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2020 Commercial and Recreational Pacific Halibut Fisheries in Washington, Oregon, and California

May 01, 2020

Public notice: NMFS-SEA-20-16. For more information, contact Kathryn Blair,, (503) 231-6858.

NOAA Fisheries announces publication of the 2020 Pacific halibut Area 2A (Washington, Oregon, and California) Catch Sharing Plan and annual management measures final rule. The rule is effective on April 30, 2020. You can access Pacific halibut information on the NOAA Fisheries website.

The NOAA Fisheries halibut hotline at (800) 662-9825 has the most up-to-date information for both the commercial (directed and incidental) and recreational Area 2A fisheries. There may be state-instituted regional closures that impact the open dates mentioned below; check with the Department of Fish and Wildlife for your respective state for more information. State-specific Pacific halibut fishery information is available at the following websites: 


  Pounds Metric Tons
Area 2A TCEY 1,650,000 748.4
Area 2A Catch Limit 1,500,000 680.4
Tribal Commercial 492,800 223.5
  Directed 254,426 115.4
  Incidental salmon troll 44,899 20.4
  Incidental sablefish primary 70,000 31.8
  Washington Puget Sound 77,550 35.2
  Washington North Coast 128,187 58.1
  Washington South Coast 62,896 28.5
  Columbia River 18,450 8.4
  Oregon Central Coast 271,592 123.2
  Oregon Southern Coast 8,000 3.6
  California Coast 39,000 17.7


For 2020, the following regulations apply to recreational and commercial (directed and incidental) halibut fisheries: 

  • The halibut daily bag limit in Washington, Oregon, and California is 1 halibut of any size per person per day. 
  • Check state regulations for information on rockfish retention allowances. 
  • For information on retaining groundfish, please see the NMFS groundfish website and federal regulations.

Season dates are subject to quota availability, and areas will close if there is not sufficient quota for another full day of fishing. 

Subarea Location Season Dates
Puget Sound and eastern waters in the Strait of Juan de Fuca Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca east of a line at approximately 123°49.60' W. long. May 7-9, 14-16, 22-24, 28-30; June 4-6, 11-13, 18-20, and 25-27.
Strait of Juan de Fuca Strait of Juan de Fuca, approximately between 124°23.70' W. long. and 123°49.60' W. long. May 7, 9, 14, 16, 22-24, 28-30; June 4-6, 11-13, 18-20, and 25-27.
North Washington Coast North of Queets River and west of the Sekiu River mouth May 7, 9, 14, 16, 22, 24, 28, 30; June 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, and 27.
South Washington Coast Queets River south to Leadbetter Point May 7, 10, 14, 17, 21; June 18, 21, 25, and 28.
South Washington Coast nearshore Waters between 47°31.70’ N. lat. south to 46°58’ N. lat. and east of a boundary line approximating the 30 fm depth contour Quota permitting, open the Saturday after the primary fishery closure, 7 days per week.

Sport fishing for halibut is closed within Recreational Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Areas off the north and south Washington coast subareas. There are additional area closures in the Puget Sound subarea for 2020. Please check state regulations online.

Columbia River
Subarea Location Season Dates
Columbia River all-depth Between Leadbetter Point, WA, and Cape Falcon, OR April 30; May 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 28, 31; June 4, 7, 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, and 28.
Columbia River nearshore Leadbetter Point to the Columbia River, connecting the following coordinates in Washington: 46°38.17' N. lat., 124°15.88' W. long. 46°16.00' N. lat., 124°15.88' W. long. and connecting to the boundary line approximating the 40-fm (73-m) 12 depth contour in Oregon. May 4, 3 days per week (Monday – Wednesday) until the nearshore allocation is taken, or September 30.


Subarea Location Season Dates Additional Season Dates (quota permitting)
Central Coast “inside 40-fathom” Cape Falcon south to Humbug Mountain, shoreward of a boundary line approximating the 40-fm depth contour May 1, 7 days a week until the quota is taken, or through October 31.  
Central Coast all-depth     Cape Falcon south to Humbug Mountain Spring: May 14- 16; 21- 23; 28-30; June 11-13; 18-20; July 9-11. 
Summer: August 6-8; 20-22; September 3-5; 17-19; October 1, -3; 15-17; 29- 31.
July 23, 24, 25.
Southern Oregon Humbug Mountain, to the OR/CA border May 1, 7 days per week until the quota is taken, or October 31.      


Subarea Location Season Dates
California California coast May 1-October 31, or until the subarea quota is taken.



Licenses from the IPHC are required to participate in commercial fisheries. Please contact the IPHC for quota details or further information at (206) 634-1838 or visit their website.

Directed Commercial Fishery
Area Duration Additional Season Dates (quota permitting)
South of Pt. Chehalis, WA 0800 June 22-1800 June 24 Up to three fishing days in duration in two-week intervals after the first Monday opening.


  • NOAA Fisheries implemented annual management measures and directed commercial opening and closing dates in a final rule on March 13, 2020 (85 FR 14586). 

Incidental halibut in the Sablefish Primary Fishery 

Vessels with an IPHC permit fishing in the limited entry fixed gear primary sablefish fishery, north of Point Chehalis, Washington, may retain Pacific halibut, subject to a landing ratio. The ratio of 200 lb dressed weight of halibut for every 1,000 lb dressed weight of sablefish landed and up to 2 additional halibut in excess of the 200 lb per 1,000 lb ratio per landing, will remain in effect until superseded. We will announce any changes to the landing ratio in the Federal Register and via a separate public notice. Please check the hotline for the most current information.

Participants in this fishery are prohibited from fishing within the North Coast Commercial Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area (YRCA). Additionally, the "C shaped" YRCA in the North Coast subarea off Washington is designated as an area to be avoided (a voluntary closure) by commercial longline sablefish fishermen. 

Incidental halibut in the salmon troll fishery 

Beginning May 1, 2020, vessels with an IPHC permit fishing in the salmon troll fishery may land no more than one Pacific halibut per two Chinook, except one Pacific halibut may be landed without meeting the ratio requirement, and no more than 35 halibut landed per trip. These ratios may change throughout the season. Please check the hotline for the most current information.

Any discrepancies between this Public Notice and the Federal Register will be resolved in favor of the Federal Register

Last updated by West Coast Regional Office on May 19, 2020