NMFS Extends Pacific Halibut Bycatch Retention in Oregon, Washington, California

Image via National Marine Fisheries Service.

The National Marine Fisheries Service, aka NOAA Fisheries, has agreed in consultation with the states of Oregon, Washington and California has agreed to new rules for retention of Pacific halibut incidental harvests in the commercial troll salmon season in those states.

Under current regulations, retention of Pacific halibut bycatch continues past June 30. However all participants retaining those halibut must have applied for and received an incidental troll salmon halibut permit from the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

Currently vessels are limited to one Pacific halibut for every two Chinook salmon, plus one Pacific halibut in possession, up to a maximum of 35 Pacific halibut per trip. All Chinook salmon must be landed with the Pacific halibut.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said that as of June 28 the take of Pacific halibut incidental to the troll salmon fishery totaled 12,114 pounds out of the quota of 50,681 pounds.

This consultation with NMFS is required annually prior to continuing the fishery after June 30.

ODFW officials noted that the summer fishery has a total Chinook quota of 9,000 fish. The spring quota was 18,000 Chinook and was almost entirely met. By starting with a reduced weekly landing and possession limit per vessel, they said it is hoped to be able to access a good portion of marked coho quota of 32,000 fish.

More details on current year management action notices and updates are online at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmon/.