPHC and contribute to the work the organization is doing. Having grown up sport fishing for Pacific halibut, along with many friends in the commercial and charter industry I have a deep respect for the mission of the organization and the work we do. My first introduction to the IPHC was almost two decades ago while I was the Executive Director of the Sitka Chamber of Commerce.  When the opportunity to be part of this organization presented itself, I jumped at the chance to make a sustainable impact and join the already robust and well led team. 

Q. What do you hope to accomplish at the IPHC?

A. I hope to be a contributing member of the team bringing my expertise in organizational leadership, financial management, efficiencies, and HR. Having been trained in lean management I hope to provide continuous improvement for the organization to support the work IPHC is doing for years to come. 

Q. What kinds of things do you like to do in your free time away from work?

A. I enjoy lots of outdoor activity from skiing every weekend in the winter to hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing in the summer and fall. I own a beautiful log house and large yard that takes copious amounts of work, so I also enjoy gardening and home projects.

Click the button below for information about others working at IPHC.

Secretariat Profiles

Biological and Ecosystem Research

Research activities at IPHC are organized into five areas outlined in the 5-year Plan. Following are some highlights.

Understanding movement by tagging (Area: Migration and Population Dynamics) - In 2015, the IPHC began tagging and releasing small Pacific halibut (< 32 inches or 82 cm) encountered on the FISS and NMFS trawl surveys. As of 28 July 2022, a total of 13,862 fish have been tagged and 213 of those tags have been recovered.

Defining the genetic structure of the Pacific halibut population (Area: Migration and Population Dynamics) – Low coverage whole genome resequencing of genetic samples from spawning groups in the Gulf of Alaska, eastern Bering Sea, and the Aleutian Islands has been completed and population genomic analyses leveraging the recently sequenced Pacific halibut genome are in progress. Project funded by NPRB. 

Commercial fishery sex ratio (Area: Reproduction) - With the help of two undergraduate interns, we processed genetic samples (fin clips) from the commercial fishery for 2021 bringing the total to five years of available commercial sex-ratio data.

Update of maturity schedules (Area: Reproduction) - This summer on the FISS, we collected ovarian samples throughout the survey area. These will be analyzed histologically this Fall. 

Estimation of discard mortality rates (DMRs) in charter recreational sector (Area: Mortality and Survival Assessment) - With the use of electronic accelerometer-based survivorship pop-up archival transmitting (sPAT) tags on recreationally caught and released fish, a DMR was estimated at 2.04% with a 95% confidence level of 0.0-5.92%. Currently, physiological stress indicators in captured and discarded fish are being investigated to link stress level to survival outcomes. 

Whale depredation avoidance strategies (Area: Fishing Technology) - The IPHC Secretariat, with funding from BREP, is designing two different longline catch protection devices that will be tested in the field in Spring 2023.

Read more about these projects and others in The 5-YearPlan linked below.

5-Year Plan

Oceanographic data now available

Since 2009, water column temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, pH, and chlorophyll a concentration has been collected annually during the FISS. Those data (through 2021) are now available for download.

Click below to download the data and documentation. 

Oceanographic Data

IPHC Data Highlight

Did you know that the oldest documented Pacific halibut was 55 years-old? That means if it was caught today, that fish would have been born back in 1967. That is a long-time swimming around the ocean feeding and avoiding capture! Using the IPHC Pacific Halibut Cohort Tool you can explore how many fish were caught in one year on the IPHC FISS and when they were born, between 1979 and 2021. Watch generations of Pacific halibut come and go, explore where the oldest fish live on the Pacific coast, and compare age year class differences between sexes and much more. To explore the IPHC Pacific Halibut Cohort Tool, click the link below.

Pacific Halibut Cohort Tool
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