B.C.’s commercial halibut season has been extended three weeks due to market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) said the closure, normally scheduled for Nov. 15, will now fall on Dec. 7 for the 2020 season.
All groundfish hook-and-line harvesters wanting to participate in the extended halibut season will need to have the conditions of their licence amended prior to fishing past the original November closure.
Additional sector-specific instructions on how to request the amendment will be forthcoming, DFO stated. However the department noted all harvests after Nov. 15 will need to be landed at one of three designated port areas in Vancouver, Prince Rupert, or Port Hardy to be validated by DFO-designated dockside observer by Dec. 14.
The landed prices of most Pacific fish harvests has fallen between 25 per cent and 40 per cent this summer, reflecting a loss of exports to food service markets, according to the BC Seafood Alliance. Meanwhile, costs to harvest, process and ship products have escalated as the sector tries to meet COVID-19 safety protocols.
While the season will last a little longer this year, last week DFO expanded on areas closed to halibut, arrowtooth and flounder harvests in Queen Charlotte Sound as part of a temporary management measure during spawning.
The year-round pilot bottom-trawl closure was first implemented in March last year.