Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly

Recreational halibut fishery expanded — RDMW news

And more news from the Regional District of Mount Waddington board of directors meeting this week

Almost eight million pounds of halibut is available for recreational anglers this year, Sport Fishing Advisory Committee members Mike Kelly and Lawrie Garret told regional district board members this week.

“There’s more activity now toward halibut than there is to salmon,” Kelly said at the monthly meeting of the Regional District of Mount Waddington’s board of directors.

Recreational fishers are allotted 15 per cent of the total pounds of halibut the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) will allow to be harvested from B.C. waters. This year, that means 7.7 million pounds for the recreational sector, leaving the rest for commercial operations. That 7.7 million pounds is an increase of 22,500 over last year, said Kelly.

The one fish a day limit remains for halibut and they must be between 83-133 cm. The annual limit is six. Currently the season runs from Feb. 1 to Dec. 31, but there have been discussions about closing the season early. That could present challenges for lodges and charter operations, especially if the DFO doesn’t communicate soon any decision it makes on a shortened season.

“If someone wants to come in October, it would be nice if there was some certainty,” said Garret.

For more on this story (including news about salmon and groundfish), and more from the RDMW board meeting last week in Port McNeill, keep visiting www.northislandgazette.com and read the March 29 edition of The Gazette.

Other news from the RDMW board meeting you can read more about at www.northislandgazette.com and in Wednesday’s edition of The Gazette:

• What’s up with B.C. Transit possibly expanding service to Coal Harbour/Quatsino?

• Hyde Creek needs an acting Fire Chief.

• Is the window of opportunity closing for Coal Harbour to be part of the Telus fibre-optic expansion on the North Island?