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Southeast Alaska / Yakutat Area
Subsistence Fishing

Fishing Information

Southeast Alaska Map Graphic

There are many subsistence salmon fisheries in Southeast Alaska and Yakutat outside of the Juneau and Ketchikan nonsubsistence use areas.Halibut may be harvested by residents of rural communities through the Federal subsistence halibut program. Other subsistence fisheries include herring spawn-on-kelp, shellfish and groundfish, which are described below. In addition, eulachon, Dolly Varden, trout, and smelt are all taken for subsistence purposes in Southeast Alaska.

Salmon

  • Salmon has a long history of use in Southeast Alaska and is an important component of subsistence harvests.
  • Subsistence salmon fishing in Southeast is managed under a permit system that specifies harvest limits, allowable gear types and open areas/seasons. You can obtain a permit for salmon fishing from your regional office of the Division of Commercial Fisheries (see Contact).
  • Depending on the area you are fishing in, gear that can be used includes set gillnets, drift gillnets, gaffs, spears, beach seines, dip nets, cast nets and hand purse seines. The permit issued for each area specifies the allowable types of gear.
  • If you are looking for information about the personal use fisheries in the Juneau or Ketchikan nonsubsistence use areas, including Sweetheart Creek and the Taku River, see the personal use fishing guidelines.

 

Herring Spawn

Herring eggs on a pine branch

  • Before participating in the herring spawn-on-kelp fishery, you need to obtain a permit from the Sitka office of the Division on Commercial Fisheries.
  • The annual possession limit for herring spawn on kelp is 32 pounds for an individual or 158 pounds for a household of two or more people.
  • The Sitka Sound area is known as the herring egg capital of northern Southeast; herring spawn collected in Sitka Sound is shared throughout Southeast Alaska and beyond.
  • Herring eggs area a traditional food in Southeast Alaska that are traded for other subsistence foods, raw materials, and handicrafts.
  • Herring eggs are collected on submerged hemlock branches, kelp, hair seaweed or rock seaweed.

 

Halibut

Halibut on a hook

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 at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/ram/subsistence/halibut.htm.

 

Shellfish

Dungeness crab

  • Permits are not required to take shellfish, but subsistence harvest of shellfish must occur outside the boundaries of the Juneau and Ketchikan nonsubsistence use areas.
  • Species taken for subsistence include Dungeness crab, king and tanner crab, shrimp, abalone, geoducks, and scallops.
  • For specific details, including bag limits for the subsistence harvest of each shellfish species, see subsistence shellfish fishery regulations.
  • For information on personal use shellfish harvests within the nonsubsistence use areas, see personal use.

 

Southeastern Alaska and Yakutat Area Subsistence Bottomfish Fishery

(updated December 2016)

The following information outlines State of Alaska subsistence bottomfish regulations for certain waters of Alaska in the Southeastern Alaska and Yakutat Areas. This is a summary of selected subsistence regulations and should be used in conjunction with the current Subsistence Statewide Fisheries Regulations. Refer to the State of Alaska Bottomfish Subsistence Area map for information on area designations.

Lingcod resting on the bottom of the sea.

The Southeastern Alaska Area consists of all waters of Alaska between Cape Fairweather and Dixon Entrance.

The Yakutat Area includes all waters of Alaska between the longitude of Cape Suckling and the longitude of Cape Fairweather.

"Waters of Alaska" for the Southeastern and Yakutat Areas includes the tidal zone of the state from mean higher high water to mean lower low water, and those waters extending three miles seaward of a line (the baseline) between points described in 5 AAC 39.975 (13).

Subsistence Fishery Areas

The Alaska Board of Fisheries finds that bottomfish stocks are customarily and traditionally taken or used for subsistence in certain areas and subsistence bottomfish fishing is permitted only in the areas listed below.

  • In the Southeastern Alaska Area:
    • District 2 - north of the latitude of the northernmost tip of Chasina Point and west of a line from the northernmost tip of Chasina Point to the easternmost tip of Grindall Island to the easternmost tip of the Kasaan Peninsula
    • District 3 - Sections 3-A and 3-B
    • District 5 - north of a line from Point St. Albans to Cape Pole
    • District 6 - Section 6-A west of a line from Macnamara Point to Mitchell Point; 6-B west of the longitude of Macnamara Point
    • District 7
    • District 8
    • District 9 - in the waters of Section 9-B north of the latitude of Point Ellis
    • District 10 - west of a line from Pinta Point to Point Pybus
    • District 12 - between the latitude of Parker Point and the latitude of Point Caution, including the waters of Whitewater Bay
    • District 13
    • District 14 - east of the longitude of Point Dundas
    • District 15 - Section 15-A
  • and in the Yakutat Area:
    • in the waters of Yakutat Bay, including Russell Fjord, and in waters of Alaska bounded by a line from Point Manby, at 59° 41.66' N. lat., 140° 19.57' W. long., to 59° 39.17' N. lat., 140° 26.75' W. long. to Ocean Cape, at 59° 31.62' N. lat., 139° 49.87' W. long., to 59° 29.69' N. lat., 139° 55.18' W. long.

