Celebrate Ceviche Day!

Because… who doesn’t like fresh raw seafood and citrus juice….

WDFW, Washington Sea Grant promote public’s access to #LocalWASeafood

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Washington Sea Grant have teamed up to encourage all Washingtonians to celebrate Ceviche Day this Sunday, June 28, to bring awareness to the state’s abundance and variety of locally caught seafood.

Washington residents – even those who don’t fish themselves – have access year-round to some of the world’s healthiest and most sustainable seafood. The state’s commercial seafood industry, which drives a $600,000,000 yearly boost to Washington’s economy, is currently delivering Dungeness crab, Albacore tuna, rockfish, pink shrimp, and other fish and shellfish to families’ tables across the state. This comes at a time when reduced restaurant, market, and global trade demand during the COVID-19 pandemic has strained commercial fishing buyers and processors.    

“When you serve up Washington seafood harvested fresh from our coastal communities, you’re not only supporting more than 20,000 people who make up our state’s commercial fishing fleet, you’re also beginning to fully experience all that this state has to offer,” said Larry Phillips, coastal region director with WDFW. “We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the diversity of seafood that the summer season brings to the northwest than ceviche – it’s so versatile.” 

With its roots in Mexico, Central and South America, ceviche is a popular seafood dish that traditionally combines raw fish or seafood with lime juice in a simple appetizer, side, or main dish. Ceviche often varies by recipe depending on its country and regional origin. 

For the week following Ceviche Day on June 28, WDFW and Washington Sea Grant will share seafood recipes that highlight a variety of locally caught seafood products with information on how they are managed and where they can be purchased. 

“We are pleased to be partnering with WDFW in an effort to highlight the value that our local commercial fisheries bring to Washington consumers,” said W. Russell Callender, director of Washington Sea Grant. “Through sharing recipes widely and providing useful information to consumers, we hope to increase consumer understanding and access to Washington’s sustainable seafood resources.”

Need some help figuring out which of the wide variety of in-season seafood to prepare? Visit this blog post for suggested spot shrimp, tuna, geoduck, and salmon ceviche preparations from WDFW and Washington Sea Grant staff and their families: https://medium.com/@wdfw/celebrate-june-28-ceviche-day-with-local-washington-seafood-7d9678b14bf1

More information about when and where to buy locally sourced Washington seafood is available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/where-to-buy-local-seafood. For more seafood recipe ideas, visit Washington Sea Grant’s News Blog: https://wsg.washington.edu/wsg-news-post/safe-sustainable-seafood/

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

Washington Sea Grant, based within the College of the Environment at the University of Washington, helps people understand and address the challenges facing Washington’s ocean and coasts through marine research, technical expertise and education. 

Marine Area 4 is Ready for Liftoff

A Press Release from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife announcing the opening of Marine Area 4. Some excellent shellfishing, and angling (if that’s your thing), can be had within the beautiful boundaries of Marine Area 4, including mussels, oysters, and numerous clam species.

Map of Marine Area 4

Saltwater recreational fishing to reopen in Marine Area 4; ocean salmon fishing dates and proposed halibut seasons announced

June 12, 2020 OLYMPIA – The waters where the Pacific Ocean meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca will reopen to saltwater fishing June 20, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today. The announcement follows similar reopenings last month along the rest of Washington’s Pacific coastline.

The Department also announced this year’s summer ocean salmon fishing seasons, which will kick off June 20 in all four coastal marine areas, and proposed dates for ocean halibut fishing beginning in August.

Marine Area 4 reopens

Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay), which includes the waters from Cape Alava on the Olympic Peninsula north to the mouth of the Sekiu River along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, will reopen to bottomfish and shellfish – including mussels, clams, and oysters – beginning  Saturday, June 20. Crabbing also reopens west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line, which runs from the Tatoosh Island Lighthouse north to Bonilla Point on Vancouver Island, but remains closed east of the line.  There are a number of additional restrictions that anglers also need to be aware of before heading out.

The Makah Reservation, including marinas and all services, remains closed to visitors. Neah Bay on the Makah Reservation represents the primary direct boat access in Marine Area 4, and as a result, those fishing in this area will have to launch from and land in other areas. Anglers fishing in Marine Area 4 will still have to follow all rules and regulations for that area, regardless of where they return with their catch.

“Anglers fishing in Marine Area 4 but returning to other coastal ports will need to make sure that they’re sticking to limits and following the rules for that area,” said Larry Phillips, coastal region director with WDFW. “That means they can’t get their limit in Marine Area 4, then head over to Marine Area 5 and continue fishing. These rules are necessary to respect local communities’ wishes and help keep people safe, while also supporting conservation and management objectives.”

