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SFMP California Halibut Studies
California halibut is one of the most important commercially-fished species among the state-managed fisheries. The State Finfish Management Project (SFMP) obtains basic length, weight, age, and reproductive information from sampled landings in central and southern California ports.
- Fishery-independent Trawl Surveys: The Project initiated a series of fishery-independent trawl surveys, one in Monterey Bay and one in the Santa Barbara Channel, to obtain basic biological information on legal- and sublegal-sized halibut, as well as associated bycatch species. The Monterey Bay surveys occurred in 2007 and 2010, and the Santa Barbara Channel survey occurred in 2008.
Staff from the California Recreational Fisheries Survey (CRFS), along with some SFMP staff, are monitoring the most frequently-used boat launch ramps in the San Francisco Bay area and collecting similar data from recreationally-caught halibut.
- San Francisco Bay Age- and Length-at-Maturity Study: In September 2009 the SFMP was awarded a grant through the Bay-Delta Sport Fishing Enhancement Stamp Fund for research to be conducted March 2010 through August 2012. The study aims to determine age and length at first maturity for California halibut within San Francisco Bay. Fish of various sizes will be collected by hook-and-line gear from commercial passenger fishing vessels (CPFVs), commercial boats, and scientific collection otter trawls. Each California halibut collected will be assessed for its stage of maturity and aged using otoliths. Mature females will also be assessed for egg density.
Annual Summary of CPFV Morning Star Halibut Catch 2012: View the unpublished study reportUPDATE – January 2013: This project has resumed due to full staffing at the Belmont CDFW office. The study began in April 2012 and will continue through August 2014.
- San Francisco Bay Hooking Mortality Study: In 2009 the SFMP completed its second year of a hooking mortality study for halibut initiated in 2008 within San Francisco Bay. This study evaluated the potential impact of various gear types on released halibut. Upon landing, the type of hook, hooking location, and length of the fish were recorded. Selected halibut were retained at the Aquarium of the Bay for observation. View the unpublished study report.
- Statewide Stock Assessment: The CDFW has collected and summarized recent and historical data for use in a statewide stock assessment for California halibut. Historical and current catch and biological data were included. This is the first statewide evaluation of the California halibut resource. View the completed assessment.