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IPHC Media Release 2020-030 A Resounding Success – Completion of the IPHC Fishery-Independent Setline Survey (FISS)

24 September 2020

SEATTLE – The IPHC has successfully completed its 2020 Fishery-Independent Setline Survey (FISS) with the last hooks out of the water on 9 September and final offloads taking place on 10 September 2020.

We estimate that we sampled approximately 70% of the standing stock biomass of Pacific halibut in the Convention Area, which places the 2020 FISS on a similar level or better than many previous years. Over the core of the stock distribution, sampling in 2020 produced the most data-rich setline-survey in the IPHC’s history. Despite planned gaps in coverage at the northern and southern ends of the distribution, the 2020 FISS produced a precise and reliable index of the Pacific halibut stock, providing the primary source of trend information for the 2020 stock assessment and the basis for the 2021 management decision making process.

All of the IPHC field staff (Setline Survey Specialists) have been returned home, have undergone their final period of local quarantine, and we are very pleased to say that we have had no health concerns or COVID-19 interactions among staff or crew. This was largely due to the rigorous COVID-19 mitigation procedures put in place prior to the season and active compliance. For that, we are thankful to all involved.

The 2020 FISS was a great success, meeting both our scientific requirements and maintaining our economic goal of long-term revenue neutrality.

The primary purpose of the FISS is to collect standardised fishery-independent data for use in the Pacific halibut stock assessment. These data are also used to study aspects of the Pacific halibut resource such as growth, distribution, biomass, age composition, sexual maturity, and relative abundance of other species. Please look for these 2020 data on our website ( mid-October of this year and at our 96th Interim Meeting (IM096) to be held 18-19 November 2020. (

To learn more about the IPHC FISS program, visit

IPHC Secretariat
International Pacific Halibut Commission
2320 W. Commodore Way, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98199-1287
206-634-1838 |


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