OLYMPIA – The recreational halibut fishery off the north coast of Washington will close at the end of the day Tuesday, May 20, when the catch is expected to approach the May harvest quota, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
In two days of fishing, anglers hauled in about 1,570 halibut averaging 22.8 pounds apiece in marine areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay), said Michele Culver, WDFW regional director. Halibut season in marine areas 3 and 4 opened May 13, with fishing limited to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
By the time fishing ends at 11:59 p.m. on May 20, the cumulative harvest for all four days is expected to draw near the 79,194-pound quota for May, Culver said.
If there is additional quota remaining, it will be transferred to the fishery scheduled in June, Culver said. That’s because it is unlikely there will be sufficient poundage to reopen for another day in May.
Halibut fishing in marine areas 3 and 4 is scheduled to reopen June 17 and 19 under a separate quota. Anglers fishing those days in those two areas will be restricted to waters no more than 30 fathoms deep, as specified in WDFW’s 2008-09 Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet.
Meanwhile, halibut fishing remains open seven days a week in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco), two days a week (Sundays and Tuesdays) in Marine Area 2 and five days a week (Thursday through Monday) in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and all other areas of Puget Sound except Hood Canal.