Tuesday, March 23, 2010

State Pacific Cod Season Closes Tonight

The state Pacific cod season closes tonight, March 23, 2010, at 11:59 p.m. in the Western Gulf of Alaska.

Alaska Board of Fisheries Releases Results from Statewide Finfish, Supplemental Issues, Subsistence Finding Standards and Chitina Dipnet Fishery

The Alaska Board of Fisheries has released results from the recent meeting in Anchorage on Statewide Finfish, Supplemental Issues, Subsistence Finding Standards, and the Chitina Dipnet Fishery. The meeting took place March 16 - 21, 2010 at the Hilton Hotel, Anchorage.


NA 164 Revise unlawful possession of subsistence finfish regulations.
NA 165 Delay opening personal use fishery until escapement goal is met.
F 166 Eliminate requirement of having a sport fishing license to fish in personal use fisheries.
C/A 167 Modify definition of mechanical jigging machine. (Amended to clarify lures or baited hooks could be used and that mechanical jigging machines may not be fished unattached to the vessel.)
F 168 Repeal the 58-foot length limit on salmon seine vessels in Alaska.
F 169 Amend criteria for the allocation of fishery resources.
NA 170 Clarify regulations establishing escapement goals.
NA 171 Clarify escapement goals and establish ranges.
C/A 172 Provide definition for escapement goal threshold. (Amended to provide specific regulatory language.)
C/A 173 Amend management plan for parallel groundfish fisheries. (Amended to provide specific regulatory language.)
F 174 Amend lawful gear for groundfish.
F 175 Establish statewide bag limit for sablefish.
C/A 176 Increase bag limit for spiny dogfish. (Amended to specify a bag and possession limit of five fish, with no annual limit.)
F 177 Establish statewide bag limit for thornyhead rockfish.
C 178 Clarify emergency order authority.
F 179 Clarify emergency order authority.
C/A 180 Define electric fishing reels. (Substitute language amended back to original language, it maximum of 15 pounds, not including attached power cord.)
NA 181 Clarify definition of fishing rod and electric reel.
F 182 Prohibit use of electric reels.
NA 183 Prohibit use of electric reels.
C/A 184 Prohibit use of felt sole wading boots. (Adopted with a statewide effective date of January 1, 2012)
C 185 Clarify definition of underwater spear.
NA 186 Allow the use of underwater spear.
F 187 Allow the use of bait by disabled anglers.
C 188 Modify sport fishing regulations for halibut.
NA 189 Require a client-guide agreement for each client on a sport fishing charter trip.
F 190 Allow crew members to retain fish when clients are onboard.
F 191 Define official time for sport fisheries.
F 192 Establish a definition of artificial fly.
C/A 195 Close summer commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Southeast Alaska District 2. (Set a season date from 12:00 noon October 1 through 11:59 p.m. February 28 for District 2.)
C 196 Adjust the total allowable catch for the Bering Sea C. opilio Tanner crab commercial fishery.
T 197 Reduce the minimum size limit for Tanner crab in the Bering Sea commercial fishery. (Tabled to March 2011 meeting.)
C 198 Remove the minimum total allowable catch in the Saint Matthew Island blue king crab fishery.
C 200 Adopt subsistence finding standards.
F 201 Find a customary and traditional use of salmon stocks in the Chitina Subdistrict of the Copper River and establish amounts necessary for subsistence.

Other actions:
The board denied a petition for emergency action on Slikok Creek Chinook salmon submitted by the Kenai Area Fisherman’s Association.
The board denied a request to hold a public hearing on Upper Cook Inlet Finfish proposals in October 2010 four months prior to the scheduled regulatory meeting.
The board approved a delegation of authority for regulation amendments to coordinate with federal fishery regulations and to correct an error in regulations that occurred after the 2005 King and Tanner crab meeting.
The board approved a draft letter to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (council) on pending actions related to Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) crab. The letter specifically addresses annual catch limits, rebuilding plans, and bycatch considerations.

The board scheduled a regulatory meeting for October 2011 to address Pacific cod fisheries in the Prince William Sound Area (Registration Area E), Cook Inlet Area (Registration Area H), Kodiak Area (Registration Area K), Chignik Area (Registration Area L), and South Alaska Peninsula Area (Registration Area M). Specific dates for the meeting are to be set during the October 2010 worksession in order to consider changes is state regulations in light of federal Gulf of Alaska sector splits. The board approved a draft call for proposals and set a proposal deadline of April 8, 2011. The board also decided to send a letter to the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association asking for an update on its cost recovery fishery.

C = Carried; C/A = Carried as amended; F = Failed; NA = No action; T = Tabled; T/A = Tabled as amended

Monday, March 22, 2010

SSL BiOp Delayed Again

The latest word is that the National Marine Fisheries Service's draft biological opinion (BiOp) on Steller Sea Lions is being delayed again. The draft opinion was orignally scheduled for release on March 1, 2010. Then it was added to the agenda for the April 6- 14, 2010 North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting. However, the latest word is it won't be ready for the April meeting. Findings on the status of the engangered species could impact fishing regulations around Alaska. So far, a revised date has not been released. Stay tuned for the latest on this issue!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Deadline for Board of Fisheries Proposals is April 9th

The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) has posted a deadline for proposals on its Web site. Proposals are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 9, 2010. Only 21 days remain.

BOF is accepting proposed changes to the subsistence, commercial, personal use, sport, guided sport, and guided sport ecotourism finfish provisions regulations for the Cook Inlet, Kodiak and Chignik finfish management areas. Finfish includes: salmon, herring, trout, groundfish, char, burbot, northern pike, whitefish, etc.

In addition, the board is accepting proposed changes to the subsistence, commercial, personal use, sport, guided sport, and guided sport ecotourism king and Tanner crab shellfish regulations for all areas of the state (except Southeast and Yakutat areas). This includes regional king and Tanner crab management areas. For more information, click on the title of this post for a link to the BOF announcement.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Alaska Board of Fisheries Takes up Statewide Finfish Proposals in Anchorage

Starting today (March 16 - 21, 2010), the Alaska Board of Fisheries will focus on 32 statewide finfish proposals, supplemental issues, subsistence finding standards and the Chitina dipnet fishery. Two of the proposals may be of interest to fishermen in Area M:

• 168: Repeal length limit on salmon seine vessels in Alaska
• 174: Amend lawful gear for groundfish

Proposal #168 would repeal the 58-foot limit on the length of vessels in the salmon purse seine fishery. Proposal sponsor Darrell Kapp said because the current law doesn’t limit capacity increases, some fishermen add width and depth as a way to increase vessel capacity for the fishery. Kapp added that even with a bulbous bow, fishermen consumer more fuel than necessary, and the current length restriction produces inefficient vessels.

Proposal #174, sponsored by Aleutians East Borough Mayor and fisherman Stanley Mack, would expand the state waters Pacific cod fishery to include gillnet fishing for small boat fishing. This fishery would be modeled after the Norwegian fishery. Each vessel would be restricted to a total of 200 fathoms of gear.

To listen to the BOF's Live Audio Feed, point your browser to: