The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces the recreational Pacific halibut fishery will close Saturday, Sept. 24 at 12:01 a.m. for the remainder of 2016. Based on the latest catch projections, CDFW expects the 2016 quota of 29,640 pounds will be exceeded unless the fishery is closed.
Formal authority to close the fishery resides with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which took action to close the fishery following consultation with CDFW.
Beginning in 2015, CDFW committed to tracking the fishery inseason to ensure catch amounts would not exceed the California quota. The quota amount is determined annually in January through an international process, and is largely driven by results from the annual stock assessment conducted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).
Pacific halibut occupy a large geographic range, from the Aleutian Islands eastward through Alaska to British Columbia and throughout ocean waters of the Pacific Northwest. Along the West Coast, they are commonly found as far south as Point Arena in Mendocino County. In recent years, catches in northern California have increased, consistent with a general shift of the stock to the south and east.
CDFW field staff sampled public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut along with other marine sportfish throughout the season. Using this information, CDFW conferred with NMFS and IPHC on a weekly basis to review projected catch amounts and determine when the quota would be attained.
For current information about the Pacific halibut fishery, science or management, please check one of the following resources:
NMFS Hotline, (800) 662-9825
CDFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline, (831) 649-2801
CDFW website, wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut
IPHC website, iphc.int
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191
Deb Wilson-Vandenberg, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2892