Recreational Pacific halibut season underway, strict regulations in effect

By: Parimal M. Rohit

STATEWIDE — The first window of the 2015 Pacific Halibut recreational season has already open and closed, as state regulators hope to manage how much of the flatfish is reeled in between May 1 and Oct. 31.

California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) collaborated with National Marine Fisheries Service (NFMS) to establish a federally mandated quota for the Pacific Halibut catch. The 2015 quota for the species caught off of California’s coast is 25,220 net pounds.

Both agencies will monitor the fishery weekly and throughout the season to ensure recreational anglers do not exceed the quota before or by Oct. 31.

To help manage the amount of Pacific Halibut reeled in by recreational anglers this season, DFW established five windows of dates for fisherman to probe for the flatfish. The first of those five windows, May 1 to 15, already passed. Anglers can fish for Pacific Halibut again between June 1 and 15, then again from July 1 to 15, Aug. 1 to 15 and, finally, Sept. 1 to Oct. 31.

The fishery will be shut down Oct. 31 or whenever the 25,220 net pounds quota is met, whichever date occurs earlier.

Anglers and the general public can monitor the fishery’s progress on DFW’s website. The website will be updated weekly throughout the season.

According to news reports, DFW staff will physically be at public boat launch ramps and charter landings to monitor and record Pacific Halibut catches.

There are also two hotlines available: the NMFS Halibut Hotline at (800) 662-9825 and DFW’s Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801.

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