Canadian Anchor Rules Changed!

4-25-2018 — Update: Today a friend called Canadian Customs and was issued a clearance number with no problems and was able to anchor without going to the Canadian Customs dock. It seems different agents have different rules or they are randomly, day to day requiring anglers to report to Customs if they are going to anchor. At least there’s hope. If you have not read yesterday’s post below, please do. Be prepared and know that when you call Canadian Customs for anchoring they might require you to go to the Canadian Customs dock, in which case you can tell them you will not anchor. Be ready to drift for halibut if they do.

If you have not read my previous post, please do. With regards to that post, dated April 23 2018, about anchoring for halibut in Canadian waters, I called Canadian Customs today and they indeed told me anyone who anchors MUST report in person to a Canadian Customs port, be inspected and then can go and anchor. I even asked about Nexus Cards, stating that was not the requirement in the past and that Nexus Cards should prevent having to report in person. No they said, “Even with the Nexus Card you will have to report in person to the Customs Dock,” the agent told me.

Another friend also called with the Canadian Custom’s reporting number with the same questions and he received the same answers. This could change in the future, but who knows, we are dealing with governments, foreign governments at that.

I think this new policy is in response to the conflict between the United States and Canada during this years International Pacific Halibut Commission. I was there, as part of the Conference Board, voting on proposals that would go to the six commissioners, three from the U.S. and three from Canada. For the second time in 94 years the two countries did not agree on proposals dealing with cuts because of lower halibut numbers.

Canadian fisheries managers did cut quotas for both sport and commercial. The sport maximum size reduced from last year’s 133 cm to 115 cm on April 1st this year. With less quota, I believe the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada is putting pressure on their Customs and Border Patrol to enforce the anchoring rules, which have always been in effect. Obtaining a Nexus Card use to enable anglers to simply call CAN PASS (Canadian Customs) and obtain a “Clearance” number without having to physically report. Please keep in mind, this is my opinion on their motives, but it makes sense. Why else would they suddenly change policy. Why else would they suddenly send their Customs and Border Patrol vessel to Coyote Bank (also known as Border Bank) demanding anchored vessels, whom already called for clearance numbers, to report to a Custom’s dock?

I will keep everyone posted as updates/changes occur. Next time I plan to go salmon fishing across the border I will call for a clearance number for anchoring and see what they say. Who knows, they might issue a number. If they say I must report in person I will tell them no thanks, I will just fish for salmon. Their new law, as of last July, allows U.S. boats to troll or drift without calling to notify Canadian Customs.

John L. Beath  4-24-2018

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Canadian Customs Out In Force Today!

FB_RHIBs_for_HM_Customs_GibraltarToday a friend decided to go fishing at Coyote Bank, aka “Border Bank” in Canadian waters. Upon calling into Canadian Customs because they were planning to anchor, the Custom’s agent on the phone told them they would have to report to either Victoria or Sydney for inspection, even though they had their Nexus cards and all paperwork in order.

They told the Canadian Customs official on the phone they would drift, which would not require them to report in person to a Canadian port.

I also just received an e-mail from another friend in Anacortes who went to Coyote Bank today. Here’s what he said.

Hi John, fished Coyote, was on a drift today other boat was anchored. Canadian Border Patrol came out, told boat on anchor to report to Victor customs, all paper in order made all call to custom with BR #. No guns / drugs / alcohol only fish gear. I know the guy they did this to, we went out together. Have Not herd from him yet. Any Idea why?

I have no idea why.

US CustomsToday the U.S. Customs & Border Patrol boat, with three BIG outboards fueled up at John Wayne Marina, so obviously both sides of the border are watching. Just not sure what is going on with Canadian side of border.

Just remember, if you plan to anchor you MUST call into Canadian Customs and receive a clearance number. If they request you report to a port just tell them no thanks, you will just drift or troll and you should be fine.

Borders are getting less restrictive and more restrictive at the same time. Go figure.

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US Custom’s Small Vessel Reporting Requirements Update

Nexus CardI recently fished Canadian waters and upon re-entering U.S. waters, as required by law, I called the US Custom’s Small Vessel Reporting Center in Bellingham. All aboard my vessel had Nexus cards, but they asked for our BR numbers (Boater Registration). The officer told me that a BR number MUST be associated with the Nexus card. They had a BR number on file for me, but as a passenger on my friend’s boat. Interesting.

The officer told me to call after 5 pm to get a BR number linked to my Nexus, which I have now accomplished. The phone call took a few minutes, but will save time in the future when I call the US Customs Small Boat Reporting number at 1-800-562-5943

If you currently have an I-68 your BR number is on the upper right hand portion of the document, just below your boat’s registration number. In short, if you have a Nexus card simply call the above number and get a BR number linked to your Nexus card.

Here’s what you need to fish Canadian waters and re-enter U.S. waters after fishing in Canadian waters.

Fishing Canada — What You Need To Know

  1. You MUST have a Passport, Enhanced Drivers License, or Nexus Card. Everyone aboard, including kids must have one of these.
  2. If fishing for salmon you MUST register online with WDFW at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/canadian_catcphp to retain salmon. If halibut fishing only, you do not register online with WDFW.
  3. You MUST call 1-888-226-7277 CAN PASS if you plan to anchor or go ashore and obtain a clearance number from Canadian Customs. Write this number down, as U.S. Customs will need this number upon re-entering U.S. waters
  4. You MUST have an I-68, Global Entry or Nexus Card to re-enter U.S. waters. When re-entering call 1-800-562-5943 Make sure to get a BR number linked to your Global Entry or Nexus card
  5. Do not have guns aboard your vessel while in Canadian waters.
  6. If you have fish aboard from Canadian waters you can’t fish U.S. waters unless your Canadian caught fish is legal in Washington waters, but you must still clear U.S. Customs before fishing U.S. waters
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Washington Sport Halibut Quota 2018

Here is a breakdown on the poundage quota for the 2018 sport halibut fishery in Washington waters.  This information is pulled from the Federal Register at:
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/03/26/2018-06049/pacific-halibut-fisheries-catch-sharing-plan

Also note, SB-6127 the Halibut Catch Record Card bill passed and was signed by the Governor and will be implemented in 2019. This year we have asked WDFW managers to have their license sales vendor re-program the point of sales system to not issue any free halibut catch record cards after July 1st, 2018 when there’s no chance of fishing for halibut. Hopefully this will give WDFW fisheries managers better numbers to figure out the actual sports catch. Once the new low-cost Halibut Catch Record Card law goes into effect it will drastically reduce the numbers of halibut anglers which we hope will reduce the sport catch estimates and give us more time on the water fishing for halibut.

This season, depending on estimated catch rates based on the creel checks, I’m anticipating we’ll have at least four days of fishing.
The IPHC couldn’t agree between the US and Canada on a harvest quota.  The result was a slight decrease for the 2A Catch Share Plan.  The Makah tribe took the lead in asking for a similar fishery to 2017.  Without their efforts, we might have seen a much more restrictive season.  Puget Sound Anglers and the Coastal Conservation Association supported the Makah recommendation at the IPHC meeting.

For comparison, here are the 2017 sport quotas for WA waters.  The sport share is down 13,017 lbs from 2017.  This is a result of a drop in the halibut population survey by the IPHC.

2017 Sport Halibut Quotas

Sport Puget Sound 64,962 Pounds
Sport WA North Coast 115,599 Pounds
Sport WA South Coast 50,307 Pounds
Sport Columbia River 12,799 Pounds

2018 Sport Halibut Quotas

Sport Puget Sound 60,995 pounds
Sport WA North Coast 111,632 pounds
Sport WA South Coast 46,341 pounds
Sport Columbia River 11,682 pounds
In section 27 of the annual domestic management measures, “Sport Fishing for Halibut—IPHC Regulatory Area 2A” Start Printed Page 13091paragraph (8) is revised to read as follows:

(8) * * *

(a) The quota for the area in Puget Sound and the U.S. waters in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, east of a line extending from 48°17.30′ N lat., 124°23.70′ W long., north to 48°24.10′ N. lat., 124°23.70′ W long., is 60,995 pounds.

(i) The fishing seasons are:

(A) Depending on available quota, fishing is open May 11, 13, 25, and 27; June 7, 9, 16, 21, 23, 28, and 30, or until there is not sufficient quota for another full day of fishing and the area is closed by the Commission. Any fishery opening will be announced on the NMFS hotline at 800-662-9825. No halibut fishing will be allowed unless the date is announced on the NMFS hotline.

(ii) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per person.

(b) The quota for landings into ports in the area off the north Washington coast, west of the line described in paragraph (2)(a) of section 26 and north of the Queets River (47°31.70′ N. lat.) (North Coast subarea), is 111,632 pounds.

(i) The fishing seasons are:

(A) Depending on available quota, fishing is open May 11, 13, 25, and 27; June 7, 9, 16, 21, 23, 28, and 30, or until there is not sufficient quota for another full day of fishing and the area is closed by the Commission. Any fishery opening will be announced on the NMFS hotline at 800-662-9825. No halibut fishing will be allowed unless the date is announced on the NMFS hotline.

(ii) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per person.

(iii) Recreational fishing for groundfish and halibut is prohibited within the North Coast Recreational Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area (YRCA). It is unlawful for recreational fishing vessels to take and retain, possess, or land halibut taken with recreational gear within the North Coast Recreational YRCA. A vessel fishing with recreational gear in the North Coast Recreational YRCA may not be in possession of any halibut. Recreational vessels may transit through the North Coast Recreational YRCA with or without halibut on board. The North Coast Recreational YRCA is a C-shaped area off the northern Washington coast intended to protect yelloweye rockfish. The North Coast Recreational YRCA is defined in groundfish regulations at 50 CFR 660.70(a).

