Council Plans Transition for Non-Indian Commercial Area 2A Halibut Fishery; New Season-Setting Process Begins

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) is requesting public comment on structuring the Area 2A (West Coast) non-Indian directed commercial halibut fishery for the upcoming year. The public is encouraged to comment at the September and November 2019 Council meetings as management of this halibut fishery transitions from the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) to the Council.

In June, the Council committed to working closely with the IPHC and stakeholders on the transition. The Council will focus on a smooth transfer of management authority for the commercial directed fishery, and will rely on the IPHC to continue to issue licenses for this fishery in the near-term. The Council intends to maintain the current management structure, but may consider changes to vessel poundage limits and open periods.

At its September and November 2019 meetings, when the Council typically considers changes to its halibut Catch Sharing Plan, it will also make management recommendations for the 2020 directed commercial halibut fishery trip limits and fishing periods. These meetings will provide an opportunity for public, agency, and advisory body comment. The Groundfish Advisory Subpanel meetings held in conjunction with the September and November Council meetings will also provide an opportunity for public comment on this issue. As always, public comment will be accepted through the Council’s e-portal before the meetings.

The September meeting will be held September 11-18 at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, Idaho. The November meeting will be held November 13-20 at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa in Costa Mesa, California.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will hold public meetings August 5-8 to discuss fishing periods and trip limits for the 2020 directed commercial halibut fishery. Meeting dates and locations will be posted online; information is also available at (541) 867-4741. Currently, the Departments of Fish and Wildlife for Washington and California do not have public meetings scheduled to discuss the non-Indian commercial directed halibut fishery season structure for 2020.

See full press release.