California’s Recreational Pacific Halibut Allocation to Increase For 2015

sampler with halibut
Sampler with Pacific halibut

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has made recommendations to increase the California Pacific halibut fishery allocation beginning in 2015 in response to greater interest in the northern California fishery, and new information indicating a higher abundance in California than when the formal Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) was originally adopted.

Pacific halibut is allocated among users on the West Coast (known as Area 2A) through a CSP that was developed in the late 1980s. Area 2A sectors include the recreational fisheries in Washington, Oregon and California, the coastwide commercial fishery, and the tribal fisheries, which operate primarily in Washington.

The California recreational fishery allocation will increase from 1 to 4 percent of the non-tribal allocation by implementing a one percent reduction for the Washington recreational (35.6 percent), Oregon recreational (29.7 percent), and commercial (30.7 percent) sectors.

Additional changes for 2015 include in-season tracking and management of the California recreational fishery to stay within the CSP allocation. The California recreational season structure will be determined based on a catch projection method developed by California Department of Fish and Wildlife staff, and specific season dates will be developed with the input of stakeholder involvement. This process will begin in early 2015 after the Pacific halibut total allowable catch is established.

In early December, a detailed description of all changes to the 2015 Pacific Halibut CSP and annual fishery regulations will be provided in a Pacific Fishery Management Council blog post and on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Pacific halibut webpage.

  post by Caroline Mcknight, CDFW Environmental Scientist  ♦  CDFW photo by E. Roberts III