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Sooke Fishing Report

Welcome to the Sooke Fishing Adventures website! On this page, we will post regular updates on what's happening with Sooke fishing, Vancouver Island fishing, and other news of interest to our fishing friends from around the world.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Halibut Fishing Opens March 15th

Foghorn Fishing with 2 Nice Halibut
The long-awaited decision from DFO about 2013 halibut fishing has finally arrived.  Check out DFO's notice. (copied below)

Some anglers are a little disappointed, as there's new restrictions this year on both size of halibut (126cm) and on yearly maximum (6).  However, it is good to have some certainty on when we can start fishing again for these great fish, and if this extends the season a little, that's good too.  

An odd part of the announcement is that season opens March 15th, but the size limit doesn't start until April 1st.  So, those looking for a trophy halibut, looks like you have a couple of weeks' window to chase them!

Victoria and Sooke deliver a few biggies every year, so see you out on the local waters soon. Good luck out there -- and fish safe.

Fishery Notice

Category(s): RECREATIONAL - Fin Fish (Other than Salmon)
Subject: FN0087-RECREATIONAL - Fin Fish (other than Salmon) - Halibut: 2013 Recreational Fishery Opening Date and NEW Management Measures

Halibut Stock Status:

Over the past decade, the Pacific halibut stock has been declining continuously 
as a result of decreasing size-at-age and poor recruitment.  This stock decline 
has resulted in significant decreases in overall total allowable catches (TAC) 
in the Pacific from 74.9 million pounds in 2003 to 31.0 million pounds in 2013, 
a reduction of approximately 58 percent.

Canada's overall allocation for 2013 is 7.04 million pounds and the 
recreational fishery allocation is 1.080 million pounds. 

The objectives for the recreational fishery are:
- to stay within the allocation (TAC),
- to effectively manage, enforce and assess the fishery,
- to follow the guiding principles of the "Vision for the Recreational Fishery 
in BC" such as providing stable and predictable opportunities and to share 
responsibility for catch monitoring and reporting.

Consultations on the 2013 halibut management options commenced in September 
2012 through the Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB) process and concluded at 
the main SFAB meetings Feb 2-3, 2013.

DFO has received and considered the SFAB recommendations. The following 
measures will be in place for 2013 and assessed at the end of year as to how 
they met the overall fishery objectives.

DFO will be releasing information related to releasing fish safely and in the 
least harmful manner as well as the proper packaging and transport of large 

The 2012/2013 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licences and Conditions of Licence are 
in effect until 23:59 hours March 31, 2013.

2013/2014 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licences will be available electronically 
in mid to late March.  Manual (waterproof paper) licences will be shipped to 
vendors as soon as possible for the new licence year.
Further updates on Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licences will be provided as 
information becomes available.

Coast wide:

Open time:
Effective at 00:01 hours March 15, 2013 fishing for halibut will be opened 
coastwide until further notice.

Limits and sizes:

Effective 00:01 hours March 15 to 23:59 hours March 31, 2013, the daily limit 
for halibut is one (1) and the possession limit for halibut is two (2), of 
which only one may be greater than 83cm.

Effective 00:01 hours April 1, 2013 until further notice:
- The maximum length for halibut is 126cm.
- The daily limit for halibut is one (1). 
- The possession limit for halibut is two (2), only one of which may be greater 
than 83cm in length. 
- There will be an annual limit of six (6) halibut (per licence holder). 
- All halibut retained by the licence holder shall be immediately recorded in 
ink on the Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licence.  The area from which each 
halibut is caught and its length shall immediately be recorded on license.

The exceptions to these openings are:

Areas 121, 23 and 123: 
Effective 00:01 hours March 1, 2013 to 23:59 hours December 31, 2013:

No person shall fish for or retain halibut, rockfish and lingcod in Area 121 
outside the 12 nautical mile limit seaward of a line that begins at 48 degrees 
34.000 minutes North latitude and 125 degrees 17.386 minutes West longitude and 
continues south easterly at a bearing of 116 degrees True to a point at 48 
degrees 28.327 minutes North latitude and 125 degrees 01.687 minutes West 

Electronic licence conditions will be continued as follows: "Only a Canadian 
resident may fish for or retain halibut under an electronic licence in 
management Areas 121, 23 and 123."

Area 121:
A reminder to recreational harvesters, that the waters of Swiftsure Bank, 
inside a line from 48°34.00'N and 125°06.00'W, thence to 48°34.00'N and 124°
54.20'W, thence to 48°29.62'N and 124°43.40'W, thence following the 
International Boundary between Canada and the U.S. to 48°29.55'N and 124°
56.20'W, thence in a straight line to the point of commencement, are closed to 
all finfish, all year.

Note: Rockfish Conservations Areas (RCA's) remain in effect - refer to the 
following website for descriptions:

Variation Orders 2013-79 and 2013-80.
Contact: Glenn Lario 250-720-4447, Devona Adams 604-666-3271, Mark Reagan 250-
627-3409 or Neil Davis 604-666-9033.

Sooke Fishing Adventures
Phone: 1-250-642-2587