WDFW Marine Area 3 (La Push), Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay): 4 June 2017
The preliminary catch for the Washington North Coast primary sport Pacific halibut fishery in WDFW Marine Areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) through 25 May 2017 was estimated to be 68,392 pounds, leaving 47,207 pounds to be harvested. Fishery managers anticipate this will sustain one more day of fishing, thus the Washington North Coast (WDFW Marine Areas 3 and 4) sport Pacific halibut fishery will reopen for one day on Sunday, 4 June 2017. This is in addition to the opener of 1 June 2017. State fishery managers will then review the catch and announce if sufficient quota remains for additional openings. The next potential fishing days would be Saturday, 10 June, and/or Saturday, 17 June.
Quota Share Commercial Fisheries Update
The 2017 quota share Pacific halibut fisheries opened on 11 March 2017. It is estimated that the following commercial landings, in pounds and numbers, were made in the Alaskan IFQ and CDQ fisheries through 22 May 2017 and in the British Columbian IVQ fishery through 18 May 2017.
The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) is seeking commercial longline and research vessels to conduct monthly Pacific halibut collection charters from July 2017 through May 2018. Collections will be confined to the greater Portlock Bank region, bounded between the following points: (58°03’N, 152°44’W), (58°55’N, 151°58’W), (57°45’N, 148°41’W), and (56°59’N, 150°04’W) in the Gulf of Alaska. Fishing is to occur between the 1st and 15th of each month. The objective of the monthly charters will be to obtain reproductive samples (ovaries, testes, blood, ultrasound imagery, weights) from a total target number of 100 Pacific halibut (up to 50 males (>70cm), up to 50 females (>90 cm). The vessel must be capable of taking up to two (2) IPHC field biologists for the data and sample collections. Vessel crew may set as much gear as they feel is necessary to achieve the sampling targets; however, once the targets are met, all remaining gear must be hauled and all fish released with minimal injury. It is expected that during most months the targets likely can be obtained in 2-3 fishing days. IPHC will bear bait and ice costs; fuel costs will be borne by the vessel. Unless combined with quota fishing, some Pacific halibut will be retained and sold by IPHC, and limited retention of Pacific cod and rockfish bycatch may be allowed.
Columbia River (WDFW Marine Area 1, ODFW Columbia River Subarea) All-Depth Sport Fishery Closing
The preliminary catch for the Columbia River all-depth sport Pacific halibut fishery as of 23 May 2017 was estimated to be 10,586 pounds, leaving 1,713 pounds to be harvested (with Oregon catch numbers for the week of 18-21 May 2017 still to come). Insufficient quota remains for a full four days. Therefore, the Columbia River (WDFW Marine Area 1, ODFW Columbia River Subarea) all-depth sport Pacific halibut fishery will close at the end of the day Thursday, 25 May 2017. Any quota overage or underage from the all-depth fishery will be applied to the Columbia River nearshore fishery. The nearshore fishery continues to be open from Monday to Wednesday each week.
Washington Sport Fisheries to Reopen
WDFW Marine Area 2 (Westport-Ocean Shores): 21 May 2017
In the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Marine Area 2 (Westport-Ocean Shores) all-depth primary fishery, WDFW estimates that 37,686 pounds were landed during the first three May 2017 openings, leaving an estimated 10,621 pounds available for potential harvest from the quota allocation. Fishery managers anticipate this will sustain one more day of fishing, thus the Washington South Coast (WDFW Marine Area 2) primary sport fishery will reopen for one day on Sunday, 21 May 2017.
The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) has determined that fishing period limits will be required during the 28 June 10-hour non-treaty directed commercial fishing period in Area 2A to avoid exceeding the 225,591 pound (net weight) catch limit. The 28 June fishing period will begin at 8:00 AM and end at 6:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time. The fishery is restricted to waters south of Point Chehalis, Washington (46°53.30’ N. latitude) under regulations promulgated by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Fishing period limits as indicated in the following table will be in effect for this opening.