The 2017 recreational Pacific halibut fishery will commence Monday, May 1 for the first of four open periods. This season’s dates are May 1-June 15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The open and closed periods are intended to provide fishing opportunities from spring through fall.
The 2017 Pacific halibut quota for the California subarea is 34,580 pounds – about 5,000 pounds more than the 2016 quota.
During the annual rulemaking process, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) received input expressing interest in maintaining the 2016 season dates, but also adding additional open fishing days in 2017 that align with holiday weekends. In response, and in light of the increased quota, CDFW recommended a longer open season to the National Marine Fisheries Service which included Memorial Day weekend, in addition to Independence Day and Labor Day weekends.
The season dates are expected to continue to meet the goal of providing as much opportunity throughout the season while ensuring the quota is attained.
As in 2015 and 2016, the open dates are not guaranteed days, and the season could be closed early if it is determined that projected catches will exceed the California quota.
Again this year, field staff will be stationed at public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut along with other marine sportfish. CDFW will examine this information in comparison to expected catch rates and if the cumulative catch is expected to reach or exceed the quota prior to Oct. 31, a closure date will be determined and the public will be notified.
The public can follow the progress of catch through the season on the CDFW Pacific halibut website, which will be updated weekly with the latest catch projection information.
Before engaging in any fishing activity for Pacific halibut, please check one of the following resources for the most up-to-date information:
• CDFW website, www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut
• National Marine Fisheries Service Halibut Hotline, (800) 662-9825
• CDFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline, (831) 649-2801