Washingon’s Puget Sound Halibut Season Opens Wednesday May 20

00009Washington State’s Puget Sound sport halibut season finally opens Wednesday, May 20th and will remain open on an every other day season through June 30th or when the Puget Sound sport halibut quota of 77,000 pounds is caught.

Last year sports anglers failed to catch all of their 77,000 pound quota and left almost half their quota uncaught.

Areas open include Marine Area 5, (Sekiu), and Areas 6 through 10.

Puget Sound Sport Halibut Days Open

May 20 — Wednesday

May 22 — Friday

May 24 — Sunday

May 26 — Tuesday

May 28 — Thursday

May 30 — Saturday

June 1 — Monday

June 3 — Wednesday

June 5 — Friday

June 7 — Sunday

June 9 — Tuesday

June 11 — Thursday

June 13 — Saturday

June 15 — Monday

June 17 — Wednesday

June 19 — Friday

June 21 — Sunday

June 23 — Tuesday

June 25 — Thursday

June 27 — Saturday

June 29 — Monday

 

NEWS RELEASE

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
May 18, 2020
Fish Program Contact: Heather Hall, 360-902-2487
Public Affairs Contact: Eryn Couch, 360-890-6604

Puget Sound Halibut fishery to open for select dates starting May 20

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today the expected dates of this year’s Puget Sound halibut fishing season, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The halibut fishery will open in Marine Areas 5 through 10 beginning May 20 through June 30 on alternating days. The season structure was revised from what was originally planned to allow the halibut fishery to proceed in a manner that is consistent with the guidelines to limit travel. Anglers are encouraged to participate in these dates only if they can do so locally as part of a day trip, while also practicing physical distancing.

“In talking with public health officials and our partners at Washington’s ports, we think we’ve found a balance between being able to provide these opportunities and bring that value back into these communities, while also continuing to prioritize public health,” Larry Phillips, WDFW coastal region director. “These dates depend on anglers continuing to get outdoors responsibly – something we know folks can do because we’ve seen a lot of great examples of it these last couple of weeks.”

Anglers should only venture out well-prepared. WDFW is also recommending that people bring their own needs for personal hygiene; for example, handwashing materials, toilet paper, and face masks or bandanas. People are also reminded to be prepared to change plans if access sites are congested. Fishers are also reminded to check ahead to ensure that your intended access site is open and be aware of some local alternatives. Anglers should be aware that the Port of Neah Bay is closed to the public, there is no moorage or fuel available at that location.

Similar to last year, anglers fishing for halibut in Marine Area 6 will not be able to retain lingcod incidentally caught when fishing for halibut seaward of the 120-foot depth boundary. The depth restriction is designed to protect rockfish species, including yelloweye rockfish, which are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

However, lingcod retention will still be allowed seaward of the 120-foot depth restriction in Marine Area 5, which is outside of the area where yelloweye rockfish are listed.

In all marine areas open to halibut fishing, there is a one-fish daily catch limit and no minimum size restriction. Anglers may possess a maximum of two halibut in any form while in the field and must record their catch on a WDFW halibut catch record card. There is an annual limit of four halibut. Recreational fishery samplers will be available to collect catch information at fishing access sites throughout Puget Sound while practicing physical distancing guidelines.

Because halibut fisheries are managed to a quota, anglers should check the WDFW website to ensure a specific area is open prior to fishing. Complete information on recreational halibut regulations and seasons is available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut.

Season details are listed below.

2020 Puget Sound halibut seasons

  • Marine Areas 5 – 10 will open May 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, June 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29.
  • Puget Sound will be managed to an overall quota of 77,550 pounds as long as there is sufficient quota.
  • Marine Areas 11, 12, and 13 will remain closed to halibut fishing to protect threatened and endangered rockfish species.

2020 Pacific Coast halibut seasons

  • Marine Areas 1 – 4: will remain closed for now, WDFW will continue to work with public health officials and partners at coastal Washington ports to develop a halibut season opening plan for coastal marine areas.

 

Posted in 2020 Washington Sport Halibut Fishing Season, Halibut Politics, Puget Sound Halibut Fishing, Uncategorized, Washington Halibut Fishing, Washington Halibut Regs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Can You Legally Use Sport-Caught Trout For Halibut Fishing Bait?

Trout For Halibut Bait

Did you know halibut absolutely LOVE trout? They do and it is one of the best baits you can use to attract halibut to your hook.

