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DEPT. OF MARINE RESOURCES
Atlantic Halibut Fishing Information
This page is meant only as a guide for halibut fishermen with information regarding the most frequently asked questions and does not include all laws and regulations. Questions should be directed to your local Maine Patrol officer or the Division II Office at Lamoine, 667-3373 or Boothbay Harbor at 633-9595. The complete Regulation in Chapter 34 is available on line at http://www.maine.gov/dmr/lawsandregs/regs/index.htm.
Halibut Fishing Season
The open season to fish for Atlantic halibut state-wide shall begin at sunrise May 1st and end June 30th starting in 2011. For the 2010 season, east of a line from Schoodic Point due South Magnetic in territorial waters shall begin at sunrise May 1st and end at sunset July 31st. The open season to fish for Atlantic halibut west of Schoodic Point due South Magnetic in territorial waters shall begin at sunrise April 1st and end at sunset June 30th.
It shall be illegal to land, sell or possess Atlantic halibut less than 41 inches head-on or 32 inches head-off measured from the base of the pectoral fin to the tip of the tail.
It shall be illegal to possess or land marine species other than Atlantic halibut while fishing for Atlantic halibut aboard commercial vessels. Other marine species caught while fishing for Atlantic halibut shall be immediately liberated. Commercial, party or charter vessels may not land more than 25 Atlantic halibut per year. Recreational vessels may land no more than 5 Atlantic halibut per year. It shall be unlawful to transfer Atlantic halibut between vessels.
All legal size halibut caught and retained by a Commercial Fishing license holder or recreational fisherman, regardless of catch location inside or outside of state waters, shall be immediately tagged through the tail with an approved landing tag. The correct type of landings tag must be used based on the fisherman’s permitting (e.g. a fisherman with a federal multispecies permit is required to use federal style landings tags, a fisherman with a state only license must use state style landings tags and recreational fishermen must use recreational style landings tags – all styles are a unique color). The landings tag must remain on the fish until the fish has reached its final destination. More information on tags here.
Gear Type and Limits
It shall be illegal to fish for Atlantic halibut by any method other than using size 14/0, 15/0 or 16/0 circle hooks. No commercial vessel may fish for Atlantic halibut using more that 450 circle hooks. Recreational fishermen using a tub trawl are limited to 100 circle hooks. All persons fishing for Atlantic Halibut must have marking buoys on each end of the trawl clearly labeled with their name and commercial fishing license number. All persons recreationally tub trawling for Atlantic Halibut must mark the trawl buoys with their name and words “Halibut Trawl”.
All Commercial Fishing License holders fishing for halibut must obtain an endorsement on their license. Recreational halibut fishermen are not required to obtain an endorsement. To obtain an initial endorsement, license holders must contact DMR before March 1st at 633-9500 to schedule and complete a training program.
Future halibut endorsements will be dependant upon meeting all reporting requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can I haul my halibut trawls on a day that I’m lobster fishing?
Question: Can I set a “gangion” off one of my lobster traps to fish for halibut?
Question: If I hold a Federal Multispecies Permit am I limited to one halibut per trip?
Question: If I hold a Federal Multispecies Permit do I have to apply a landing tag?
Question: How many halibut can be landed per day from state waters?
Question: Does the minimum size apply to fish imported from Canada?
This page was last updated on December 22, 2010
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