OUTDOORS: Stability sought in halibut tonnage

If all goes as hoped at this week’s meetings in Victoria, the Makah Tribe will again play a role in maintaining access to a proper share of the Pacific halibut catch for the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s Area 2A (Washington, Oregon and California).

Makah Tribal Council Vice Chair Patrick Depoe submitted a proposal to maintain Area 2’s total constant exploitable yield (TCEY) at 1.65 million pounds per year for 2023-2027.

The halibut commission annually determines the amount of halibut available for harvest in Area 2A based on stock assessment information and harvest policy.

Once the total constant exploitable yield (TCEY) is determined, projected bycatch and wastage mortality are subtracted to produce the fishery constant exploitable yield (FCEY) or total allowable catch (TAC).

After accounting for non-directed discard mortality, the 2A FCEY for 2022 was 1.49 million pounds. This static framework has served to provide stability to Area 2A fisheries.

And Washington recreational anglers account for about 250,000 pounds of halibut quota each year.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife expressed its “continued for support for an Area 2A TCEY floor of 1.65 million pounds” in a letter to the IPHC.

“The proposal document submitted by Mr. Patrick Depoe and the Makah Tribe summarizes the justification well,” the letter stated. “We also emphasize that WDFW’s original support for the Area 2A TCEY floor in 2019 was based on the science and an understanding that the level of harvest in Area 2A would not negatively impact the Pacific halibut stock. In reviewing the summary of the data, stock assessment, and harvest decision table document provided for this meeting, our confidence in this view has only grown.”

The letter goes on to state that fishing intensity and stock biomass are performing well.

Tapping time

Quilcene’s Ward Norden wrote in last week to discuss tapping his native big leaf maples.

“At long last it is time to start tapping our native big leaf maples to start making syrup, drink mixers and maybe even candy,” Norden said. “If the weather forecast is right … with relatively dry weather, cool mornings and days into the high 40s with some sun, this means production could be excellent.

“The hard drought during the summer followed by heavier rains will likely make for higher-quality sap that is darker and richer. The trees will make that decision, however, and at least each of our trees seems to have a sense of humor about my predictions.”

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