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Saltwater anglers will get the opportunity to fish for halibut beginning Thursday.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife made the decision July 28 to open recreational fishing of coastal halibut. The season had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Although it looks a bit different from the typical halibut season that anglers might be used to, this approach continues to prioritize health and safety, economic investment into port communities, and time out on the water," Heather Hall, Fish & Wildlife's intergovernmental ocean policy coordinator, said in a news release.

Locally, Puget Sound Marine Areas 5–10 will be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 30 or until the remaining halibut quota is caught.

The release said anglers should opt for trips close to home while practicing physical distancing.

Catch information will be collected at fishing access sites throughout Puget Sound as well as along the coast.

In all marine areas open to halibut fishing, there is a one-fish daily catch limit and no minimum size restriction.

Anglers may possess a maximum of two halibut in any form while in the field and must record their catch on a Fish & Wildlife halibut catch record card. 

There is an annual limit of four halibut.

Because halibut fisheries have quotas, closures can happen quickly.

Prior to fishing, anglers are advised to check the Fish & Wildlife website to determine which areas are open for fishing. Also, many launches and beaches are managed by local, tribal, or federal governments, and may not be operating normally.

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