The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces the recreational Pacific halibut fishery will close Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 11:59 p.m. for the remainder of 2020. Based on the latest catch projections, CDFW expects the 2020 California recreational quota of 39,000 pounds has been taken.
The quota amount is determined annually through an international process and is largely driven by results from the annual stock assessment conducted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). CDFW tracks the progress of the fishery each year to ensure catch amounts do not exceed the California quota. CDFW field staff sample public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut throughout the season, along with other marine sportfish species.
During the last week of July and beginning of August, CDFW field staff recorded a record high number of Pacific halibut being caught.
“Reports from the public also confirmed an extremely hot Pacific halibut bite during the second half of July, with some anglers catching their limits by 8 a.m.,” said Marci Yaremko, environmental program manager with CDFW. “The significant number of fish caught during this time is unprecedented in California’s fishery, and the quota was reached very quickly.”
Using this information, CDFW conferred with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the IPHC and the Pacific Fishery Management Council to review projected catch amounts and to determine the 2020 quota had been attained. Formal authority to close the fishery resides with NMFS, which took action to close the fishery following consultation with CDFW.
Pacific halibut are a different species from California halibut, and occupy a large geographic range, from the Aleutian Islands eastward through Alaska to British Columbia and throughout ocean waters of the Pacific Northwest. Along the West Coast, they are commonly found as far south as Point Arena in Mendocino County.
For current information about the Pacific halibut fishery, science or management, please check one of the following resources: