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Commercial Dive Fisheries

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Geoduck clamsSoutheast Alaska dive fisheries harvest three species of invertebrates: geoduck clams Panopea generosa, California sea cucumbers Parastichopus californicus, and red sea urchins Strongylocentrotus franciscanus. All three fisheries occur primarily in southern Southeast Alaskan waters. The pinto abalone Haliotis kamschatkana fishery is currently closed to commercial harvest. A small experimental sea cucumber fishery was prosecuted during the 2007/08 season in the Yakutat area.

Southeast dive fisheries are relatively recent entrants into the region’s commercial fishing industry. The first commercial landings for abalone occurred in the mid 1960s, and red sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and geoduck clams in the early to mid 1980s. Currently, each fishery is a competitive limited entry fishery. Stock Assessment surveys for green urchins have been conducted in Southeast Alaska but there has been no fishery.

Westward Region dive fisheries include the sea cucumber Parastichopus californicus fishery in the Westward Region (Kodiak and Chignik) and a small green urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis fishery in Kodiak and Alaska Peninsula. Sea cucumber GHLs and fishery periods were developed between 1991-1993. The GHL for the Kodiak District was 140,000 pounds and 25,000 pounds for the Chignik District. To promote reproduction, the fisheries in these areas are closed from May 1-September 30.

Dive Fishery Species

Geoduck Clam

(Panopea generosa)

Geoduck clam Panopea generosa beds have a patchy distribution in the central and southern portions of Southeast Alaska, primarily in protected waters near the outside coast. Geoducks are long lived resulting in a the Alaska Department of Fish & Game using very low exploitation rate. A shift to live geoduck sales has increased the value of the fishery in recent years. For more information about geoduck dive fisheries in Alaska click here

 

Red Sea Cucumber

(Parastichopus californicus)

The commercial species of sea cucumber harvested in Southeast Alaska is the California sea cucumber Parastichopus californicus. It is distributed from Mexico to as far north as the Alaska. The major products from this fishery are the longitudinal and transverse muscle bundles or meat, and the skins. Fisheries occur for sea cucumbers in Southeast Alaska and the Kodiak area. For more information about sea cucumber dive fisheries in Alaska click here

 

Red Sea Urchin

(Strongylocentrotus franciscanus)

Red sea urchins Strongylocentrotus franciscanus are common in Southeast Alaska, occurring primarily on rocky shorelines of the outside coast with largest concentrations in southern Southeast Alaska. The red sea urchin population has been kept at very low levels by sea otters in many areas, which along with decrease in marketing opportunities, has resulted in a reduction in harvest and effort in recent years. For more information about red sea urchin dive fisheries in Alaska click here

 

Green Sea Urchin

(Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis)

Green urchins Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis are only commercially harvested in the Kodiak area but exist in the Southeast Alaska, also. The Kodiak green urchin fishery is very small and harvested under the provisions of a miscellaneous shellfish permit. For more information about green sea urchin dive fisheries in Alaska click here.