Pacific Halibut Fishery Set to Open May 1

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce the 2021 recreational Pacific halibut fishery will open Saturday, May 1 and remain open until Nov. 15, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The 2021 Pacific halibut quota for the California sport fishery is 39,260 pounds – approximately the same as the 2020 quota.

While the closing date of Nov. 15 is a new extension to the end of the season, the open dates are not guaranteed and the season could close early if it is determined that the quota has been taken. In 2020, the season closed Aug. 11, when a very successful fishery resulted in the early attainment of the state’s limit.

Anglers participating in the Pacific halibut fishery and other recreational fisheries are reminded they may be met at fishing sites by CDFW staff collecting catch and fishing effort information. CDFW appreciates anglers’ cooperation and participation in these survey efforts. In the case of Pacific halibut, staff will also be taking length measurements in a safe and physically distanced manner. CDFW highly encourages all recreational anglers to assist with this length data collection effort, as the information will aid with quota tracking and in-season management.

State regulations for Pacific halibut automatically conform to federal regulations set by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) using the process described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 1.95. Federal regulations for Pacific halibut were published in the Federal Register (86 FR 20638) on April 21, 2021 and took effect immediately.

Anglers are always advised to check for updated information when planning a Pacific halibut fishing trip, as a season closure announcement could come at any time. Other regulatory information, including bag/possession limits and gear restrictions, can be found on CDFW’s Pacific halibut webpage. Public notification of any in-season change to regulations is made through the NMFS Pacific halibut hotline at (800) 662-9825 or CDFW’s Groundfish and Pacific halibut Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801.