End of 2016 recreational Pacific halibut fishery season nears

STATEWIDE — The 2016 recreational Pacific halibut fishery season enters its final stretch on Sept. 1, as the state-mandated open run will be the final chance anglers have to reel in the flatfish species before 2017.

State officials predict the federally mandated halibut catch quota (29,640 pounds) will likely not be met or exceeded before the Oct. 31 end-of-season deadline.

The 2016 season will end before Oct. 31 should the fishery reach or threaten to exceed the quota anytime before the season-end date.

The California Recreational Fisheries Survey (CRFS) predicts 21,638 pounds of Pacific halibut would be reeled in by recreational anglers this year; the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) estimated almost 9,000 pounds of Pacific halibut were already caught during the first four open fishing periods this year.

The final eight-week run of the recreational Pacific halibut fishery is the longest of the season; the previous four open periods were two weeks each.

Pacific halibut’s recreational fishery is closely monitored each year, with catch quotas established by DFW, International Pacific Halibut Commission, National Marine Fisheries Service and Pacific Fishery Management Council.

According to DFW officials the Pacific halibut fishery was abundant during the early 1900s but became depleted and was at overcapacity beginning in the 1950s. State and federal agencies implemented a strict management program to limit the amount of halibut catches off the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska in an effort, according to DFW, “to reduce fishing pressure.”

Visit tinyurl.com/pacific-halibut for more information about the recreational Pacific halibut fishery, including upcoming agency meetings, statistical updates of the current season and information about the state’s management of the flatfish species.

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