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

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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