The 2018 recreational Pacific halibut fishing season will commence Tuesday, May 1 for the first of four open periods. The season’s dates will be May 1-June 15, July 1-15, August 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier.
The 2018 recreational Pacific halibut quota for the California subarea is 30,940 pounds – about 4,000 pounds less than the 2017 quota.
Since 2015, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has managed the Pacific halibut fishing 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.
Again this year, CDFW will monitor catches of Pacific halibut during the season and provide catch projection updates on the CDFW Pacific halibut webpage (see link below). 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.
For the first time, state Pacific halibut regulations will automatically conform to federal regulations using the new process described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.95. Federal regulations for Pacific halibut were published in the Federal Register (83 FR 13090) on March 26, 2018, and are effective as of March 24, 2018.
Season dates were chosen based on input CDFW received from an online survey that was conducted in February 2018. 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.
Public notification of any in-season change is made through the National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific halibut hotline. 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, wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut
- National Marine Fisheries Service Halibut Hotline, (800) 662-9825
- CDFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline, (831) 649-2801
Here’s an amazing halibut chowder recipe from Fisherman’s Belly.