THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will host a virtual public meeting at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11 to discuss season structure and proposed dates for the 2024 recreational halibut season.
This meeting will help WDFW fishery managers gather stakeholder input prior to the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meeting in November, when the Council will take final action on the season structure for 2024.
WDFW held a virtual public meeting on Aug. 2 to review preliminary 2023 season data and worked with stakeholders to develop a range of preliminary 2024 options focused on general concepts, such as ways to extend the season length and maximize fishing opportunity. WDFW summarized stakeholder input and the range of preliminary halibut fishing options to the PFMC.
At the Oct. 11 meeting, in addition to refining the options developed at the first meeting, WDFW staff will collect further public input, and select specific season dates that attempt to balance needs across various fishing communities, including charter and private fishing interests.
The meeting also offers WDFW staff an opportunity to provide an overview of the PFMC’s groundfish (bottomfish) biennial process for 2025-2026. The overview provides a general timeline, current recreational bottomfish management measures such as bag limits and depth restrictions, 2023 recreational bottomfish catch and preliminary federal harvest limits for 2025-2026. The public will have opportunities to provide input on coastal recreational bottomfish management measures at meetings in early 2024.