Heather Hall, 360-902-2487
OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is hosting two public webinars to discuss season structure and proposed dates for the 2021 sport halibut season.
“Even though this year’s sport halibut fishing is just getting started in coastal areas and resuming in the Puget Sound, it’s important to us that we hear from stakeholders as this year’s season progresses,” said Heather Hall, WDFW coastal policy coordinator. “Your feedback now will help inform how we implement next year’s halibut season.”
The public is invited to participate in two virtual meetings scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19, and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28. Meeting details and instructions for tuning in are available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut.
At the Aug. 19 meeting, state halibut managers will review preliminary 2020 season data and work with stakeholders to develop a range of preliminary options focused on general concepts, such as ways to balance predictability with opportunities to extend seasons, when possible, for greater fishing opportunity. WDFW staff will utilize the input to develop recommendations to the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) who will consider this preliminary input at its September webinar (Sept. 11-8, 2020).
Washington stakeholders will have another opportunity to provide input once staff present PFMC results at the second WDFW stakeholder meeting in October. In addition to refining the options developed at the first meeting, WDFW staff will collect further public input, review tide calendars for next spring, and select specific season dates that attempt to balance needs across various non-tribal fishing communities and charter and private fishing interests. WDFW staff will consider this input and submit a preferred option for the PFMC to consider for final action at its November meeting. The meeting is currently scheduled as an in-person meeting in Garden Grove, California, Nov. 13-20, 2020.
In addition to providing input to WDFW, stakeholders can also provide public comment to PFMC, see the PFMC webpage for more information https://www.pcouncil.org/.
For more information on the halibut season-setting process visit the PFMC’s website at http://www.pcouncil.org/pacific-halibut/background-information/.
WDFW is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities.