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IPHC-2024-MR–009 Ongoing and recent Pacific halibut tagging studies

22 March 2024

Wire tagging of U32 Pacific halibut  In 2015, the IPHC began wire-tagging Pacific halibut less than 32” (81.3 cm) in fork length (U32) with the goal of gaining insight into the movement and growth of younger Pacific halibut. The plastic-coated wire tags are of various colors, are attached to the dark side cheek area (Fig. A), and are marked with IPHC contact information and a tag number.

A subset of these fish, tagged with orange tags with the text “PLEASE PHOTOGRAPH TAIL”, are part of a study investigating whether pigmentation patterns on the white side of the tail persist through life and can therefore be used as a natural tag. The IPHC would like harvesters recovering these tags to photograph the tail on the white side (example in Fig. B) and provide the photo along with the tag and associated recovery information to an IPHC fisheries data specialist located in ports coastwide, or to the Seattle office.


Instructions for recovered tags

Tagged Pacific halibut of any size may be retained from any gear or fishery, whether or not the fisher holds Pacific halibut quota, and at any time of year, although undersized fish may not be sold.

Leave the tag(s) attached to the fish and report the capture at time of landing to an IPHC fisheries data specialist, other agency fishery sampler, or contact the IPHC Seattle office at (206) 634-1838 (or IPHC has fisheries data specialists in Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, Homer, Seward, Sitka, Juneau, and Petersburg, AK as well as Prince Rupert and Port Hardy, BC throughout the commercial Pacific halibut season, and in St. Paul, AK from mid-June through August.

If you catch a tagged Pacific halibut, and are landing in a port not staffed by an IPHC fisheries data specialist, or other agency fish sampler, please return the tag with the following information: recovery date and location, fish length, sex, otoliths, and finder’s name and address to the IPHC’s Seattle office at the following address:

2320 West Commodore Way, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98199, USA

A reward of either a hat, knit cap, or $10 is offered for IPHC tags. More information on tag recovery and biological data collection can be found at: Tag-related questions can also be directed to, or

International Pacific Halibut Commission
2320 W. Commodore Way, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98199-1287
206-634-1838 |


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