Well, there wasn’t a whole lot of offshore fishing to be had since the last newsletter. The albacore headed north of us, Pacific halibut season closed early (see p. 12), and salmon season ended with some windy weather. The Bluefin tuna were elusive, and now Dungeness crab season is postponed indefinitely due to elevated domoic acid concentrations. The coming years will present new challenges to north coast saltwater anglers, and some hard decisions on fishery management issues in the coming years, all of which will make our collective and coordinated efforts to preserve our fishing opportunities that more important.
We have been using more surveys to help the HASA Board of Directors better understand north coast anglers’ preferences on Pacific halibut season structure. For example, coming soon will be the results of the 2016 Pacific halibut season structure survey. While CDFW has been reluctant to consider changes for the 2016 season structure, we nonetheless felt it important to gain a better understanding of north coast anglers based on their experience with the 2015 season structure. Based on input at the end of the 2015 season, we developed another two season structure options that attempts to better ensure Pacific halibut fishing opportunities in September and October by assigning an 80% of quota to early and middle season harvest, then 20% of quota to September and October harvest. As of today, we have received 92 responses, with lots of good input via comments. We will post results on the HTC board shortly.
The success of these surveys in getting input means that we will likely expand the surveys to other topics. In addition to your providing input at HASA meetings and fishery management meetings, it provides HASA with a broader perspective on your thoughts, including anglers that reside out of coastal counties but travel here to fish and contribute to our economy. Look for more surveys to come out soon (but not too many!).
As a reminder, the 2016 HASA banquet will be held on April 30, 2016 at the Arcata Community Center, so mark your calendars if you haven’t done so already! Also, HASA will be updating the membership process, and will be sending out renewal notices at the beginning of the year. Your joining HASA is critical to improving our voice for representing north coast saltwater anglers, which will be critically important in the coming years.
Lastly, I hope everyone is able to reflect on the high points of the 2015 fishing season, and can tell a few more tall fishing stories amongst friends during the holiday season. Best of luck in the coming year!