OUTDOORS: Some clarity in halibut quotas

A REAL RARITY occurred in Victoria, B.C., last week concerning halibut quota totals for seasons through 2022.

There is some clarity.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission approved a four-year halibut quota of 1.65 million pounds Total Constant Exploitation Yield (TCEY, approximately the mortality of Pacific halibut over 26 inches in length) for Area 2A which includes Washington, Oregon and California.

Before the meeting opened, Makah Tribe submitted a written proposal for Area 2A to receive 1.65 TCEY million pounds of quota in an effort to solve some harvest issues.

Anglers John Beath and Dave Croonquist attended the meetings to support the Makah proposal for a long-term solution to Area 2A’s halibut fishery.

“The tribes choose to submit this regulatory proposal in hopes of not taking quota from other user groups and working together with all user groups in the area,” Beath wrote on his halibutchronicles.com site. “Several of the Makah fisheries managers I spoke with were adamant that everyone in Area 2A should benefit from their proposal. Their proposal also had support from the IPHC fisheries managers.”

Beath said because only 70 percent of halibut in Area 2A are located within usual and customary grounds, treaty tribes were given 35 percent of the harvestable quota.

The Washington recreational halibut quota stands to gain 52,000 pounds to 277,000 this year in estimates devised by Croonquist.

The North Coast (Neah Bay-La Push) would receive 128,187 pounds.

Puget Sound would receive 77,549 pounds, the South Coast 62,894 pounds and the Columbia River (Ilwaco) 8,467 pounds.

“The numbers for each Washington area are estimates [Croonquist] came up with based on allocation,” Beath said. “Now that we have a halibut punch card fee it will reduce the number of ‘actual’ halibut anglers. In years past the number the state used was 330,000 halibut anglers. This will change the metrics and likely give sport anglers more days. When combined with additional quota it looks very promising for the next four years.”

Kids Fishing Benefit

The annual Kids Fishing Day benefit hosted by the North Olympic Peninsula chapter of Puget Sound Anglers is planned for Saturday, Feb. 23, at Sunland Golf and Country Club in Sequim.

Funds raised at the event support all club initiatives including: Kids Fishing Day and Kids Fall Fishing at Carrie Blake Park in Sequim, scholarships to area students, the new Veterans Fishing Program, Dungeness Fish Hatchery volunteers, Crab Fest Grab-a-Crab-Derby and Salmon in the Classroom in conjunction with the Dungeness River Audubon Center.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m. with the chance to bid on silent auction items.

Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. and the main event, a live auction conducted by auctioneer John Beath, at 7 p.m.

The buffet dinner features spaghetti with red meat sauce or alfredo clam sauce, Caesar salad, garlic bread and dessert. Tickets are $20 and are limited to 180.

If you want to go salt or freshwater fishing for salmon, steelhead, halibut, rockfish or ling cod, or shrimping there is a trip up for bid in the two auctions.

To purchase a ticket, email [email protected] or call Sherry Anderson at 360-681-4768.

“Please come join us and support the activities centered on supporting our mission to organize and fund educational events and learning that promote stewardship, conservation, camaraderie, safety and enjoyment of local fisheries,” Anderson said.

“The Kids Fishing Day at Carrie Blake Park will be held on April 13th this year.”

Guide’s cleanup slated

The Olympic Peninsula Guides’ Association (OPGA) is hosting its annual River Clean-up on West End rivers Saturday, Feb. 23 with a new twist, an after-party at Blakeslee’s Bar & Grill in Forks.

If you would like to volunteer, come to Forks Outfitters, 950 S. Forks Ave, that day anytime between 5:45 a.m and 8:30 a.m. where a table will be set up outside with a sign-up sheet, instructions, garbage bags and donuts.

If you are already planning on being on the river, swing in and pick up a bag or two to do some clean up during the day.

Those without boats can pitch in as well. The association will have some problem areas pinpointed that won’t require boat access.

Make sure to bring work gloves and dress for trash cleanup.

A $50 cash prize will be given to the person who picks up the most garbage from the river.

The After Party starts at 6:30 p.m. at Blakeslee’s Bar & Grill, 1222 S. Forks Ave., and will include a 50/50 raffle (with proceeds benefitting the OPGA) and announcement of the $50 River clean-up prize.

Blakeslee’s Bar & Grill and Forks Outfitters are sponsoring these events.

For more information, phone Ravae O’Leary at 360-485-3334 or [email protected]

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