British Columbia Halibut Season Opens March 1st

Category(s):
    RECREATIONAL - Fin Fish (Other than Salmon)

    Fishery Notice - Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Subject: FN0158-Recreational - Fin Fish -
Halibut: 2019 Fishery Opening March 1, 2019 and
Management Measures in Effect Until March 31, 2019

For 2019, the recreational fishery allocation is 890,013 pounds.
The following measures will be in effect as noted below. 

Further updates on the fishing regulations for April 1, 2019
will be provided 
later in March 2019.

Coast-wide:

Open time:
Effective at 00:01 hours March 1, 2019 fishing for halibut will be opened
coast- wide until further notice.

Licensing:
The 2018/2019 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licenses and Conditions of License, 
remain in effect until 23:59 hours March 31, 2019.

Limits and sizes:
Effective March 1, 2019 until further notice:
-The maximum length for halibut is 115 cm.
-The daily limit for halibut is one (1). 
-The possession limit for halibut is two (2), only one (1) of which may be
over 83 cm in length.
-The annual limit is six (6) halibut per license holder, as set out on the 
2018/2019 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing License.
-All halibut retained by the license holder shall be immediately recorded on 
the 2018/2019 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing License. The area from which each 
halibut is caught and its length (head-on) shall immediately be recorded on
the license.

The exceptions to these openings are:

Areas 121:
No person shall fish for or retain halibut, rockfish and lingcod in Area 121
outside the 12 nautical mile limit seaward of a line that begins at 48 degrees 
34.000 minutes and 125 degrees 17.386 minutes W and continues south easterly at 
a bearing of 116 degrees True to a point at 48 degrees 28.327 minutes and 125 
degrees 01.687 minutes W.

Area 121:
Closed to all finfish, year round in the waters of Swiftsure Bank, inside a 
line from 48 degrees 34.00 minutes N and 125 degrees 06.00 minutes W, thence to 
48 degrees 34.00 minutes N and 124 degrees 54.20 minutes W, thence to 48 
degrees 29.62 minutes N and 124 degrees 43.40 minutes W, thence following
the International Boundary between Canada and the U.S. to 48 degrees
29.55 minutes N and 124 degrees 56.20 minutes W, thence in a straight line
to the point of commencement.  

Variation Orders: 2019-RCT-079 (Close Time) and 2019-RFQ-080 (Quota)


Non-residents of Canada wishing to fish for and retain halibut in Management 
Areas 121, 23 and 123 must purchase an electronic licence through a Canadian
Independent Access Provider (IAP). Find an IAP location from our web page: 

http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/licence-permis/iap-fai-eng.html

Note: Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) and Glass Sponge Reef (GSR) closures 
remain in effect - refer to the following web pages for descriptions:

1) RCAs- 
http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/restricted-restreint-eng.html#rca
2) GSRs- 
http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/restricted-restreint-eng.html#sponge

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Contacts: Brad Beaith (South Coast) – (250)756-7190, Darren Chow (North Coast) –
 (250)627-3441, Jason Knight (250) 850-9370



Fisheries and Oceans Canada Operations Center - FN0158
Sent February 27, 2019 at 11:28
Visit us on the Web at http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

If you would like to unsubscribe, please submit your request at:
http://www-ops2.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fns-sap/index-eng.cfm?pg=manage_subscription

If you have any questions, please contact us via e-mail to:
DFO.OpsCentreFisheryPacific-CentreOpsPechePacifique.MPO@canada.ca
Posted in 2019 Canadian Halibut Season, British Columbia 2019 Halibut Fishing Season, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

IPHC Commission Sets 4 Year Halibut Quota For Area 2A

The IPHC Commission today approved a four year halibut quota of 1.65 million pounds TECY for 2019 through 2022. Prior to the 95th annual IPHC meeting in Victoria the Makah Tribe in Neah Bay submitted a written proposal for Area 2A to receive 1.65 TCEY million pounds of quota prior to the IPHC meeting. Their proposal benefited all of Area 2A including California, Oregon and Washington. Their basis for the long term quota strategy would solve several unique issues in Area 2A, most notably the Treaty Tribe rights which guarantees the Tribes a harvest of 35% of the allowable harvest. This number is derived from the 1974 Boldt decision that grants the Treaty Tribes co-manager status and 50% of harvested fish. Because only 70% of the halibut in 2A are within “Usual And Customary” grounds the Tribes were given 35% of the harvestable quota.

