Prince William Sound Area
All Alaska residents are eligible to participate in subsistence fisheries. There are several subsistence salmon fishery opportunities in Prince William Sound. Halibut may also be caught as well by residents of rural communities through the Federal subsistence halibut program. Other subsistence fisheries include herring, bottomfish, and shellfish which are described below. Prince William Sound is divided up into fishing districts. The Eastern, Southwestern, and Copper River Districts each have their own regulations, while general regulations apply to all other districts.
Salmon may be harvested for subsistence by obtaining a permit from the Division of Commercial fisheries in either Cordova or from the Fisheries Information Center in Anchorage. For the Eastern District fishers may also obtain a permit from the Tatitlek Village Council office and for the Southwestern District fishers may obtain a permit from the Chenega Village Council office.
- In the Eastern and Southwestern Districts salmon fishing is open from May 15 - October 31. From May 15 until 2 days before the commercial opener fishing is open 7 days a week, during the commercial season fishing is open during commercial openers, and 7 days a week 2 days after the closure of the commercial season through October 31. Legal gear for this fishery includes seine nets up to 50 fathoms in length and 100 meshes deep with a maximum mesh size of 4 inches, or gillnets up to 100 fathoms in length with a maximum mesh size of 6 ¼ inch. Pink salmon may only be taken in fresh water with dip nets.
- In the Copper River District fishing is open for drift gillnet not longer than 50 fathoms and is open between May 15 and September 30 with additional restrictions during commercial fishing openers. Annual limits are 15 salmon for a household of one, 30 salmon for a household of 2; and 10 salmon for each additional person in the household thereafter. There is a limit of 5 Chinook salmon per permit.
- In the General Districts, that is all other districts besides the Eastern, Southwestern, and Copper River Districts, fishing is open in conformance with commercial fishing regulations regarding gear, open areas, and open periods. Annual limits are 15 salmon for a household of one, 30 salmon fro a household of 2; and 10 salmon for each additional person in the household thereafter. There is a limit of 5 Chinook salmon per permit.
The National Marine Fisheries Service administers the subsistence halibut program under Federal regulations for residents of rural Alaska communities. To obtain a Subsistence Halibut Registration Certificate (SHARC) see the contact information on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Subsistence Halibut Fishing in Alaska webpage . Under State of Alaska subsistence fishing regulations fishers may harvest halibut in a nonsubsistence use area with a single hand-held line with not more than two hooks attached.
Prince William Sound does have plentiful ocean fish besides halibut such as lingcod, rockfish, and sharks. Lingcod, rockfish, and sharks may be harvested in Prince William Sound using a single hand troll, single hand-held line, or single long-line, none of which may have more than 5 hooks attached to it. Both lingcod and rockfish may also be kept if they are harvested incidentally in another subsistence finfish fishery such as salmon. Lingcod, rockfish, and sharks may not be taken under both sport fishing regulations and subsistence regulations on the same day.
- Lingcod may be harvested for subsistence July 1 - December 31.
- The daily bag limit for lingcod is two fish and the possession limit is four fish. Lingcod retained must measure at least 35 inches from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail. Undersized lingcod shall be returned to the water immediately without further harm.
- From May 1 through September 15, the daily bag limit of rockfish is 4 fish and possession limit is 8 fish, of which only 2 per day and 2 in possession may be non-pelagic rockfish.
- From September 16 through April 30, the daily bag and possession limit of rockfish is 8 fish, of which only 2 per day and 2 in possession may be non-pelagic rockfish.
- The daily bag limit for sharks is 1 fish and the possession limit is 2 fish.
Golden king crab and Tanner crab may be harvested in Prince William Sound outside the Valdez nonsubsistence use area by obtaining a subsistence crab permit from the Division of Commercial Fisheries in Cordova or Anchorage. Golden king crab and Tanner crab may be harvested between October 1 and March 31. Shrimp may be harvested between April 15 and September 15. See subsistence regulations for gear type specifications and harvest limits.
The Dungeness and king crab subsistence fisheries in the Prince William Sound area are closed until stocks of these crabs recover enough to provide a harvestable surplus.