La Push, located on the Quileute Reservation to the south, also remains closed to the public.

Anglers will need to continue following other state guidelines by staying close to home, traveling only with family or other members of their immediate household, and practicing physical distancing by keeping 6 feet apart. Anglers should also be sure to check ahead of time if their preferred fishing destination or launch area is open; many launches and beaches are managed under local, tribal, or federal jurisdiction, and may not be operating normally.

Summer salmon seasons

With Marine Area 4 reopening, sport anglers will also have the opportunity to reel in salmon off Washington’s coast starting Saturday, June 20.

That’s when all four marine areas open daily to fishing for Chinook salmon, said Wendy Beeghley, a fishery manager with WDFW.

The season will begin with a Chinook-only fishery with a one-salmon daily limit for all areas June 20-28. Coho may not be retained during this period. Beginning June 29, daily limits increase to two salmon per angler in all areas, and unmarked coho must be released. In areas 1 and 2, only one of those two salmon may be a Chinook. Also beginning June 29, Marine Area 2 will be open Sundays through Thursdays, and closed Fridays and Saturdays. Areas 1, 3 and 4 will remain open 7 days per week.

Willapa Bay (Area 2-1) and the portion of Grays Harbor (Area 2-2) west of the Buoy 13 line also open June 20 under the same rules as Area 2. Regulations for Areas 2-1 and 2-2 change in August, and details are listed in the Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet. The 2020-21 edition of the pamphlet will be available in late June.

The recreational catch quotas for 2020 are 26,360 Chinook and 26,500 marked coho. The Chinook quota is up slightly from 2019, but the coho quota is substantially lower than 2019.

All four marine areas are scheduled to close Sept. 30, but Beeghley noted that areas could close earlier if the quota is met.

Throughout the summer, anglers can check WDFW’s webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports/creel/ocean for updates.

Potential coastal halibut fishing

Coastal halibut fishing remains closed for now, but WDFW has been working with stakeholders this spring to discuss options for re-opening ocean halibut fishing in August.

“While we realize August is still a ways out, we also want to be open with anglers who we know are eager to plan halibut trips this summer,” said Heather Hall, WDFW’s intergovernmental ocean policy coordinator. “We’ve worked hard to develop an approach that will help maximize anglers’ time on the water, bring that economic value back, and continue to keep everyone safe.”

Hall added that the delayed fishery may benefit halibut anglers and their families since ocean conditions should be better in August than when the fishery usually opens in May.

These dates are tentative and subject to change due to impacts from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

WDFW is proposing coastal halibut fishing for the following dates and areas:

North Coast (Marine Areas 3 and 4): Opens Thursday, Aug. 6. The fishery in this area will be open three days per week, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Aug. 6 through Sept. 30 or until the quota is taken.

South Coast (Marine Areas 1 and 2): Open Thursday, Aug. 6. Then, beginning Aug. 13, open two days per week, Thursdays and Sundays, through Sept. 30 or until the quota is taken. If catch and effort is tracking slower than anticipated, additional days may be added. Proposed additional dates are Friday, Aug. 28; Friday, Sept. 4; and Friday, Sept. 11.

To Angle, or not to Angle…

A Press Release from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

May 28, 2020

Anglers can fish for free June 6-7, 2020 
State reminds anglers to continue to recreate responsibly this Free Fishing Weekend

OLYMPIA – Anglers can forget the fishing license June 6-7, but the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is still asking everyone to remember to recreate responsibly for this year’s “Free Fishing Weekend” to keep their communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s great to see that based on our conversations with public health officials, conditions are right to be able to continue on the department’s long-standing practice of offering a Free Fishing Weekend,” said Kelly Cunningham, WDFW’s fish program director. “This is about providing everyone an opportunity to give fishing a try—in a safe and responsible way.”

Anglers will need to follow state guidelines and health advice for the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to recreate in their local communities, traveling only with family or other members of their immediate household, and practicing physical distancing by keeping six feet apart. 

Anglers should check ahead of time if their preferred destination or launch is open. Some local marinas or facilities – including some tribal lands – remain closed, and anglers should be prepared to change plans if their first choice is closed or too congested. 

Before heading out, anglers should also check the current fishing regulations valid June 6 and 7 at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/. While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, rules such as size limits, bag limits, catch record card requirements (a fee is required for a halibut catch record card) and area closures will still be in effect. 

Halibut and razor clam harvest on the coast and intertidal shellfish in Puget Sound will remain closed due to continued port closures and concerns about the spread of coronavirus in local communities.  

