STATEWIDE — The 2018 recreational Pacific halibut fishery is officially open, with the first of four fishing periods running through June 15. Recreational halibut fishing opened May 1; the season’s other dates are July 1-15, Aug. 1-15 and Sept. 1 to Oct. 31. The season will close on Oct. 31 or when the quota is reached, whichever occurs first.
This year’s Pacific halibut quota for the California subarea is 30,940 pounds, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The quota is about 4,000 pounds less than the 2017 catch limit.
“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) has managed the Pacific halibut fishery to keep catches within the state’s recreational fishery quota. The open dates are not guaranteed days, and the fishery could be closed early if it is determined that projected catches will exceed the California quota,” a DFW blog post stated. “Again this year, [DFW] will monitor catches of Pacific halibut during the season and provide catch projection updates on the [DFW] Pacific halibut webpage.”
DFW, for the first time, will automatically conform to the state’s Pacific halibut regulations to federal regulations, as described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.95.
“Season dates were chosen based on input [DFW] received from an online survey that was conducted in February,” DFW staff stated. “The open dates are expected to meet the goal of providing as much opportunity to fish for Pacific halibut throughout the season while remaining within California’s limit.”
Information and updates on in-season changes are available by visiting the DFW website or calling one of two hotlines:
- DFW website, wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut
- National Marine Fisheries Service Halibut Hotline, 800-662-9825
- DFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline, 831-649-2801.