(c) The quota for landings into ports in the area between the Queets River, WA (47°31.70′ N lat.), and Leadbetter Point, WA (46°38.17′ N lat.) (South Coast subarea), is 46, 341 pounds.

(i) This subarea is divided between the all-waters fishery (the Washington South coast primary fishery), and the incidental nearshore fishery in the area from 47°31.70′ N lat. south to 46°58.00′ N lat. and east of a boundary line approximating the 30 fm depth contour. This area is defined by straight lines connecting all of the following points in the order stated as described by the following coordinates (the Washington South coast, northern nearshore area):

(1) 47°31.70′ N lat., 124°37.03′ W. long,;

(2) 47°25.67′ N lat., 124°34.79′ W. long,;

(3) 47°12.82′ N lat., 124°29.12′ W. long,;

(4) 46°58.00′ N lat., 124°24.24′ W. long.

The south coast subarea quota will be allocated as follows: 44,341 pounds for the primary fishery and 2,000 pounds to the nearshore fishery. Depending on available quota, the primary fishery season dates are May 11, 13, 25, and 27; June 7, 9, 16, 21, 23, 28, and 30, or until there is not sufficient quota for another full day of fishing and the area is closed by the Commission. Any fishery opening will be announced on the NMFS hotline at 800-662-9825. No halibut fishing will be allowed unless the date is announced on the NMFS hotline. The fishing season in the nearshore area commences the Saturday subsequent to the closure of the primary fishery, and continues 7 days per week until 46,341 pounds is projected to be taken by the two fisheries combined and the fishery is closed by the Commission or September 30, whichever is earlier. If the fishery is closed prior to September 30, and there is insufficient quota remaining to reopen the northern nearshore area for another fishing day, then any remaining quota may be transferred in-season to another Washington coastal subarea by NMFS via an update to the recreational halibut hotline.

(ii) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per person.

(iii) Seaward of the boundary line approximating the 30-fm depth contour and during days open to the primary fishery, lingcod may be taken, retained and possessed when allowed by groundfish regulations at 50 CFR 660.360, subpart G.

(iv) Recreational fishing for groundfish and halibut is prohibited within the South Coast Recreational YRCA and Westport Offshore YRCA. It is unlawful for recreational fishing vessels to take and retain, possess, or land halibut taken with recreational gear within the South Coast Recreational YRCA and Westport Offshore YRCA. A vessel fishing in the South Coast Recreational YRCA and/or Westport Offshore YRCA may not be in possession of any halibut. Recreational vessels may transit through the South Coast Recreational YRCA and Westport Offshore YRCA with or without halibut on board. The South Coast Recreational YRCA and Westport Offshore YRCA are areas off the southern Washington coast established to protect yelloweye rockfish. The South Coast Recreational YRCA is defined at 50 CFR 660.70(d). The Westport Offshore YRCA is defined at 50 CFR 660.70(e).

(d) The quota for landings into ports in the area between Leadbetter Point, WA (46°38.17′ N lat.), and Cape Falcon, OR (45°46.00′ N lat.) (Columbia River subarea), is 11,682 pounds.

(i) This subarea is divided into an all-depth fishery and a nearshore fishery. The nearshore fishery is allocated 500 pounds of the subarea allocation. The nearshore fishery extends from Leadbetter Point (46°38.17′ N lat., 124°15.88′ W long.) to the Columbia River (46°16.00′ N lat., 124°15.88′ W long.) by connecting the following coordinates in Washington 46°38.17′ N lat., 124°15.88′ W long. 46°16.00′ N lat., 124°15.88′ W long. and connecting to the boundary line approximating the 40 fm (73 m) depth contour in Oregon. The nearshore fishery opens May 7, and continues on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday each week until the nearshore allocation is taken, or September 30, whichever is earlier. The all-depth fishing season commences on May 3, and continues on Thursday, Friday and Sunday each week until 11,182 pounds are estimated to have been taken and the season is closed by the Commission, or September 30, whichever is earlier. Subsequent to this closure, if there is insufficient quota remaining in the Columbia River subarea for another fishing day, then any remaining quota may be transferred inseason to another Washington and/or Oregon subarea by NMFS via an update to the recreational halibut hotline. Any remaining quota would be transferred to each state in proportion to its contribution.

(ii) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per person.

(iii) Pacific Coast groundfish may not be taken and retained, possessed or landed when halibut are on board the vessel, except sablefish, Pacific cod, flatfish species, and lingcod caught north of the Washington-Oregon border during the month of May, when allowed by Pacific Coast groundfish regulations, Start Printed Page 13092during days open to the all-depth fishery only.

(iv) Taking, retaining, possessing, or landing halibut on groundfish trips is only allowed in the nearshore area on days not open to all-depth Pacific halibut fisheries.

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Sport Fishing Ban Along Vancouver Island Proposed to Help Orcas Eat More Salmon

via Sport Fishing Ban Along Vancouver Island Proposed To Help Orcas Eat More Salmon

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Fishing Canadian Waters in 2018

Last July Canada passed a law making it easier for anglers to enter Canadian waters and go fishing.  In years past anglers had to call Canadian Customs upon entering Canadian waters.  Here’s what the new law reads:

Reporting Exemptions

If you are visiting Canada, you are not required to report to the CBSA if you:

  • Do not land on Canadian soil and do not ANCHOR, moor or make contact with another conveyance while in Canadian waters, and
  • Do not embark or disembark people or goods in Canada

Simply put, if you plan to anchor for halibut in Canadian waters you MUST call Canadian Customs at 1-888-226-7277 and get a Canadian Customs Clearance Number.

Upon re-entering U.S. waters You MUST call the U.S. Customs at 1-800-562-5943

I just called today, 3-10-2018 to confirm this rule/law.

However, here’s what the U.S. Customs web page states.

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/pleasure-boats-private-flyers/pleasure-boat-overview

Exceptions to Face-to-Face reporting to CBP

Alternative Inspection Systems (AIS) satisfy the boat operator’s legal requirement to report for face-to-face inspection in accordance with 8 CFR 235.1, but boaters must still phone in their arrival to satisfy 19 USC 1433.

There are four exceptions to the face-to-face inspection at a designated reporting location, NEXUS, Canadian Border Boat Landing Permit (I-68), Outlying Area Reporting Stations (OARS), and the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS).  Participation in any of the programs does not preclude the requirement for physical report upon request by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Any small pleasure vessel leaving a United States port into international or foreign waters, without a call at a foreign port, does not satisfy the foreign departure requirement. Therefore, certain fishing vessels, cruises to nowhere, or any vessel that leaves from a United States port and returns without calling a foreign port or place, has not departed the United States.

The above exception would only qualify if you don’t anchor or go to port. Even with this exception phone calls by several readers of this post have heard the same thing from U.S. Customs officers in Bellingham, that we still need to call upon re-entering U.S. waters. Another phone call to Bellingham Customs today with the same questions, including the above excemption resulted in this advice. “Our vessel patrol unit does not interpret the law that you don’t have to report if you are just fishing and could confiscate your boat. The law is a grey area subject to interpretation by the officers.”

The officer I spoke with said you don’t have to call as soon as you enter U.S. waters, but you do need to call upon docking or before. And, until you are cleared, only the master/captain of the vessel may get off the boat. Don’t take the risk of not calling to report arrival into U.S. waters. The penalty for failure to report is $5,000 first offense and $10,000 for the second offense and possible forfeiture of your vessel.

Everyone aboard your vessel still needs a Passport, Enhanced Drivers License, Global Entry or Nexus Card to enter Canada and re-enter U.S. waters. For re-entry if you don’t have the Global Entry or Nexus you will need an I-68. To speed up the process, the owner of  the vessel can register in the Small Vessel Reporting System program and get a BR number. Upon calling U.S. customs this will populate their computer with all of your data more quickly. The I-68, Nexus or Global Entry for your guests basically generates a unique number just as the BR does for the vessel owner/master. However, it is not mandatory to enroll in the Small Vessel Reporting System  program and not mandatory to have a BR as long as you have one of the above documents.

You do not need to fill out any forms with WDFW if you are halibut fishing. However, if you plan to keep salmon you must go online and fill out the WDFW Canadian Salmon Trip Notification form at: https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/canadian_catch.php

 

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IPHC Announces 2018 Halibut Quota

LogoDateline: January 26th 2018 — Portland, Oregon annual meeting of International Pacific Halibut Commission

The six IPHC commissioners, three U.S. and three Canadian, did not come to an agreement about catch quotas. Canadian commissioners did not agree with lower catch rates because of Alaskan trawl bycatch issues as well as other methods of calculating stocks.

The quota for each area is noted below. However, because the commission did not agree with quotas, further process must be made with other Federal Fisheries Management agencies. This process will take time, but the numbers below are what the U.S. Commissioners have recommended for implementation.

2A — 1.32

2B (Canada) 7.10

2C — 6.34

3A — 12.54

3B 3.27

4A 1.74

4B 1.28

4CD&E 3.622018 quota

Note: TCEY means, Total Constant Exploitation Yield

FCEY means, Fishery Constant Exploitation Yield

Last Year’s quota in TCEY2017 QuotaIPHC Regulatory Area Zones Below

Regions

Continue reading

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