While non-resident license sales are still suspended, non-residents can participate in Free Fishing Weekend since no license is needed. Anyone participating in Free Fishing Weekend should follow responsible recreation guidelines, which include staying local and fishing as close to home as possible.  

For those who want fishing advice, WDFW’s YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/thewdfw) provides “how to” fishing videos designed to introduce techniques to both new and seasoned anglers.

Anglers who take part in Free Fishing Weekend can also participate in the department’s 2020 Trout Fishing Derby and redeem blue tags from trout caught over the weekend. Interested anglers should check for details online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/contests/trout-derby.  

Anglers will not need a two-pole endorsement to fish with two poles in selected waters where two-pole fishing is permitted. Also, no vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required during Free Fishing Weekend to park at water-access sites maintained by WDFW or Washington State Parks. 

It is important to note that a Discover Pass will be required on Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ lands both days. 

In addition, the free “Fish Washington” app, available on Google Play, Apple’s App store and WDFW’s website (https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/app) is designed to convey up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream and marine area in the state.  

Catch record cards, required for some species, are available free (except halibut will still cost $5.50) at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state. See https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers on the WDFW website to locate a license dealer. 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities. 

Razor Clam Update

[via email from Dan Ayres, Coastal Shellfish Manager, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife] Emphasis editor’s own.

There will be no additional razor clam harvest openings until sometime in the fall of 2020. Conflicting information in local media reports and on various social media platforms has created some level of confusion.

Coastal Shellfish Manager, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Region Six

The last few days,  WDFW has been working with both Grays Harbor County and Pacific County regarding the possibility of allowing some razor clam harvest before the season ends on May 31. However, yesterday the Governor’s Office informed WDFW that because large razor clam crowds constitute a gathering under the Stay Home—Stay Healthy order. This order has been extended to May 31st, so razor clam digs and similar large gatherings are not allowed at this time.

WDFW is now focusing on a what we expect will be a great 2020-21 season and will start the field work for our summer-long razor clam population assessments very soon.

In Case You Missed It….

A press release from WDFW.

Published on Apr 27, 2020

OLYMPIA –The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Parks) announced today they will reopen state-managed lands on Tuesday, May 5, for local day-use only recreation.

The reopening will apply to state-managed parks, wildlife areas, recreation land, and boat launches. However, it may take several days for gates to be unlocked and sites to be serviced at remote areas due to limited staff capacity.

Some parks may not open immediately due to impacts on rural communities and the potential for crowding. State Parks is working with local communities and its partners to determine the best approach and timing to reopening these areas.

Visitor centers, camping, and other overnight accommodations on state-managed lands will remain closed until further notice.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also plans to reopen their recreation lands on May 5 for day-use. [Note: as of May 13, camping remains closed. Check the link for specific regional openings & closures.]

State land managers recommend people come prepared and bring their own hand washing supplies, toilet paper, and personal protective equipment as some sites will have reduced or limited restroom facilities. People should also be prepared to change plans if their destination appears crowded or is not yet fully operational.  

If sites become overcrowded or other COVID-19 related public safety concerns develop, state agencies may close areas with limited notice to further protect public health and safety. Certain restrictions around specific activities may also apply. 

The public can find the latest information about WDFW and Parks operations at:

  

Guidelines to recreate responsibly during COVID-19 public health crisis

Before you go 

  • Check what’s open. While many state-managed land destinations are open for day-use, other local, tribal, and federal land may still be closed. 
  • Opt for day trips close to home. Overnight stays are not permitted.
  • Stay with immediate household members only. Recreation with those outside of your household creates new avenues for virus transmission.
  • Come prepared. Visitors may find reduced or limited restroom services as staff begin the process to reopen facilities at wildlife areas and water access sites.  You are advised to bring your own soap, water, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper, as well as a mask or bandana to cover your nose and mouth.
  • Enjoy the outdoors when healthy. If you have symptoms of fever, coughing, or shortness of breath, save your outdoor adventure for another day.  

When you get there 

  • Avoid crowds. Be prepared to go somewhere else or come back another time if your destination looks crowded. 
  • Practice physical distancing. Keep six feet between you and those outside your immediate household. Launch one boat at a time to give others enough space to launch safely. Leave at least one parking space between your vehicle and the vehicle next to you. Trailer your boat in the same way. 
  • Wash your hands often. Keep up on personal hygiene and bring your own water, soap, and hand sanitizer with you.  
  • Pack out what you pack in. Take any garbage with you, including disposable gloves and masks.