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Summary of Washington Pacific Halibut Fisheries Management in 2011

Category: Fish/Shellfish Research and Management

Date Published: December 2011

Number of Pages: 8

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 2011 Pacific halibut fisheries. It includes a synopsis of Washington’s recreational catch 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 2011

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 2011 is described in Table 1.

Table 1.

Subarea

Quota (lbs)

Catch (lbs)

Avg Wt (lbs)

Season Dates

Puget Sound

58,155

45,856

22.7

West: May 26-June 18
East: May 5-May 29

North Coast

108,792

103,741

21.0

May 12, 14, 19, 21
June 2, 4, 16, 30

South Coast

43,500

45,100

17.2

Primary: May 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22
Nearshore: May 2- July 31 7-days / week

Columbia River 1/

13,436

7,657

15.1

Early: May 5-June 4 Thu-Sat
Late: Aug 5- Sept 30 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.