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

Washington Halibut Season Catch Stats & Available Quota Announced

According to WDFW bottomfish managers the average size of halibut inside Puget Sound waters is 26 pounds compared to ocean fish that weigh just over 16 pounds average. The creel checks for Puget Sound for the second opener totaled 120 fish. The expansion factor for Puget Sound was just over 2.8. Weather was a major factor in reducing pressure on the 25th, especially in the Port Angeles/Sequim area where winds, waves and fast currents made it nearly impossible to catch halibut.

The reports can be found here:   https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/halibut/

Puget Sound halibut anglers will likely get at least two more days fishing, possibly more if catch rates don’t improve. possible openers are: Thursday, June 7; Saturday, June 9; Saturday, June 16; Thursday, June 21; Saturday, June 23; Thursday, June 28; and Saturday June 30

Also note, WDFW has always boasted and bragged about their fish checking methods at the docks. Common sense says a fish checker should check boats for fish, right? Well they don’t, they check every fourth boat unless it is a charter, which always gets checked. This does not make sense. If you employ fish checkers why not check every boat and every fish? Not checking every boat contributes to the high expansion catch factor, which includes truck/trailer counts, aerial counts etc. WDFW might claim the ramps are to busy to check everyone but I think that is an excuse. Ramps do get crowded, but it takes time for boats to come out of the water. And if waiting a little longer is what it takes to get more accurate numbers recreational anglers should understand this and help with the process. Next year WDFW might, with enough pressure from recreational anglers, come up with a faster catch reporting system. Keep your fingers crossed.

Below are the current halibut catch numbers from WDFW

2018 Juan de Fuca Strait & Puget Sound Recreational Halibut

Puget Sound Recreational Halibut
Fishing Dates Anglers
(#)
Halibut
(#)
Pounds Cumulative Quota
Remaining
May 11, 13 6,468 598 14,080 14,080 46,915
May 25, 27 4,123 339 8,957 23,037 37,958

2018 North Coast Halibut Fishery

North Coast Recreational Halibut
Fishing Dates Anglers
(#)
Halibut
(#)
Pounds Cumulative
(lbs.)
Quota Remaining
(lbs.)
May 11, 13 2,981 1,534 25,994 25,994 85,638
May 24, 27 2,758 1,894 32,041 58,035 53,597

2018 South Coast Halibut Fishery

Primary Halibut Season
Fishing Dates Anglers
(#)
Halibut
(#)
Halibut Caught (lbs.) Quota
Remaining
May 11, 13 1,043 809 14,440 29,901
May 24, 27 1,643 1,460 24,797 5,104
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 | Leave a comment

No Fishing Zone Announced in Southern Vancouver Island to Save Orca Whales

The Canadian Government just released new fishing rules, regulations and conservation measures for Northern and Southern BC Chinook salmon in an effort to provide food for southern resident orcas. The map below shows the no fishing zone between the red marks. Effective June 1 to September 30, 2018 there is no fishing for finfish in Subareas 18-2, 18-4, 18-5, 18-9, 19-1 to 19-4 and Area 20. Map below shows Area 20 sub areasNo Fishing ZoneJuan de Fuca (Subareas 19-1 to 19-4 and Area 20):  Effective June 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018 there is no fishing for finfish in Subareas 20-3, 20-4 and that portion of Subarea 20-5 that lies west of 123 degrees 49.30 minutes west longitude (Otter Point) Effective June 1, 2018 until June 28, 2018 the daily limit for Chinook salmon is two (2) per day which may be wild or hatchery marked between 45 and 67 cm fork length or hatchery marked greater than 67 cm in Subareas 19-1 to 19-4 and 20-6 and 20-7 and that portion of Subarea 20-5 that lies east of 123 degrees 49.30 minutes west longitude (Otter Point). Effective June 29, 2018 until July 31, 2018, the daily limit for Chinook salmon is two (2) Chinook per day which may be wild or hatchery marked between 45 and 85 cm or hatchery marked greater than 85 cm in Subareas 19-1 to 19-4 and 20-6 and 20-7 and that portion of Subarea 20-5 that lies east of 123 degrees 49.30 minutes west longitude (Otter Point).

