Summary of Washington Pacific Halibut Fisheries Management in 2015

Category: Management and Conservation

Published: January 2016

Pages: 6

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 2015 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 recreational and commercial halibut fisheries during 2015 is attached.

Washington’s Recreational Halibut Fisheries in 2015

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 2015 is described in Table 1.

Table 1. Washington recreational halibut seasons, catch, and average weight by subarea


Quota (lbs)

Catch (lbs)

Avg Wt (lbs)

Season Dates

Puget Sound57,393  

West: May 15â€"16, May 21-24, May 29-30

East: May 8 â€" 9, May 15-16, May 21-24, May 28 â€" 30

North Coast108,03094,69817.90

May 14, 16, 23

South Coast42,73942,73317.77

Primary: May 3, 5, 10, 12

Nearshore: May 3 â€" July 19

Columbia River 1/10,2548,05616.65

All Depth: May 1â€"June 2, Thu-Sun;

Nearshore: Mayâ€"Sept 30, Mon-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.

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