Earlier this month, the state-waters Pacific cod pot gear season closed for big boats in the Kodiak area.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game area management biologist Nat Nichols says there’s a provision that if the larger vessels catch 50 percent of the guideline harvest level for the pot cod fishery, they’re cut off.
“We’ve never used it, so we’ve had this management plan since 1997, but there’s always been enough small boats that they keep ahead of the big boats and the whole fishery closes together, we reach the full GHL before the big boats catch half the GHL.”
This year, he says, there were only about 10 participants down from the usual 30 or so, and six of those vessels were greater than 58 feet.
“The fact that we had more of them made it almost assured right out of the gate that we were going to use this big boat cap for the first time, and we did.”
The allocation is roughly 1.1 million pounds. Nichols says that’s a drop from the 6-million-pound GHL of previous years.
The fishery opened February 21. Nichols says roughly 260,000 pounds are now left, and the remaining 2 or 3 active boats should be done fishing that in about a week.