The recreational Pacific halibut fishery will open May 1 for the 2015 season. This year the fishery will be held to a federally established quota of 25,220 pounds. The season dates will be May 1-15, June 1-15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15, and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier.
“California’s recreational quota was the result of hard work with the industry and other states,” said Marci Yaremko, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) representative to the Pacific Fishery Management Council. “We are committed to ensuring this year’s catch does not exceed that number.”
To be consistent with international and federal gear restrictions already in place, state regulations now limit anglers to one rod and no more than two hooks per person to take Pacific halibut. New state regulations will allow the use of a harpoon, gaff or net to assist in taking a Pacific halibut that has been legally caught by angling.
The season dates were determined through a collaborative effort between CDFW staff and stakeholders to provide as much fishing opportunity as possible between May and October. The open and closed periods are intended to spread the fishing activity from spring through fall.
Again this year, field staff will be stationed at public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut along with other marine sportfish. CDFW will examine this information in comparison to expected catch rates and confer with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on a weekly basis. If the cumulative catch is expected to reach or exceed the quota prior to Oct. 31, NMFS will close the fishery.
The public can follow the progress of catch through the season by viewing the new Pacific halibut thermometer, http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/pacifichalibut.asp, which will be updated weekly with the latest catch projection information.
Before engaging in any fishing activity for Pacific halibut, please check one of the following resources for the most up-to-date regulations:
- National Marine Fishery Service Halibut Hotline, (800) 662-9825
- CDFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline, (831) 649-2801
- CDFW website, http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/pacifichalibut.asp
Deb Wilson-Vandenberg, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2892
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191