Recreational Pacific halibut season closes 5 weeks early

STATEWIDE — It was fun while it lasted but the sun is prematurely setting on the 2016 recreational Pacific halibut season.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) formally announced the 2016 recreational Pacific halibut season is closed as of Sept. 24, about five weeks ahead of when the fishery was originally scheduled to end.

DFW officials said the fishery would exceed its 2016 quota of 29,640 pounds if it were not shut down now. The preliminary DFW estimate, as of Sept. 23, is 27,847 pounds.

The official end of season: 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 24.

Projections were made based upon DFW field staff sampling catches at public boat launch ramps and charter boat landings throughout the season. The sampled information is shared weekly with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) to make projected catch amounts.

The recreational Pacific halibut fishery is tightly managed, with sporadic open and close dates each season.

This year’s open and close dates were May 1-15, June 1-15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31. Of course the last segment was cut short.

Pacific halibut differs from California halibut; the former is found in Alaska, Pacific Northwest and Northern California. Anglers can fish for California halibut between the state’s Central Coast and Mexico’s Baja peninsula.

The California halibut fishery is open year-round. Anglers are limited to five catches daily south of Point Sur (Monterey County).

Information on how to identify California versus Pacific halibut can be found here.

For more information on the recreational Pacific halibut fishery call the NMFS hotline at 800-662-9825 or the DFW hotline at 831-649-2801. Anglers and other interested parties can also visit iphc.int or wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut.

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