Recently I posted this picture of sport-caught trout from a local lake with the title, “Perfect sized trout for halibut bait.”

As you can imagine, several private messages pinged my phone telling me it is illegal to use sport-caught trout for halibut. However, I knew better but decided to be cautious and e-mail WDFW Fishing Regs via this address fishregs@dfw.wa.gov

Here’s the e-mail I received today.

from: Fishing Regulations (DFW) fishregs@dfw.wa.gov
to: “John L. Beath”
date: May 14, 2020, 8:50 AM
subject: RE: Halibut fishing bait question
mailed-by: dfw.wa.gov
signed-by: wa.gov

Good Morning John,

Yes, it is legal to use sport caught trout for bait for halibut.

Tight lines,

Washington Dept of Fish & Wildlife

Fish program

Also note, in the Washington Department of Fish & Game Pamphlet, on page 4,  second paragraph from bottom left it reads as follows under the “You May Not:

“Use salmon, herring, or halibut for anything other than human consumption or fishing bait.”

Hopefully this settles the debate whether sport halibut anglers can use sport-caught trout, salmon, herring or halibut for fishing bait.

Good luck this season,

John L. Beath, editor, Halibut Chronicles.com

Posted in 2020 Washington Sport Halibut Fishing Season, Halibut Fishing Tackle, Halibut Fishing Tips, Is it legal to use trout for halibut bait in Washington?, Puget Sound Halibut Fishing, Strait of Juan de Fuca Halibut Fishing, Uncategorized, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Washington Halibut Fishing, Washington Halibut Maps, Washington Halibut Regs | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proposed 2020 Washington Sport Halibut Fishing Season

Washington State’s 2020 proposed sport halibut fishing season looks extremely good. The Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife recently proposed a far better sport halibut season than the past few years. In past years sport anglers had fewer scheduled days and no fishing days between two open days. Seasons also typically began in early May. This year Puget Sound will open April 16th. The 2020 proposed season for Areas 5 to 10 allows anglers to fish Thursday, Friday & Saturday. Having three days in a row allows anglers more opportunity and convenience. Here’s the proposed season that still needs approval at upcoming PFMC meetings.

Puget Sound could have as many as 33 days to fish for halibut in 2020.  The bag limit will stay the same at four fish.  Puget Sound will be fishing Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with an additional 6 days in April for MA 6-10.  The only change for Puget Sound and the North coast (MA 3 and 4) will be a closure on May 21.  We’ll fish Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Memorial Day weekend).

The North Coast (MA 3 and 4) will open on April 30 with a Thursday and Saturday schedule. MA 5 will open April 30 with a Thursday, Friday, Saturday schedule.  The South Coast (MA 1 and 2 and Columbia River) will fish a Thursday and Sunday schedule as they have in the past.

As in the past, catch rates could drive an earlier closure.  Last year, Puget Sound left over 39,000 lbs on the table. Below is the proposed dates.

2020 Washington Halibut Season

Posted in 2020 Washington Sport Halibut Fishing Season, Puget Sound Halibut Fishing, Strait of Juan de Fuca Halibut Fishing, Uncategorized, Washington Halibut Fishing, Washington Halibut Maps, Washington Halibut Regs | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Customs & Border Patrol CBP-Roam App Is What CBP Wants Anglers To Use When Returning From Canadian Waters

After several calls to U.S. Customs & Border Patrol regarding fishing in Canadian waters and returning to U.S. waters I have some answers for anglers. Also note, when entering Canadian waters you do not need to call Canadian Customs unless you plan to anchor, go ashore or physically meet or touch another vessel. If you do plan to anchor YOU MUST call and get a clearance number at: 1-888-226-7277 this phone number is answered in Ottawa so don’t be surprised if they tell you you must go to port to clear customs. About half the time last year this happened to anglers. When it did they just said they would drift instead of anchoring. Remember, if you anchor you need a clearance number.

Now back to re-entering the U.S. after fishing in Canadian waters. The U.S. CBP officers I have spoken with said the following.

“We recommend anglers returning to U.S. waters either call us by phone or use the CBP-Roam App. If you don’t make the call or use the app and are contacted by the U.S. Coast Guard or WDFW they will require a clearance number. And, if you go fishing, crabbing or shrimping and acquire anything it is required that you MUST call us or use the CBP-Roam App.”

