On Aug. 4, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife officially closed the recreational Pacific halibut fishery statewide at 11:59 p.m. The decision is based on the latest catch projections because the CDFW expected the 2023 California recreational quota of 39,520 net pounds would be reached by that date.
The CDFW is tasked with tracking the progress of the fishery each year to meet but not exceed the California quota. The CDFW field staff gather at public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor Pacific halibut catch and other marine sportfish species throughout the season. The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) is in charge of determining the quota annually.
In early August, the CDFW consulted with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the IPHC, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council to review projected catch amounts and determine the closure date. Formal authority to close the fishery is granted to the NMFS, which chose to close the fishery following consultation with the CDFW. The CDFW implements changes to the season according to authority found in sections 1.95 and 28.20, Title 14, California Code of Regulations.
Pacific halibut is a different species than California halibut and inhabits an extensive geographic range from the Aleutian Islands eastward through Alaska to British Columbia and throughout the ocean waters of the Pacific Northwest. Along the West Coast, Pacific halibut are commonly found as far south as Point Arena in Mendocino County. California halibut are more common farther south.
For current information about the Pacific halibut fishery, science, or management, please check the following resources:
- NMFS Hotline: (800) 662-9825
- CDFW Recreational Pacific Halibut Regulations Hotline: (831) 649-2801
- CDFW website: wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut
- IPHC website: iphc.int.
For more information, please visit https://wildlife.ca.gov/.