The tribes choose to submit this regulatory proposal in hopes of not taking quota from other user groups and working together with all user groups in the area. Several of the Makah fisheries managers I spoke with were adamant that everyone in Area 2A should benefit from their proposal. Their proposal also had support from the IPHC fisheries managers.

Everyone here at the meeting from Area 2A is proud to have worked with all users groups in unity and grateful to the IPHC Commission for recognizing Area 2A’s unique situation and siding with the Makah’s and other representatives to create a long-term solution to stabilize the halibut fishery for all user groups.

Projected Washington sport fishing quota of about 277,000 pounds, an increase of roughly 52,000 pounds as follows.

Puget Sound — 77,549 pounds

North Coast (Neah Bay La Push) — 128,187 pounds

South Coast — 62,894 pounds

Columbia River (Ilwaco) — 8,467 pounds

Posted in 2019 Pacific Halibut Quotas By Area, Area 2A Halibut Quotas Announced, Halibut Politics, IPHC Halibut Area 2A, Uncategorized, Washington Halibut Regs, Washington State Halibut Quotas 2019 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

IPHC Announces Pacific Halibut Quota For U.S. and Canada

Dateline: Victoria Canada, February 1st 2019

Today at the 95th annual meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission meeting the commission consisting of three United States commissioners and three from Canada announced coast wide quotas.

iphc zonesArea 2A (California, Oregon & Washington) 1.65 M lb

Area 2B (Canada) 6.83

Area 2C (Southeast Alaska) 6.34

Area 3A (South Central Alaska) 13.5

Area 3B 2.9

Area 4A 1.94

Area 4B 1.45

Area 4CDE 4

Total TCEY all areas = 38.61 (M lb)

Posted in 2019 Pacific Halibut Quotas By Area, Halibut Politics, Internation Pacific Halibut Commission Meeting, IPHC, IPHC Halibut Area 2A, Uncategorized, Washington Halibut Fishing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Halibut Bycatch is Destroying Halibut Populations Coast Wide

iphc zonesDuring today’s IPHC Conference Board meeting the Trawl fleet from Areas 4A, B, C, D & E explained their efforts to reduce bycatch on their 19 vessels. They told of deck sorting and other methods to reduce mortality rates. After the presentation they took questions from the Conference Board. My question was simple, would they keep their vessels out of the IPHC closed zone in Area 4E. This area was created in the 1970s because it is a halibut nursery filled with juvenile halibut that weigh 4 to 6 pounds. No user group within the International Pacific Halibut Commission authority can fish in this zone. The zone was put into place as a conservation measure and for the future of halibut stocks.

Of course the representative for these vessels said no they would not commit to keeping their vessels out of the zone. They further said they typically move when they encounter high numbers of halibut. I further urged them to look at bycatch numbers from 2017 and rethink their position and consider conservation and keep out of the area. In 2017 the fleet had a bycatch of 319,000 halibut in the closed zone — the future of halibut recruits in the fishery.

Last year this group of vessels encountered 2,483 metric tons of halibut of which half were returned to the water supposedly alive. Their mortality rate on halibut for just these vessels was 3.2 million pounds of dead halibut. When asked by another Conference Board member if they knew or could tell us the number of halibut instead of pounds of halibut they said they had the number but did not have it available. In reality measuring in metric tons or pounds is obscene in my opinion. If the public realized the trawl fishery is actually killing hundreds of thousands of small immature halibut they would be shocked into action. For instance, if you kill one ton of halibut as bycatch it sounds bad but not nearly as bad as the actual number of halibut that weigh just 5 pounds. In this example it would be 400 dead halibut. When you add up the millions of pounds of bycatch the numbers skyrocket.