CBP Roam-1In other words, if you are successful in Canadian waters you MUST call 1-800-562-5943 or use the new CBP-Roam App. The app is awesome and uses your phone’s GPS, which must be turned on to allow the app to know where you are. You can only use the app when in U.S. waters. The app allows you to create an account and input your travel documents, passsport, Nexus or Enhanced Driver’s License. You can also have a list of contacts with your app to make it easy when using the app. The app requires you to take a picture of your documents for each person as well. Another cool feature is the video chat. If U.S. Custom’s officials want a face-to-face interview they simply switch on the video chat saving you from having to go to the Custom’s dock.

Also note, as stated below, the old Small Vessel Reporting System is no longer in use.

Please read the text below explaining the new CBP-Roam App and how it works.

CBP Reporting Offsite Arrival – Mobile (ROAM)

Beginning September 5, 2018, SVRS will no longer be in service and float plans will no longer be accepted. Boaters looking for a new, faster way to report their arrival and/or apply for a registered boater program may use the CBP ROAM app, available for free on the Apple App and Google Play stores. Boaters may also continue to report their arrival via designated telephone reporting numbers, if desired.

As part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) comprehensive effort to improve the security of our nation’s borders while enhancing legitimate travel, CBP has launched the CBP Reporting Offsite Arrival – Mobile (ROAM) app.

Pleasure Boat Reporting Requirements

Pursuant to 19 CFR 4.2, operators of small pleasure vessels, arriving in the United States from a foreign port or place to include any vessel which has visited a hovering vessel or received merchandise outside the territorial sea, are required to report their arrival to CBP immediately (see 19 U.S.C. 1433).

The master of the vessel reports their arrival at the nearest Customs facility or such other place as the Secretary may prescribe by regulations. These reports are tracked in the Pleasure Boat Reporting System. Pursuant to 8 CFR 235.1, an application to lawfully enter the United States must be made in person to a CBP officer at a U.S. Port of Entry (POE) when the port is open for inspection.
Click here for more information on CBP reporting requirements.

Overview of  CBP ROAM APP

The CBP ROAM app is a free mobile application that provides an option for pleasure boaters to report their U.S. entry to CBP via their personal smart device or a tablet located at local businesses to satisfy the above reporting requirements. In limited areas, travelers arriving in remote locations may also be eligible to use the CBP ROAM app. Contact your local POE to confirm arrival notifications via the CBP ROAM app are accepted.

The CBP ROAM app also qualifies as an Alternative Inspection System that satisfies the boat operator’s legal requirement to report for
face-to-face inspection in accordance with 8 CFR 235.1 with some exceptions:

  • Travelers who require an I-94;
  • Travelers who wish to obtain a cruising license;
  • Travelers who must pay duties on imported goods; and
  • Other circumstances as applicable.

To use the CBP ROAM app, travelers input their biographic, conveyance, and trip details and submit their trip for CBP Officer (CBPO) review. The CBPO may initiate a video chat to further interview travelers. Once the CBPO reviews the trip, travelers will receive a push notification and an email with their admissibility decision and next steps, if applicable. Travelers using the CBP ROAM app may use the app to apply to become Verified Travelers (which includes existing LBO, SVRS, and I-68 numbers) and receive expedited processing on future arrivals.

Getting Started

Travelers should download the CBP ROAM app on their web-enabled smart device. Note that a free login.gov account is required to use the CBP ROAM app. After opening the CBP ROAM app, tap “Sign In”.

  • Travelers who do not have a login.gov account should “Create an account” and follow the instructions
  • Travelers who already have a login.gov account should sign into their existing account, and will be redirected back
    to the CBP ROAM app

After signing in to the CBP ROAM app, users can create and save traveler and conveyance profiles. These profiles can be reused for repeat entry into the United States.

Availability

To use CBP ROAM on your personal smart device, download the app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. In certain locations, the CBP ROAM app can also be accessed on tablets at partner locations.

For any questions or concerns about the CBP ROAM app, please email us at  cbproam@cbp.dhs.gov.

Posted in Canada Halibut Fishing, Canadian Fishing Regulations, Customs and Border Patrol Roam App, How to Legally Fish Canada From U.S. Port, How to legally fish Canadian waters, How to legally return to Washington after fishing Canadian waters, Requirements to legally fish British Columbia waters and return to Washington, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

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