The first brief 10-hour commercial Pacific halibut fishing season window opens today off the coast of Washington. NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is standing by to provide compliance assistance.
“We are here to help the industry and community understand the rules so they can be sure they are in compliance,” said Enforcement Officer Dan Davis.
For the 2019 season, the International Pacific Halibut Commission recommended seven 10-hour fishing periods:
- June 26.
- July 10
- July 24.
- August 7.
- August 21.
- September 4.
- September 18.
The fishery will open at 8 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. The overall allocation for this fishery for 2019 is 254,426 pounds. Once the allocation amount has been reached, the remaining days on the schedule will be canceled.
The fishery is restricted to waters south of Point Chehalis, Washington (46°53.30’ N. latitude). A total of 176 fishery licenses have been issued for 2019, with 14 more applications currently being processed.
Davis said the Office of Law Enforcement will be conducting focused enforcement patrols in coordination with state and U. S. Coast Guard partners.
“We structure our patrols to specifically focus on compliance with rules and regulations governing halibut fishing, especially rules requiring proper release of halibut and proper marking of fishing gear,” said Davis.
Halibut that are not retained must be released outboard of the roller. They must be returned to the sea with a minimum of injury by one of the following methods:
- Hook straightening.
- Cutting the ganglion near the hook.
- Carefully removing the hook by twisting it from the halibut with a gaff.
For more information visit NOAA’s West Coast Region Pacific Halibut website, or call NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement at (206) 526-6133.