So here we are at the IPHC talking about harvest levels, shrinking halibut sizes, shrinking breeding biomass and other nerdy numbers that are hard to follow. From my viewpoint the answer is simple, eliminate destructive trawl fisheries that are destroying our halibut and other groundfish stocks. But that won’t happen because the trawl fleet is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Posted in Halibut Bycatch, Halibut Politics, Internation Pacific Halibut Commission Meeting, IPHC, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Halibut Area 2A, Washington, Oregon & California Fighting For More Quota in 2019

iphc logo

hali1Area 2A is unique within the International Pacific Halibut Commission area because of the 13 Treaty Tribes that have fishing rights through Treaties and backed by court rulings. The Makah Tribe in Neah Bay submitted a written proposal for Area 2A to receive 1.5 million pounds of quota. Prior to the IPHC meeting several people and groups have endorsed this proposal, including Dave Croonquist and myself. During yesterday’s U.S. meeting the Tribe’s testified in support of their proposal as well as numerous others from California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Our three Commissioners also recognized Area 2A’s uniqueness because of the Treaties.

Because of a catch sharing plan between Tribes, commercials and sports anglers, any increase in quota will result in more fishing days/quota for Washington sport anglers as well as sport anglers in California and Oregon. The catch sharing plan allocates 35% of the Area 2A TAC (Total Allowable Catch) to U.S. treaty Indian Tribes in the State of Washington and 65% to non-Indian fisheries in Area 2A.

Simply put, an increase in quota helps everyone within the 2A IPHC area, not just the Tribes. Therefore we must support the Makah’s proposal of 1.5 million pounds for Area 2A. Some might wonder if the area can withstand this level of harvest. According to Tribal fisheries managers they say yes.

“The Makah proposal for at FCEY (Fishery Constant Exploitation Yield) of 1.5 Mlbs, corresponding to a TCEY (Total Constant Exploitation Yield) of 1.65 Mlbs, that would benefit the entire area of 2A is based on historic removals from area 2A as well as current setline survey WPUE. In previous years with similar setline survey WPUE our catch area has supported maximum total removal of just over 2 million pounds without a substantial change of biomass within area 2A.” explains Joe Petersen, Makah Groundfish Biologist.

“For reference in the period of 2002-2008 the average TCEY in area 2A was 1,794,000 lbs with a corresponding survey WPUE (Weight Per Unit Effort) of 23.8 lbs. From 2009-present the average TCEY was 1,270,000 with an average corresponding survey WPUE of 22.7 lbs. This represents a 30% reduction in quota with only a 4.7% reduction in survey WPUE. If the harvest levels had been to high from 2002-2008 one would expect to have seen some evidence of that in declining survey WPUE.”

Also note, last year the IPHC setline survey showed few halibut off the Washington Coast because of the hypoxia event which resulted in an overall reduced quota recommendation. The argument from Tribal fisheries managers and the sports fishing community was simple — the survey took place during summer months after typical halibut harvest times and during an anomaly not consistent with the Washington Coast. Last year’s setline survey rebounded and showed increased numbers of halibut which we believe will support a quota of 1.5 million quota.

Overall last year’s setline survey showed slightly higher numbers of halibut compared to 2018. The increase in halibut was likely due to “recruits” from six year old halibut entering the catch and from expanded areas in the setline survey.

If the IPHC approves the Makah proposal of 1.5 million pounds of quota it would result in a Washington sport fishing quota of about 277,000 pounds, an increase of roughly 52,000 pounds as follows.

Puget Sound — 77,549 pounds

North Coast (Neah Bay La Push) — 128,187 pounds

South Coast — 62,894 pounds

Columbia River (Ilwaco) — 8,467 pounds

The above numbers are estimates only and not yet agreed upon by IPHC. This is what the delegation from Area 2A is working to achieve while still supporting conservation and sustainability of the resource. As developments occur I will keep everyone informed.

