The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has announced new regulations for the charter halibut fishery in Southeast (Area 2C) and Southcentral (Area 3A) Alaska for 2019.
Regulations in Southeast Alaska
- Halibut sport fishery season runs February 1 to December 31, 2019.
- Guided charter fisherman can retain one halibut less than 38″ inches long or over 80″ long per day.
- Filleting halibut: No person shall possess on board a vessel, including charter vessels and pleasure craft used for fishing, halibut that have been filleted, mutilated, or otherwise disfigured in any manner, except that each halibut may be cut into no more than 2 ventral pieces, 2 dorsal pieces, and 2 cheek pieces, with enough skin on each piece to identify whether the piece is from the light side or the dark side of the fish.
- Skipper and crew prohibition: Skipper and crew may not harvest halibut during a charter vessel fishing trip.
- Logbook signature requirement: Charter vessel anglers must sign the logbook at the end of the charter vessel fishing trip to verify the numbers of halibut caught and kept.
- Allowable gear: Charter vessel anglers may use a single line with no more than 2 hooks attached or a spear to fish for halibut. No other gear types are allowed.
- Possession limit: The possession limit is two daily bag limits.
- Transporting halibut in excess of possession limit: Halibut in excess of the possession limit may be transported on a vessel that does not contain sport fishing gear, fishing rods, hand lines, or gaffs (for example in a van on the way to the airport).
- Carcass retention requirement: If a size-restricted halibut is filleted on board the charter vessel, the entire carcass, with head and tail connected as a single piece, must be retained on board the charter vessel on which it was caught until all fillets are offloaded.
- Tagged halibut exemption: Halibut with an external IPHC tag will not count against sport daily bag limits or possession limits, can be retained outside of sport fishing seasons, and are not limited to size restrictions.
Self-Guided Bag Limit: Two Halibut Per Day of Any Size
The regulations for guided charter fishing do not apply to self-guided, unguided or bare boat anglers. The bag limit for self-guided anglers in the Ketchikan area and Southeast Alaska is still two halibut of any size per day. (2019)