International Halibut Commission 2009 halibut fishing seasons
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Oregon halibut fishing season & Oregon halibut limits
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Washington halibut fishing season below.
Washington Sport halibut season will open
in April with decreased quota
OLYMPIA – Recreational halibut fishing in most areas of Puget
Sound will open April 23, two weeks later than last year due to
a reduction in catch quotas for 2009.
Anglers also will have fewer days to fish for halibut on the
coast, said Michele Culver, regional director for the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Fishing seasons set by
WDFW are based on a stock assessment and quotas established for
the Pacific coast — from Alaska to California —by the
International Pacific Halibut Commission.
This year’s quota for Washington, Oregon and California is
950,000 pounds, down from 1.22 million pounds in 2008. In
Washington, sport anglers will be allowed to catch 214,110
pounds of halibut compared to 232,807 pounds last year.
In anticipation of the lower quotas and to better notify
anglers about in-season closures and re-openings, WDFW worked
with fishing community representatives to modify the season
structure for the coastal areas, Culver said.
For instance, halibut anglers in the north coast subarea
(marine areas 3 and 4) requested a reduction in the days of the
week to stretch out the season, Culver said. In 2008, the
fishery was open three days a week, but closed after two weeks
because anglers reached the quota. This year, the fishery will
be open two days a week, Thursdays and Saturdays, starting May
The popular sport fishery off Westport (Marine Area 2) will
be open Sundays and Tuesdays for the first two weeks in May, but
will switch to Sundays only starting May 17. The Columbia River
(Marine Area 1) will open May 1, three days a week, Thursdays
through Saturdays only.
In Puget Sound, the quota reduction, combined with a higher
catch rate in 2008, will result in a shorter season this year,
“Last year’s Puget Sound halibut catch was the highest in 10
years and exceeded the quota, which we don’t want to repeat this
year,” she said.
WDFW estimates show that Puget Sound anglers caught more than
80,000 pounds of halibut during 2008, which exceeded the
All areas open to fishing have a one-fish daily catch limit,
with no minimum size, and a possession limit of two fish in any
form. In Marine Areas 1-4, the seasons will continue until the
subarea quotas are reached.
Recreational halibut seasons for Washington’s marine areas
- Columbia River (Ilwaco): Marine
Area 1 will open May 1, three days a week, Thursday through
Saturday until 70 percent of the quota is reached, or until
July 18. The fishery will then reopen on Aug. 7 and continue
three days a week (Friday through Sunday) until the
remaining quota is reached, or Sept.30, whichever occurs
first. The 2009 catch quota is 15,735 pounds.
- South Coast (Westport/Ocean Shores): Marine
Area 2 will open on May 3, two days a week, Sundays and
Tuesdays, through May 12. Starting May 17, the fishery will
be open on Sundays only until the quota is reached. The
northern nearshore area will be open on Fridays and
Saturdays in addition to the days that the offshore area is
open, until the quota is reached. The 2009 catch quota is
- North Coast (La Push/Neah Bay): Marine
areas 3 and 4 will open on May 14, two days per week,
Thursdays and Saturdays, through May 23. If sufficient quota
remains, the fishery will reopen June 4 and 6. If sufficient
quota remains after that opener, the fishery will reopen
starting June 18. The fishery will continue to be open as a
priority in the offshore area. However, if there is
insufficient quota to open the fishery for one more day in
the offshore area, the fishery will be open in the nearshore
area only (Area 4B and shoreward of a line approximating 30
fathoms from the Bonilla-Tatoosh line south to the Queets
River). The 2009 catch quota is 108,030 pounds.
- Strait of Juan de Fuca/Puget Sound: Marine
Area 5 (Sekiu) will be open May 21 through July 3. Marine
areas 6-11 and 13 (Port Angeles and Puget Sound) will be
open April 23 through June 5. These fisheries will be open
five days a week, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The 2009
combined catch quota for these areas is 57,393 pounds.
Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) remains closed to fishing for
halibut and a number of other species due to low
As in previous years, certain areas in marine areas 2, 3 and
4 will be closed to fishing for halibut and bottomfish to reduce
the chance that anglers will unintentionally catch yelloweye
rockfish. Retention of canary and yelloweye rockfish is
prohibited in all coastal marine areas.
For additional information, call the Fishing Hotline at (360)
902-2500 or check the WDFW website athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/creel/halibut/.