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Summary of Washington Pacific Halibut Fisheries Management in 2009

Category: Fish/Shellfish Research and Management

Date Published: December 2009

Number of Pages: 10


The purpose of this report is to summarize the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) management and enforcement activities in the 2009 Pacific halibut fisheries. It includes a synopsis of Washington’s recreational catch, a description of the results of the incidental halibut catch in the sablefish fishery north of Point Chehalis, and a summary of WDFW’s enforcement efforts relative to patrolling the North Coast (Neah Bay and La Push) recreational halibut fisheries (Appendix A).

Washington’s Recreational Halibut Fisheries in 2009

Washington’s halibut fisheries are managed under the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan for Area 2A. The catch sharing plan specifies how the Area 2A total allowable catch (TAC) as defined by IPHC is allocated or “shared” among various state commercial and recreational sectors. For Washington, WDFW manages its recreational fisheries by subarea. These subareas are:

1. Puget Sound (inside waters east of the Sekiu River, including Puget Sound)

  • Eastern Region (inner Sound waters east of Low Point)
  • Western Region (Strait waters west of Low Point)

2. North Coast (waters in the Strait of Juan de Fuca west of the Sekiu River and Pacific Ocean waters south to the Queets River)

3. South Coast (Pacific Ocean waters south of the Queets River to Leadbetter Point)

4. Columbia River (Pacific Ocean waters south of Leadbetter Point to Cape Falcon, Oregon) A summary of Washington’s recreational halibut seasons for 2009 is described in Table 1.

Table 1.


(lbs) Catch

(lbs) Avg

Wt (lbs)


Puget Sound




West: May 21-July 3
East: April 23-June 5
North Coast




May 14, 16, 21, 23
June 4, 6
South Coast




May 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 24, 31
June 7,14,21,28
Nearshore: May 7- Sept. 27 Thu-Sun
Columbia River 1/




Early: May 1, 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 29;
Late: Aug 7- Sept 27 Fri-Sun
 1/ Columbia River harvest is Washington catch only.

Halibut are measured at the dock and the lengths of the samples are then converted to weights. On the coast, lengths are taken throughout the season on a weekly basis and applied to the number of halibut caught to project the total catch in pounds. The catches are then monitored and the fisheries are closed when they are projected to attain their respective subarea quota.