Pacific cod season A opens for jig fishers in Kodiak area

More than 5.5 million pounds of Pacific cod can be caught within state waters during this year’s A season in the Kodiak area. That’s over a million more than 2023’s harvest level.

 

According to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game in Kodiak, three boats have already registered for the fishery, one week after the season opened at the start of 2024 on January 1st.

During last year’s cod A season, ADF&G saw 54 vessels register to fish.

 

The Guideline Harvest Levels [GHL] are split 50-50 between pot gear and jig gear for Pacific cod, with 2,837,045 pounds of fish each, totaling 5,674,089. Although the jig season has already begun, the pot cod season won’t open until seven days after the Central Gulf of Alaska cod season closes.

 

Fishing boats wait on anchor in Kodiak’s St. Paul Harbor in February, 2023 (Brian Venua/KMXT)

 

 

Kodiak’s GHL is a fraction of this year’s catch limit for the Gulf of Alaska, though, which is managed federally and was set at 52 million pounds of Pacific cod by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in December. Nearly 34 million pounds of that is allocated within the central Gulf of Alaska.

 

Based on ADF&G data, jig gear cod fishers in Kodiak have not consistently caught all of their allocated amount in recent years. The most recent example of this was during the 2022 season.

There are a couple proposals on the Board of Fisheries finfish meeting agenda this week to allow that leftover cod GHL from the jig gear allocation to be rolled over to pot gear vessels. That meeting is currently taking place in Kodiak through Friday, January 12th.

 

While the Pacific cod A season has begun in Kodiak, cod fishers are still waiting for official confirmation that Trident Seafoods will purchase their catch. Trident did not respond to KMXT’s requests for comment before the airing of this story.

Trident did however confirm with KMXT that it will purchase Tanner crabs ahead of Monday’s season opener.

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