Notes: Additional local closures may be in effect in your area.  Please check for the latest closures and restrictions for your area, and other recreational fishing information at: www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/recfish  Further information on specific management actions by area may be communicated by separate Fishery Notices. You can view or subscribe to fisheries notices at:  http://notices.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fns-sap/index-eng.cfm  www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/recfish FOR MORE INFORMATION:  Contact your local DFO officehttp://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/contact/regions/pacific-pacifique-eng.html

Fishery Notice – Fisheries and Oceans Canada Subject: FN0428-Conservation Measures for Northern and Southern BC Chinook Salmon and Southern Resident Killer Whales This notice provides information on planned conservation measures for Northern and Southern BC Chinook Salmon and Southern Resident Killer Whales that will be implemented beginning June 1, 2018. Chinook Conservation MeasuresTo address Chinook conservation concerns, DFO is implementing a precautionary 25-35% reduction in exploitation rates for Chinook stocks of concern to support conservation and promote rebuilding. These additional reductions are planned to address conservation concerns for Nass River, Skeena River and many small wild Chinook populations in Northern BC; and, all Fraser River Chinook populations (including Spring 4(2), Spring 5(2), Summer 5(2), Summer 4(1) and Fall 4(1) populations) in Southern BC.   Additional Northern BC Chinook management measures are outlined below, followed by additional Southern BC Chinook management measures.

Northern Commercial Fisheries Area F Troll – opening of AABM Chinook fishery delay to July 10 in addition to boundary changes.  Refer to the subsequent Fishery Notice for details.  Northern Recreational Fisheries Please note that possession limits for Chinook Salmon are twice the daily limit. The recreational daily limits of Chinook Salmon are being reduced in North Coast tidal waters as follows: Haida Gwaii: Effective June 1, 2018 to July 9, 2018, the daily limit is one (1) Chinook per day in Areas 1, 2, 142, and that portion of Area 101 west of 131 degrees 40.0 minutes West longitude  North Coast: Effective June 1, 2018 to June 15, 2018, the daily limit is one (1) Chinook per day in Areas 3 to 5, 103 to 105, Subarea 102-1, and that portion of Area 101 east of 131 degrees 40.0 minutes West longitude

Effective June 16, 2018 to July 9, 2018, there is zero (0) retention of Chinook Salmon in Areas 3 to 5, 103 to 105, Subarea 102-1, and that portion of Area 101 east of 131 degrees 40.0 minutes West longitude Effective July 10, 2018 to July 31, 2018, the daily limit is one (1) Chinook per day in Areas 3 to 5, 103 to 105, Subarea 102-1, and that portion of Area 101 east of 131 degrees 40.0 minutes West longitude Effective June 1, 2018 to July 31, 2018 the daily limit is one (1) Chinook per day in Areas 6 and 106 Variation Order Number: 2018-RFQ-0307 Management measures for northern BC non-tidal waters were previously announced in FN0372 issued May 8, 2018.  Southern BC Commercial Fisheries Area G Troll: There is no commercial fishery for AABM Chinook in June or July. Area B Seine and Area H Troll:Effective June 1 to September 30, 2018, there is no commercial salmon fishing in Subareas 20-3, 20-4 and that portion of Subarea 20-5 that lies west of 123 degrees 49.30 minutes west longitude (Otter Point).   Area B Seine and Area H Troll:Effective June 1 to September 30, 2018 there is no commercial salmon fishing in Subareas 18-2, 18-4, 18-5 and 18-9.

Southern BC Recreational Fisheries:

Southern BC Inside Waters Areas 13 to 18, 28 and 29 and Subareas 19-1 to 19-6 (except those portions listed below): Effective June 1, 2018 until September 30, 2018, the daily limit for Chinook Salmon is one (1) per day in in Areas 13 to 17, 28 and 29 with the exception of those four areas listed below under the headings Strait of Georgia, Pender Island, Juan de Fuca and Fraser River mouth.   Terminal fishing opportunities at full limits for Chinook may be considered in-season if abundance permits. Effective October 1, 2018 until further notice, the daily limit for Chinook Salmon is two (2) per day in in Areas 13 to 19, 28 and 29

Exceptions: Strait of Georgia: Note: this measure came into effect on May 7, 2018 as previously announced in FN0370 issued May 7, 2018. Effective immediately until June 28, 2018 the daily limit for Chinook salmon is two (2) per day, of which only one may be greater than 67 cm in Subareas 18-1, 18-3, 18-6, 18-11, and 19-5. Effective June 29, 2018 to July 31, 2018 the daily limit is two (2) Chinook salmon per day between both of which must be less than 85 cm in Subareas 18-1, 18-3, 18-6, 18-11, and 19-5.  Chinook salmon retained in these waters must have a fork length of at least 62 1a

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Washington Halibut Fishing Day 3 Stats

ABCFish checkers counted 24 halibut Friday, May 25th for the Strait of Juan de Fuca Areas 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9. That’s the “Puget Sound Inside” waters halibut fishery. Weather was less than desirable and down right miserable. Many halibut anglers, including me, opted to stay ashore and not fight wind, waves and currents. I spoke with several anglers that did go halibut fishing and they reported four foot seas which made it difficult to anchor or drift.

Approximately 632 anglers braved the wind swept rough seas with dismal catch rates equaling just 3.8 percent catch rate. Let’s face it, that’s less than terrible, it’s a complete failure for Day 3 of our inside waters halibut fishery.

Let’s do the math to figure out how the WDFW’s “Mystery Math” will account for Day 3.

Here’s the math with the increase factor “multiplier” WDFW uses to grossly “guesstimate” our halibut catch.

24 halibut x 2.4266 = 58.2384 halibut x 23 pounds = 1,339.4832 pounds.

Prior to Day 3 we had 45,116 pounds of halibut left in the sport quota. After subtracting May 25th’s catch plus multiplier factor it leaves 43,776.52 pounds of quota going into Day 4 May 27th. Given low catch rates I’d wager we should get more days to fish halibut. I can’t imagine the WDFW fisheries managers could possibly justify not giving us more days, but I’m constantly flabbergasted at the level of incompetency at the WDFW.

If you think I’m wrong, ask yourself how this department has managed our fisheries resource over the past 30 years. I could name dozens of examples of wrong guesstimates, wrong policy, hidden agendas and commercial over harvest.

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Sport Halibut Mystery Math Screws Sports Anglers in Puget Sound & Straits

The first two days of halibut fishing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound were dismal at best, and largely viewed by sports anglers as the worst opener in recent memory. On day one Tribal longlines were spotted at the 31/36 hole out of Port Angeles and day two longlines spotted on the west side of Tongue Point. Pillar Point, a local favorite for anglers out of Sekiu was a bust with few halibut caught.

Halibut Catch Data

Our fisheries managers at WDFW have always claimed that their fish checkers do a great job of counting the sport caught halibut and I agree, they do a pretty good job of getting the actual count of sport-caught halibut. This year fish checkers in the Strait and Puget Sound counted 279 halibut. But, as usual, WDFW uses a catch factor number to arrive at an estimate of sport caught halibut.

“Sampling programs rely on expanding the number of actual fish and effort counted by our samplers to produce an estimate of total catch and effort,” says Heather Reed, fisheries manager at WDFW.

Let’s take a look at the numbers again, fish checkers visually saw and recorded 279 halibut and then fisheries managers used a formula to estimate our catch to a total of 676 halibut. That’s a multiplier of  x 2.4266

That my fellow halibut anglers is an multiplier WDFW loves and we hate. They say their numbers and formulas are “Peer Reviewed.” I say the public needs to peer review these idiotic numbers. There’s no way sport halibut anglers caught 2.4266 times more halibut than the fish checkers saw. If that is correct their fish checking program is a failure. Can anyone tell me of another industry, sport, fishery that has this kind of crystal ball mystery math that is acceptable?

Next year’s halibut catch record card, (HCRC) was suppose to help fisheries managers get a better idea of how many halibut are really caught, but WDFW fisheries managers say they won’t be changing their formulas or methods and don’t seem interested in a more immediate system to report actual catches from halibut catch cards.

If you are as outraged as I am, please let your state senators and representatives know how displeased you are with the current fisheries management and lack of progress to accurately monitor halibut catch rates without using “Mystery Math.”

Oh Canada, here I come. At least we still have opportunity across the border. Hopefully WDFW fisheries management will change when we get a new director, but not likely, as the current managers and methods are so ingrained and accepted not much will likely change.

Good luck over the Memorial Day weekend. Hopefully we get a few more days of halibut fishing if the mystery math allows it.

John L Beath

 

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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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