Management Policy for Pacific Halibut

Policy number
POL C-3601 adopted August 15, 1997
Effective date
Signed by
Signed by: Ron Ozment, Chair, Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission

With regard to managing the Pacific halibut resource:

  1. The Department shall support management regimes that preserve, protect, and perpetuate the long-term health and stability of the Pacific halibut resource and that minimize the incidental catch of groundfish species subject to rebuilding programs.
  2. The Department will participate in and represent the state’s interest within the International Pacific Halibut Commission process.
  3. The Department shall manage halibut fisheries consistent with the regulations of the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the provisions in the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Catch Sharing Plan.
  4. The Department shall support management strategies, including at-sea observer programs, that result in the accurate accounting of halibut bycatch in non-directed fisheries. In addition, the Department will work in cooperation with fishing industry representatives to develop and implement management measures designed to reduce halibut bycatch and bycatch mortality in non-directed fisheries.
  5. Allocation between tribal and non-tribal fisheries shall be consistent with U.S. v. Washington.
  6. The area north of Point Chehalis shall be managed for the primary benefit of the recreational fishery, while providing for incidental catches in the limited entry primary sablefish longline fishery (north of Point Chehalis) and salmon troll fishery (coastwide) consistent with the catch sharing plan.
  7. The Department shall manage each recreational sub-area to ensure port sub-quotas are not exceeded.
  8. The Department will develop and support management measures that consider historic catch, recent halibut season lengths, utilization of existing allocations, economic benefits derived from the fishery, benefits to the state, and other recreational fishing opportunities.
  9. The Department shall work with commercial and recreational constituents through the ad hoc Halibut Advisory Group when developing and implementing management measures.