Pacific halibut season opens Friday, March 10 statewide in Alaska. NOAA Fisheries published the 2023 annual management measures in the Federal Register March 7, 2023. The regulations, adopted at the annual meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) in January, took effect when the Secretary of State accepted them, with the Secretary of Commerce’s concurrence.
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 2023 catch limits for the combined commercial and charter halibut fisheries in Alaska are lower than in 2022.
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 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.
- All Mondays will be closed to halibut retention from July 24 to December 31, 2023.
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.
- Nine Tuesdays (June 20, June 27, July 4, July 11, July 18, July 25, August 1, August 8, August 15) 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 Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) halibut season dates are March 10 through December 7, 2023 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.