Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery Closes Thursday August 13, 2015

CDFW staff measures Pacific halibut
CDFW staff collects data from Pacific halibut

After an active summer, the last day of recreational Pacific halibut fishing will be Wednesday, August 12, 2015. The season will be closed for the remainder of the year. Excellent weather during July and early August and a successful catch rate contributed to the early closure of the fishery by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service following consultation with CDFW.

This was the first year of a newly designed Pacific halibut season structure that provided for set open and closed periods of fishing. The short breaks between open periods were anticipated to spread fishing opportunity from May through October (the entirety of the previous season) without exceeding the quota. Despite these set fishing periods, the actual season length is contingent upon how much fishing effort occurs out on the water relative to the annual quota. Based on CDFW’s weekly catch tracking system for 2015, the 25,220 net pound recreational quota for California is projected to be met by the closure date.

The catch tracking system relies on the California Recreational Fishery Survey program, which assigns field staff to sample at public launch ramps and charter boats to record fish catch and effort information for all marine sport-caught fish. This information is utilized to produce in-season catch tracking projections and will ultimately be used to generate final catch estimates later in the year. See the official news release and the Pacific halibut webpage for further information.

Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) are found almost exclusively off the California coast north of Point Arena in Mendocino County and should not be confused with California halibut (Paralichthys californicus) which are more commonly encountered along the entire California coast. Here are some tips on how to tell the two fish species apart.

post by Caroline McKnight, CDFW Environmental Scientist    CDFW file photo