Halibut Fishing in British Columbia – 2018 Season Outlook and Insights

The wild Pacific halibut fishery opens March 24th 2018.

Commercial fishing families up and down the BC coast are readying their boats and fishing gear. Fresh wild Pacific halibut will be available at restaurants, seafood shops, and grocery stores across Canada from the opening until the season closes November 7th 2018.

Canada’s wild Pacific halibut fishery is dominated by small, family-owned businesses. First Nations are also a significant and growing part of Canada’s wild Pacific halibut fishery, presently accounting for approximately 26% of the commercial halibut fishing licences.

In the Comox Valley, Quincy Sample and his family are readying their newly purchased fishing vessel, the Heather Rae, for the coming season. The Sample family participates in the roe herring, salmon, rockfish, and wild Pacific halibut fisheries. Last summer, Quincy took his two boys, Luke and Joel, with him up the coast to harvest salmon. Quincy’s wife and long time fishing partner, Esther, also paints west coast fishing and wildlife scenes (https://www.esthersample.com/).

Quincy fishing with his two sons Luke and Joel

Quincy notes, “We are looking forward to the upcoming halibut season. The total allowable catch has been reduced due to lower abundance, and while that means a more challenging season, commercial halibut harvesters accept the lower limit because that is the cost of conservation - that is responsible resource management. We want a sustainable fishery today and in the future for our children and our children’s children.”

The Pacific Halibut Management Association of BC (PHMA) is a commercial fishing industry association which represents the majority of commercial halibut vessel owners in British Columbia. PHMA advocates for the conservation and sustainable management of fisheries resources off the BC coast. The association, in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), also coordinates and conducts scientific surveys to collect data and biological samples for use in groundfish stock assessments. This research helps ensure the Canadian public and seafood consumers worldwide will be able to continue to enjoy wild seafood harvested by BC commercial fishing families. It also benefits recreational fishers who fish for their private use and fishing lodge and charter vessel businesses that catch these species.

Robert Hauknes, a third generation wild Pacific halibut commercial fisherman from Prince Rupert, BC and PHMA President, states, “Commercial fishing families remain committed to the long-term sustainability of wild Pacific halibut and other groundfish species to ensure access to the resource for generations to come. We will continue to fund science, engage in important fisheries management, and support science-based fisheries management decisions when needed for long-term fishery stewardship. To all participants in the 2018 wild Pacific halibut season, I wish everyone a safe, fruitful, and enjoyable time on the waters.”

For more information on Wild Pacific Halibut, please visit: http://www.wildpacifichalibut.com/

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