General Subsistence Bottomfish Fishery Regulations

  • Bottomfish species include: sablefish, Pacific cod, lingcod, flatfish (except halibut), walleye Pollock, skates, and all species of rockfish.
  • Bottomfish may be taken for subsistence purposes only by Alaskan residents.
  • Area Closures
    • The waters off Cape Edgecumbe enclosed by a box defined as 56° 55.5' N. lat., 56° 57' N. lat., 135° 54' W. long., and 135° 57' W. long. are closed to fishing for all species of bottomfish.
  • Daily Bag and Possession Limits
    • There is no daily bag, possession or annual limit for subsistence bottomfish.
    • Subsistence bottomfish may be taken at anytime with longline, pot, mechanical jigging machines, hand and power troll gear or other gear defined in 5 AAC 39.105 and 5 AAC 01.010, except that lingcod may not be taken in the Southeastern Alaska Area with a spear or while using diving gear from December 1 through May 15 (5 AAC 01.710). Rod and reel is not a legal subsistence bottomfish gear.
  • Gear Restrictions
    • There are no restrictions on the amount of gear permitted for subsistence bottomfish fishing.
    • Each subsistence bottomfish fisherman shall plainly and legibly inscribe the fisherman's first initial, last name and home address on the buoy attached to the unattended subsistence fishing gear.
    • Pot gear must include an escape mechanism in accordance with the following provisions:
      1. a sidewall, which may include the tunnel, of all shellfish and bottomfish pots must contain an opening equal to or exceeding 18 inches in length, except that in shrimp pots the opening must be a minimum of six inches in length; the opening must be laced, sewn, or secured together by a single length of untreated, 100 percent cotton twine, no larger than 30 thread; the cotton twine may be knotted at each end only; the opening must be within six inches of the bottom of the pot and must be parallel with it; the cotton twine may not be tied or looped around the web bars; Dungeness crab pots may have the pot lid tie-down straps secured to the pot at one end by a single loop of untreated, 100 percent cotton twine, no larger than 60 thread, as a substitute for the above requirement; the pot lid must be secured so that, when the twine degrades, the lid will no longer be securely closed.
      2. all king crab, Tanner crab, shrimp, miscellaneous shellfish and bottomfish pots may, instead of complying with (1) of this section, satisfy the following: a sidewall, which may include the tunnel, must contain an opening at least 18 inches in length, except that shrimp pots must contain an opening at least six inches in length; the opening must be laced, sewn, or secured together by a single length of treated or untreated twine, no larger than 36 thread; a galvanic timed release device, designed to release in no more than 30 days in salt water, must be integral to the length of twine so that, when the device releases, the twine will no longer secure or obstruct the opening of the pot; the twine may be knotted only at each end and at the attachment points on the galvanic timed release device; the opening must be within six inches of the bottom of the pot and must be parallel with it; the twine may not be tied or looped around the web bars.
      3. in an area open to commercial, personal use, sport, or subsistence fishing with pot gear, including a pot storage area, a registered commercial fishing vessel or a vessel used for personal use, sport, or subsistence fishing may not have on board the vessel or in the water, in fishing or stored condition, any groundfish or shellfish pot gear that does not have an opening or rigging as specified in (1) or (2) of this section;
  • Other Restrictions
    • Sablefish, lingcod, and thornyhead, shortraker, rougheye and yelloweye rockfish taken may not be used as bait in a commercial fishery.
    • It is unlawful to buy or sell subsistence-taken fish, their parts, or their eggs, except that it is lawful to buy or sell a handicraft made out of the skin or nonedible by-products of fish taken for personal or family consumption.
    • Contact Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve prior to engaging in the state subsistence bottomfish fishery within Glacier Bay National Park (907) 697-2230.

Regulations Specific to Sablefish

In the Southeastern Alaska Area only:

  • A subsistence fishing permit issued by the department is required to take sablefish; only one permit will be issued per household per year.
  • Permit holder or a household member listed on the permit must have permit in possession when fishing.
  • There is no daily bag, possession, or annual limit for subsistence sablefish.
  • A permit holder shall record fishing activity on the permit Fishing Report prior to leaving the fishing site.
  • A vessel or person on board a vessel participating in the commercial sablefish fishery in the Northern Southeast Inside (NSEI) or Southern Southeast Inside (SSEI) Subdistrict may not operate subsistence or personal use longline gear for bottomfish from that vessel until all sablefish harvested in the commercial fishery are offloaded from the vessel.
  • A person on board a vessel from which a longline is used to take bottomfish for subsistence use in the NSEI or SSEI Subdistricts may not operate commercial longline gear for bottomfish from that vessel until all subsistence-taken bottomfish are offloaded from the vessel.