WDFW Will Ask NMFS For 7 Day Washington Halibut Season

Washington Halibut Fishing Season

Breaking News — Washington halibut season will likely be reset to 7 days, if quota is not caught. Read blog and letter below.

Here’s a letter from District 24 Washington State Senator, Kevin Van De Wege, and District 24 Representatives, Steve Tharinger and Mike Chapman regarding a longer Washington State halibut season for 2017. Their signed letter is located below my comments. This looks very promising, let’s keep our fingers and fishing rods crossed! However, WDFW can ask the feds for a longer halibut season, but how can they justify it? Since their largely “crystal ball” and “far-fetched, made up numbers math” recently only justified a four day season, how then can they convince the feds to give us an eight day season?

Will they cut our season short this year, as they will have time between open dates to close our season if we exceed our quota, as they calculate or “miscalculate” halibut catch rates. Or will they give us seven days this year and no days next year? They could do just that, if their, in my opinion, false catch rates exceed the sport quota. Forgive me, but I don’t trust WDFW and I remain extremely skeptical.

Washington State Senator Kevin Van De Wege & State Reps, Steve Tharinger and Mike Chapman’s letter below.

Dear friends and neighbors,

Two years ago, our regional halibut fishing season was reduced to just three days, with brutal consequences. (Note: this is incorrect data. This season, 2017 WDFW reduced our season to three days.) The competition to harvest halibut in such a short window pushed businesses and employees to their limits and raised serious safety concerns. It was the kind of “accident waiting to happen” that we can’t afford to repeat, and we know folks out there remain wary.

In that light, we’d like to share what we know from a meeting Thursday with legislative staff and staff from the state Dept. of Fish & Wildlife. Though our halibut fishing season is determined by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and implemented by the National Marine Fisheries, our state officials have significant input and have requested a seven-day season for this year.

Fish & Wildlife staff say approval of their request is likely and that the final determination will be announced later this month. So we think prospects for this season look good. If the commission approves Fish & Wildlife’s request, this year’s halibut fishing season will take place on May 4, 6, 11, 21 and 25 and on June 1 and 4. In addition, if the halibut quota has not been exhausted on those dates, the season could be extended; if so, the additional dates would be posted on the Fish & Wildlife website at dfw.wa.gov.

If you would like to voice your priorities for future halibut seasons, including even specific dates you believe might be best, Fish & Wildlife holds a public comment period every November. To receive notification of when that comment period will take place, you can sign up for Fish & Wildlife’s email list server by emailing a request to Michele Culver at michele.culver@dfw.wa.gov.

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About John L. Beath

John Beath is a writer, photographer, videographer, blogger, tackle manufacturer & Captain at Whaler's Cove Lodge in Southeast Alaska. He is also owner of www.halibut.net and host at Lets Talk Outdoors @ www.youtube.com/jbeath
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