A press release yesterday from Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed that the halibut fishing season will open March 1st this year. The recreational share of the total allowable catch has also increased from the historic 12% to 15%. Retention is still one halibut per day, two possession, but hopefully this means halibut fishing opportunities will remain open through summer.
Get ready, halibut fishing will be coming soon to Port Renfrew and Swiftsure Bank, woo hoo!
Greater Certainty in the Pacific Halibut Fishery
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – Feb. 17, 2012) - The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, made an announcement today that will provide greater long-term certainty to the Pacific halibut fishery.
“Our government is making good on a commitment to provide greater long-term certainty in the Pacific halibut fishery for First Nations, commercial and recreational harvesters, and, most importantly encouraging jobs and economic growth in British Columbia,” said Minister Ashfield.
Based on a thorough review process conducted by Parliamentary Secretary Randy Kamp involving First Nations, commercial and recreational sectors, and the province of British Columbia, the Minister has instructed the Department to make an immediate correction in the allocation formula for the Pacific halibut fishery. Under the new formula, 85% of the resource will be allocated to the commercial sector and 15% to the recreational sector.
“I want to express my appreciation for Randy Kamp’s dedication to finding a solution that strikes a fair balance between the sectors and establishes a stable environment for the future,” added Minister Ashfield.
The experimental licence introduced last year, which allowed recreational harvesters to lease Pacific halibut quota from commercial harvesters based on market value, will continue to be available. Improvements to the program will be made, reflecting feedback received from 2011 participants. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will move forward with regulatory changes to continue this market-based transfer mechanism for the long term.
The 2012 Pacific halibut recreational fishing season will open March 1st. Recreational anglers with a tidal water licence will be able to catch one halibut per day with two in possession. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to work with recreational community representatives to identify monitoring and management measures that will provide greatest flexibility and season length while staying within their allocation.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to work with First Nations to ensure priority access for Food, Social and Ceremonial purposes, and to engage First Nations in pursuing opportunities for commercial access to halibut through existing aboriginal programs.
All participants and sectors have a shared responsibility for the conservation, stewardship and careful harvest of Pacific halibut and this will continue to be a priority for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.