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Halibut anglers given less time to catch quota
Anglers off the shores of Whidbey Island will have less time to fish for halibut this season under catch quotas for 2013 adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
This year’s recreational catch quota for all of Washington’s areas including the coast is 214,110 pounds.
The quota for the spot fishery in Puget Sound is the same as it was last year, but fishing time will be curtailed to compensate for exceeding last year’s quota, said Heather Reed, coastal policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, in a news release Wednesday.
This year’s seasons were reduced by five days in the eastern region (Marine Areas 6-10) and nine days in the western region (Marine Area 5) to compensate for exceeding last year’s quota.
“Catch rates were up again in Puget Sound last year, so we had to make some adjustments,” Reed said. “In doing that, we made sure the seasons will open on the traditional opening dates, so folks can plan their annual halibut fishing trips well in advance.”
Here are the 2013 Puget Sound halibut seasons:
Marine Area 5: From May 23-26, the fishery will be open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for Memorial Day weekend. From May 30 through June 1, the fishery will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday and then will be open for one final day on Saturday, June 8.
Marine Areas 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10: From May 2-4, the fishery will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. From May 16-18, the fishery will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. From May 23-26, the fishery will be open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for Memorial Day weekend. The fishery will be open May 30 and 31, Thursday and Friday.
Marine Areas 11, 12, 13: These areas will remain closed to halibut fishing this year to protect threatened and endangered rockfish species.