Summary of Washington Pacific Halibut Fisheries Management in 2017

Category: Management and Conservation

Published: December 2017

Pages: 10

Executive Summary

This report summarizes the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) management and enforcement activities for Pacific halibut fisheries in 2016. 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 2016 is attached.

Washington's Recreational Halibut Fisheries in 2016

Washington's halibut fisheries are managed under the Pacific Fishery Management Council's Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) for Area 2A. The CSP 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 2016 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 Sound




East and West: May 7, May 12-14, May 26-29
North Coast




May 7, 12, 14, 28, June 11, June 23
South Coast




Primary: May 1, 3, 8, 10 Nearshore: May 2-22
Columbia River1/




All Depth: May 1-June 3, Thu-Sun

Nearshore: May 2-June 8, Mon-Wed 1/ Columbia River harvest is Washington catch only.

Halibut are measured at the dock and the lengths of the samples are then converted to weight. Length data is collected throughout the season and applied to the number of halibut caught to project the total catch in pounds. In the coastal region, catches are then monitored on a weekly basis and the fisheries are closed when they are projected to attain their respective subarea quota.

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