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The regulations to know before halibut season begins Friday, March 15

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Pacific halibut fishing opens Friday, March 15 in Alaska, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is announcing the measures it's taking to manage the halibut population.

A new agreement between the United States and Canada establishes a catch quota limit of 30 million pounds for 2019. The U.S. is entitled to about 82 percent of that, or about 23.5 million pounds. 

Alaska's portion of that quota is set at 22 million pounds, which is almost 1.5 million pounds more than 2018.

All areas of the state except for the western Gulf of Alaska will see increases.

As in previous years, unguided sport fishers are allowed to catch two halibut of any size per person, per day.

"While the overall quota for 2019 is a slight increase over 2018," Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Chris Oliver said in the statement. "The catch limits agreed to at the meeting reflect a sensible, conservative approach that will secure the future of this iconic and economically important species."

Charter organizations will have to follow different regulations in different regions:

Southeast

  • One fish daily bag limit per angler
  • Reverse slot limit that prohibits retention of any halibut that is greater than 38 inches and less than 80 inches.

Southcentral

  • Two fish bag limit per angler, with a maximum size of 28 inches for one of the halibut
  • One trip per day limit
  • A day-of-week closure (all Wednesdays)
  • An annual limit of four halibut
  • Closure of an additional five days to charter fishing: July 16, July 23, July 30, August 6 and August 13

The commercial halibut fishing season lasts from March 15 to Nov. 14, 2019.

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