Board of Fish sets aside groundfish issues

The Alaska Board of Fisheries handled more than just salmon issues while in Kodiak for its finfish meeting last month.

Today we look at some groundfish issues, and on Wednesday we’ll look at sports fishing regulation changes.

 

While the recent Board of Fisheries meeting held in Kodiak centered on salmon, the fish board addressed a number of other issues, including several groundfish issues.

KMXT’s Maggie Wall has more.

 

Click arrow to listen to report or continue on below to read it.

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January’s meeting of the Alaska Board of Fisheries largely focused on salmon, in particular the Cape Igvak and Cook Inlet areas.

But board members also considered a number of other fisheries issue, both large and small, including several that affected groundfish.

A few of the proposals dealt with cod in state waters, but with cod levels so low, they failed to pass.

Julie Bonney is the Executive Director of the Alaska Groundfish Data Bank, which represents Kodiak trawlers and processors.

 

“Several had to do with the way the cod fishery is structured and managed. And because of the state of the cod fishery, most of those all fail, just because we’re so close to the or below the stellar sea lion protection trigger. So all directed fishing closed in the Gulf of Alaska, and then they have reduced GHL [Guideline Harvest Level] in the state fisheries. So people really didn’t want to start tinkering with the stocks that’s really isn’t that healthy. So those were all put aside.”

 

The Alaska Board of Fisheries met in Kodiak January 2020. (Photo by Kavitha George/KMXT)

 

 

On another issue, the board voted unanimously not to establish a state sablefish fishery near Kodiak.

 

“The other one was there was a proposal to develop a state sablefish fishery in the Kodiak management area. That’s really an untried fishery. And the board failed that proposal 0-6.

 “And the rationale was that they were concerned that one, it was an untried fishery. So you might have a stranded quota. And then the other part was we didn’t really understand what the bycatch might be for that fishery, especially with long line gear.”

 

Since there is no data on how many, if any, fish might be caught in a new state sablefish fishery,

possible that if the board had approved the new fishery, that the state quota could be left in the water. Because boats fishing in federal waters would not be allowed to catch them. And boats fishing in the new fishery might not even be able to catch them. Thus the quota would be stranded at sea.

 

Better to know you can catch it, then find out that you’re going to leave it in the water.”

 

Instead of creating a new fishery, the BOF recommended that anyone interested in developing a new state sablefish fishery around Kodiak, contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to see about establishing what’s called “A commissioner’s permit,’ to try a test fishery.

            Tomorrow we’ll look the regulation changes for Kodiak sport fishing that were approved by the Board of Fish.

 

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