John Beath

Posted in Halibut Politics, Internation Pacific Halibut Commission Meeting, IPHC, IPHC Halibut Area 2A, Puget Sound Halibut Fishing, Strait of Juan de Fuca Halibut Fishing, Uncategorized, Washington Halibut Fishing, Washington State Halibut Quotas 2019 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

IPHC Setline Survey Data 2018 Shows Stock Assessment of Pacific Halibut Sizes of Halibut Are Shrinking!

set line survey

Each year the International Pacific Halibut Commission conducts a setline survey. The above map shows a series of dots or “Stations” that the contracted long line vessels dropped long line skates with hooks spread 18 feet apart. Bait used was all the same throughout the survey, #2 semi-bright chum salmon. These surveys determine the health of the overall stock throughout the Pacific Halibut range.

All totaled, the setline survey caught and kept 819,975 pounds of halibut and sold it for $4,706,403.00 which pays for the survey effort.

The setline survey shows the catch rate via numbers of halibut caught for each area targeted with the long lines. As a sports angler this information is fascinating if you spend the time to investigate. The IPHC Set Line Survey Interactive Map https://iphc.int/data/fiss-data-query offers invaluable data. Once on the link watch the video on how to use the interactive map and then click on each dot where the survey was done. The catch data will show on the right side of the page. This data reveals some interesting data of halibut populations and which spots contain the highest numbers of halibut.

washington hypoxia

In 2017 a massive hypoxia event occurred off the coast of Washington resulting in almost no halibut present in the purple area during the setline survey. In 2018 there was no hypoxia event and the halibut returned which bodes well for Washington halibut anglers.

Last year’s setline survey revealed the following

  • Fishery and modeled survey trends down coast wide
  • Biomass estimates are slightly larger than from last year’s assessment, and observations of incoming recruits further reduced estimated fishing intensity
  • Spawning biomass still estimated to be decreasing and projected to decrease
  • Overall halibut sizes are decreasing as shown in the graph below

size chart

spawning halibut biomass

“We are now down to the lowest numbers of halibut in our set line survey since the 1990’s,” said Dr. Ian Stewart from IPHC

I’ll keep all of you updated as the IPHC meetings this week continue. These meetings should result in seasons and quotas.

Posted in Halibut Politics, Internation Pacific Halibut Commission Meeting, IPHC, Puget Sound Halibut Fishing, Strait of Juan de Fuca Halibut Fishing, Uncategorized, Washington Halibut Fishing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Puget Sound Halibut Anglers Get Five More Days fishing June 7, 9, 16, 21 & 23 2018

Tom-FATSquid smMarine areas 3-10 to re-open for halibut fishing;
all-depth halibut fishery in Marine Area 2 to close

Action: Marine areas 3 through 10 will re-open for halibut fishing Thursday, June 7, Saturday, June 9 and June 16, 21 & 23.

In Marine Area 2, the all-depth halibut fishery is closed effective immediately while the nearshore fishery will open seven days per week beginning Saturday, June 2.

Effective dates and locations:

Marine Areas 3-10: Open recreational halibut fishing Thursday, June 7, and Saturday, June 9.

Marine Area 2 (Westport): Close the all-depth fishery effective immediately; open the nearshore area seven days per week beginning Saturday, June 2.

Species affected: Pacific halibut

Reason for action: There is sufficient quota remaining to continue the recreational halibut fishery in Marine Areas 3 and 4 (Neah Bay and La Push) and the Puget Sound region (Marine Areas 5 – 10) on Thursday, June 7, and Saturday, June 9, without risk of exceeding the quota.

Through May 27, the total catch in the all-depth recreational halibut fishery in Marine Area 2 was 41,258 pounds, which is 93 percent of the quota and does not leave sufficient quota to open the all-depth halibut fishery for another day. However, some quota is reserved in this area to allow for a nearshore recreational halibut fishery once the all-depth fishery is closed. The nearshore area will open to recreational halibut fishing on Saturday, June 2, seven days per week until the quota is taken. The quota will be adjusted to include the remaining quota from the all-depth fishery.

Other information: The nearshore halibut fishery in Marine Area 1 remains open seven days per week until further notice.

These rules conform to management actions taken by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Information contact: Heather Reed, (360) 902-2487.

 

Posted in Puget Sound Halibut Fishing, Strait of Juan de Fuca Halibut Fishing, Uncategorized, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Washington Halibut Fishing, Washington Halibut Regs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment