Sport Halibut Management in Alaska
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National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Regional Office

Sport Halibut Management

Sport Halibut Fishing in Alaska

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Sport fishing regulations for Pacific halibut in Alaska are developed on the international, federal and state levels by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC), NOAA Fisheries (NMFS), and the State of Alaska's Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G).

Halibut and salmon are the major sport fish fisheries in Alaska. NMFS' recreational fisheries regulatory authority is limited to Pacific halibut. ADF&G does not have authority to manage halibut, but manages most of Alaska's recreational fisheries and has adopted some regulations that affect sport fishing for halibut.

Unguided Sport Halibut


Guided Sport Halibut


IPHC areas 2c and 3a

IPHC Areas 2C and 3A. Click for larger version.

2015 Regulations for Charter Anglers

Regulations for the guided sport (charter) halibut fishery in Alaska are determined annually by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and the International Pacific Halibut Commission. NMFS publishes these regulations each year as part of the IPHC Annual Management Measures.

  • NEW!
    NMFS issues regulations that remove the requirement that a guided sport (charter) vessel guide be on board the same vessel as a charter vessel angler to meet the definition of providing sport fishing guide services. This final rule clarifies that all sport fishing for halibut in which anglers receive assistance from a compensated guide will be managed under charter fishery regulations (whether or not a guide is on board the same vessel), and all harvest (except halibut harvested under the Guided Angler Fish Program) will accrue toward charter allocations. Effective July 20, 2015.
  • Summary of Regulations for Charter Anglers
  • IPHC Annual Management Measures
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Guided Angler Fish

Effective January 13, 2014 the halibut Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) authorizes annual transfers of commercial halibut IFQ as guided angler fish (GAF) to charter halibut permit holders for harvest in the charter halibut fishery. GAF offers charter halibut permit holders in Area 2C or Area 3A an opportunity to lease a limited amount of IFQ from commercial quota share (QS) holders to allow charter clients to harvest halibut in addition to, or instead of, the halibut harvested under the daily bag limit for charter anglers. Charter anglers using GAF are subject to the harvest limits in place for unguided sport anglers in that area. Currently, there is a two-fish of any size daily bag limit for unguided sport anglers in Areas 2C and 3A. GAF harvested in the charter halibut fishery will be accounted for as commercial halibut IFQ harvest.

Catch Sharing Plan for Area 2C and Area 3A

  • Overview of the Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan for Area 2C and Area 3A, February 2014
  • Final rule to implement a catch sharing plan for the guided sport (charter) and commercial fisheries for Pacific halibut in waters of IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C and 3A. This catch sharing plan replaces the Guideline Harvest Level program, defines an annual process for allocating halibut between the charter and commercial fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A, and establishes allocations for each fishery. The commercial fishery will continue to be managed under the Individual Fishing Quota system. Effective January 13, 2014.

Charter Halibut Limited Access Program

The Charter Halibut Limited Access Program established new federal Charter Halibut Permits (CHPs) for operators in the charter halibut fishery in regulatory Areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska). Since February 1, 2011, all charter halibut vessel operators in Areas 2C and 3A with clients onboard must have a valid CHP onboard during every charter vessel fishing trip.

Resources for Charter Halibut Permit Holders

Additional Information

sport caught halibut
Successful sport halibut fishermen, Juneau, Alaska. Photo: NOAA Fisheries

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