FISH AND WILDLIFE
[Order 20-200—Filed September 22, 2020, 3:47 p.m., effective September 22, 2020, 3:47 p.m.]
Effective Date of Rule: Immediately upon filing.
Purpose: Purpose: The purpose of this rule is to open two additional recreational halibut fishing days in Marine Areas 1 and 2 and three additional recreational halibut fishing days in Marine Areas 3 through 10 already established by WSR 20-15-135. This will also align sport fishing rules with federal rules adopted by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: Repealing WAC 220-314-03000B and 220-314-03000C; and amending WAC 220-314-030.
Under RCW 34.05.350
the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: Under the Halibut Convention Act, NMFS has the authority to promulgate regulations for domestic halibut regulations and the states are required to conform. Therefore, this rule conforms to the NMFS's final rule, which is consistent with the actions taken by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) and the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
Recreational halibut fishing is scheduled to close at the end of September; however, only sixty percent of the Washington sport quota has been taken based on catch data through September 13, leaving over one hundred thousand pounds of quota remaining. Reduced fishing effort due to poor weather in recent weeks has been a factor and has resulted in lower catch than expected. PFMC's Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan and federal regulations allow the recreational halibut season to be open up to three days per week. Allowing additional fishing days will provide anglers the opportunity to take more of the remaining quota before the recreational halibut season closes at the end of September. The recreational halibut quota is enough to provide for these additional days. Halibut catch will continue to be closely monitored by the Washington department of fish and wildlife staff. There is insufficient time to adopt permanent rules.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 2.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: September 22, 2020.
WAC 220-314-03000CHalibut—Seasons—Daily and possession limits.
Notwithstanding the provisions of WAC 220-314-030, WAC 220-314-040, and 220-314-010, effective immediately through September 30, 2020, it is unlawful to fish for or possess halibut taken for personal use, except as provided in this section. All other provisions of WAC 220-314-040, and 220-314-010, including Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Areas (YRCA), not addressed herein, remain in effect unless otherwise amended by emergency rule:
(1) Catch Record Card Area 1:
(a) Open September 24, 27, 28 and 29, 2020.
(b) Lingcod can be retained when halibut are on board, during the halibut season north of the Washington-Oregon border.
(2) Catch Record Card Area 1 (Nearshore fishery); Those waters shoreward from 46°38.17'N. lat., 124°15.88'W. long., to the WA/OR border at 46°16.00'N. lat., 24°15.88'W. long. (then connecting to the 40 fathom depth contour in Oregon):
(a) Open September 22, 23, 28, 29, and 30 2020.
(b) It is permissible to retain bottomfish while possessing halibut onboard boats in the nearshore area.
(3) Catch Record Card Area 2:
(a) Open September 24, 27, 28 and 29, 2020.
(4) Card Areas 3 and 4:
(a) Open September 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29, 2020.
(5) Catch Record Card Area 5 through 10:
(a) Open September 24, 25, 26, 27 28, and 29, 2020
(b) It is permissible for halibut anglers to retain Pacific cod caught while fishing for halibut in waters deeper than 120 feet on days when halibut fishing is open in Area 5.
(6) Catch Record Card Areas 11, 12 and 13: Closed.
Reviser's note: The typographical errors in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040
The following section of the Washington Administrative Code is repealed:
Halibut—Seasons—Daily and possession limits. (20-180)
The following section of the Washington Administrative Code is repealed effective October 1, 2020:
Halibut—Seasons—Daily and possession limits.