NEWPORT, Ore. – On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 13 and 14, anglers may keep two Pacific halibut each day in the sport halibut fishery off the central Oregon coast. However, the all-depth halibut fishery will be closed on Friday, Sept. 12.
“We had some challenging ocean conditions this year that kept anglers in port during several of the all-depth weekends,” said Don Bodenmiller, sport halibut project leader for ODFW. “The two-halibut-a-day bag limit will allow Oregon anglers a chance to make up for lost time, providing the weather allows.”
Sunday, Sept. 7, is the last scheduled open day at all depths under the existing rule with a daily bag limit of one Pacific halibut. There currently there are no additional open days scheduled after Sept. 14. Any further openings will be announced after catch estimates are evaluated and if sufficient quota remains.
The summer central Oregon coast all-depth halibut fishery was previously scheduled to be open every Friday-Sunday until the combined spring and summer season all-depth quota of 372,346 pounds was taken or Oct. 26, whichever came first.
More than 49,000 pounds remain available for the central Oregon coast (combined all-depth and nearshore fishery inside of 40-fathoms) – from Cape Falcon (30 miles south of the Columbia River) to Humbug Mountain (south of Port Orford). However, fishery managers anticipate increased angler effort under a two-fish daily limit and decided to limit fishing next weekend to just two days.
The increased bag limit was possible because the Catch Sharing Plan, which describes how Pacific halibut are managed on the West Coast, allows for this inseason action if it appears the entire quota will not be harvested under a one-fish bag limit after Labor Day weekend and after approval by NOAA Fisheries.
In addition to the all-depth halibut fishery, anglers along the central coast may continue to fish for halibut nearshore of the 40-fathom line every day until the earlier of Oct. 31 or attainment of the quota. The daily bag limit for the nearshore fishery remains at one halibut, except on Sept. 13 and 14 when the bag limit is two. The 40-fathom line is defined by waypoints.
Sport anglers are reminded the high-relief area of Stonewall Bank is closed to halibut fishing to reduce incidental catch of yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish. The closed area is defined by latitude and longitude waypoints, which are available on the Marine Resources Program website.
Sport anglers are also reminded that possession of groundfish species is not allowed north of Humbug Mountain when a Pacific halibut is aboard their vessel during all-depth Pacific halibut dates. The exception is sablefish, black cod, which may be retained with halibut between Humbug Mountain and Cape Falcon. Other non-groundfish species, such as tuna and salmon during authorized seasons, may be possessed with halibut on open all-depth Pacific halibut days.
More details on regulations can be found at: 2008 PACIFIC HALIBUT SPORT SEASONS IN OREGON or in the 2008 Oregon Sport Ocean Regulations for Salmon, Halibut and Other Marine Species booklet. General regulations can be found in the 2008 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.