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2024 IPHC Area 2A Commercial Pacific Halibut Season Is Set to Open

June 13, 2024

NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement will conduct patrols during the upcoming commercial halibut fishing season.

Group of men in uniform and marine weather gear on a ship inspecting and handling the surrounding halibut fish. State and Federal enforcement personnel inspecting halibut during the 2023 season. Credit: NOAA

The first 3-day commercial directed Pacific halibut fishing season of 2024 in convention waters off the West Coast begins next week. The season opens on Tuesday, June 25 at 8 a.m. and ends on Thursday, June 27 at 6 p.m. NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement, along with our state and federal partners, will be out on the water and at the docks, conducting patrols throughout the season.

Patrols will focus on ensuring compliance with the rules and regulations governing commercial Pacific halibut fishing Including, but not limited to:

  • Proper marking of fishing gear
  • Permitting and vessel documentation
  • Minimum size and possession restrictions
  • Careful release
  • Logbook requirements
  • Early/late fishing
  • Closed areas

All setline or skate marker buoys carried on board or used by any U.S. vessel for Pacific halibut fishing must be marked with either the vessel’s state license number or registration number (IPHC 17(4)). The markings must be in legible characters at least 4 inches high and one-half inch wide in a contrasting color visible above the water (50 CFR 300.65(h)(1)(iii)).

Commercial Pacific halibut fishing regulations:

Our partners in these patrols include:

  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police
  • Oregon State Police
  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement

Protecting Seabirds

Fishermen, scientists, and policymakers have worked hard to prevent the inadvertent death of migratory seabirds. In addition to the rules and regulations above, groundfish long-line vessels greater than or equal to 26 feet are required to deploy seabird avoidance gear when fishing for Pacific halibut and groundfish on the same trip, as described in 50 CFR 660.21. This regulation applies to all vessels commercial fishing for groundfish using bottom longline gear. Streamer lines are the most common form of seabird avoidance gear and are used to prevent bird attacks on baited hooks.

Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery's Seabird Bycatch Avoidance Measures

Properly Releasing Halibut

Pacific halibut that are not retained must be released outboard of the roller and returned to the water with a minimum of injury using one of these three methods:

  • Straightening the hook
  • Cutting the gangion near the hook
  • Removing the hook with a gaff by carefully twisting it from the Pacific halibut

These safe release measures promote the survival of released Pacific halibut and help to support a sustainable fishery.

Additional Information

Any fishery closure, reopening, or change will be announced on the NOAA Fisheries hotline at (206) 526-6667 or (800) 662-9825 (option 7).

NOAA encourages anyone with information about suspected marine natural resource violations to contact NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement Hotline at (800) 853-1964. Tips may be left anonymously. Rewards may be offered for information that leads to an arrest, conviction, civil penalty assessment, or forfeiture of property for violation(s) of the laws and regulations NOAA enforces.

Last updated by Office of Law Enforcement on June 14, 2024