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Summary of Washington Pacific Halibut Fisheries Management in 2008

Category: Fish/Shellfish Research and Management

Date Published: December 2008
Revised Date: March 2009
Number of Pages: 9

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

The purpose of this report is to summarize the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) management and enforcement activities in the 2008 Pacific halibut fisheries.  It includes a synopsis of Washington's recreational catch and a description of the results of the incidental halibut catch in the sablefish fishery north of Point Chehalis.  A summary of WDFW's enforcement efforts relative to patrolling the North Coast (Neah Bay and La Push) recreational halibut fisheries is contained in Appendix A.

Washington's Recreational Halibut Fisheries in 2008

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 2008 is described in Table 1.

Table 1.

Subarea 

Quota (lbs) 

Catch (lbs)

Avg Wt (lbs)

Season Dates

Puget Sound

59,345

83,304

 21.3

 East:  April 10-June 13
West:  May 22-July 21
North Coast 

109,991

106,852

24.2

May 13, 15, 17, 20, 29, 31; June 14, 17, 19, 21, 28, 26; August 29
South Coast

44,700

40,397

17.0

May 1, 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27; June 1, 3, 8, 17
Columbia River 1/

18,762

9,693

14.5 

May 1-31;
August 1, 2, 22, 23, 29

* Puget Sound catch estimates were not available for the submission of this report; they will be provided as an addendum.

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.