Pacific halibut are captured from the depths of the north Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea in a number of ways. The fish are primarily targeted by the commercial longline fishery and by recreational fishers, as well as taken for personal use (subsistence). Additional mortality occurs in the form of non-directed commercial discard mortality (bycatch) in commercial fisheries targeting other species that are not allowed to retain Pacific halibut.
The IPHC Fishery Regulations published here are for information purposes only. Official regulations adopted by the Contracting Parties are available.
This approach reflects the sovereign rights of the coastal state within its Exclusive Economic Zone as set out in Part V of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), in particular Article 73.
Today’s commercial fishing fleet is diverse, using various strategies to harvest the resource. Both the Canadian and U.S.A. federal fisheries agencies have implemented individual quota (IQ) systems in Alaska and British Columbia.
Washington, Oregon, and California—Directed Commercial Fisheries
IPHC Regulatory Area 2B is located off of British Columbia, Canada.
IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C, 3, and 4 are located in Alaskan waters.
This is a summary of Alaskan Pacific halibut IFQ landings expected to occur within the next ~12 hours.
The recreational fishery for Pacific halibut had a slow beginning. Prior to 1973, all fishing for Pacific halibut was governed by the commercial fishing regulations.
IPHC Regulatory Area 2A is located off the USA West Coast in waters off Washington (WA), Oregon (OR), and California (CA).
IPHC Regulatory Area 2B is located off of British Columbia, Canada. The IPHC sets the overall total allowable catch and season (called the “fishing period” in IPHC regulations) for the area.
IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C, 3, and 4 are located in Alaskan waters. The IPHC sets the overall total allowable catch and season (called the “fishing period” in IPHC regulations).
A time-series of subsistence Pacific halibut removals prepared by IPHC Secretariat (updated 11 January 2023).
Not all Pacific halibut caught will die from the injuries if the fish are returned to the sea (discarded) in a careful and timely manner.