After skipping the calendar this past year, the Marina del Rey Halibut Derby is scheduled to return in 2011, on May 14 and 15.

“Placing the Marina del Rey Halibut Derby on a one-year hiatus was one of the most difficult decisions our board has ever made,” said Marina del Rey Anglers President Joshua Gerson. “We wanted to give our local halibut a one year rest, during which time our board of directors conducted a thorough investigation on the health of the Santa Monica Bay and the health of the local halibut fishery.”

Since holding the last halibut derby, Anglers board members said they invited some of the most knowledgeable government and non-government agencies and their top marine and fishery scientists to address the club and present their findings on the status of the halibut.

The scientists provided data and reflected a consensus that the water and bottom sediment in the Santa Monica Bay is the cleanest it has been in over 30 years, according to Anglers. While challenges remain to control pollution, treat stormwater run-off, reduce pesticides and fertilizers, restore wetlands and manage fisheries, progress has been made and the Santa Monica Bay appears to be in good environmental shape, the board said.

Board members noted that during this past year, the halibut fishery in Southern California has also been good. They added they are pleased to have the halibut derby on tap for next year.

“We are so excited to announce the dates for our 36th Marina del Rey Halibut Derby,” said Anglers Director Kenneth Raymond, who will be the 2011 Halibut Derby chairman. “MDRA has hosted the MDR Halibut Derby for tens of thousands of anglers. Please come out and join this great event.”

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