Summary of Washington Pacific Halibut Fisheries Management in 2012


Published: December 2012

Pages: 11


Executive Summary

The purpose of this report is to summarize the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) management and enforcement activities for the 2012 Pacific halibut fisheries. It includes a synopsis of Washington's recreational catch and 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 attached.

Washington's Recreational Halibut Fisheries in 2012 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 2012 is described in Table 1.

Table 1


 Quota (Ibs)

 Catch (Ibs)

 Avg Wt (Ibs)

Season Dates  

Puget Sound


 Not available


West: May 24 -June 23
East: May 3-June 2
Thu-Sat except Memorial Day Thu- Mon
North Coast




May 10,12,17,19, 31
June 2, 14
South Coast




Primary: May 6, 8, 13, 15, 20
Nearshore: May 6-June 8
7-days / week
Columbia River 1/

11 ,895



Early: May 3-July 14 Thu-Sat;
Late: Aug 3-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.