Pacific halibut season opens Sunday, March 6 statewide in Alaska, according to a final rule just posted in the Federal Register by NOAA Fisheries. The regulations, adopted at the annual meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission in January, go into effect immediately.
Included in this season’s federal regulations are the catch limits established by the IPHC, and basic regulations for the commercial and sport halibut fisheries. Overall, the 2022 catch limits for the combined commercial and charter halibut fisheries in Alaska are higher than in 2021.
This final rule also implements management measures for the charter halibut fisheries in Areas 2C and 3A. These measures are necessary to keep charter harvests to within their respective allocations under a catch sharing plan with the directed commercial fishery.
For commercial and charter halibut fishers in Alaska, the following regulations are in effect:
In Area 2C (Southeast Alaska):
- Charter Anglers are restricted to one halibut per day, with a reverse slot limit where retained halibut must be less than or equal to 40 inches, or greater than or equal to 80 inches.
In Area 3A (Southcentral Alaska):
- There is a daily bag limit of two halibut, but one fish must be no greater than 28 inches.
- All Wednesdays are closed to halibut retention.
- Two Tuesdays (July 26 and August 2) are closed to halibut retention.
- Charter halibut permits and charter halibut vessels are only authorized to retain halibut on one trip per day.
Unguided halibut sport fishers in Alaska will continue to observe a daily bag limit of 2 fish of any size per person per day.
Alaska commercial IFQ halibut season dates are March 6 through December 7, 2022 for all IPHC management areas in Alaska.
A final rule to implement changes to the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan and annual management measures for the recreational halibut fishery in Area 2A is forthcoming in a separate action.