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.

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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