Commercial Fisheries Overview
Arctic Management Area
The Arctic Management Area encompasses all waters of Alaska north of the latitude of the western most tip of Point Hope and west of 141 degrees West longitude, including those waters draining into the Arctic Ocean and the Chukchi Sea. The area consists of 91,000 square miles and the largest river system, the Colville River, drains 29% of the North Slope. Many subsistence fishers operate gillnets in the rivers and coastal marine waters of the Arctic Area to harvest marine and freshwater finfish. Small numbers of chum, pink, and Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus ssp.) have been reported by subsistence fishers along the coast. Arctic cisco and broad whitefish (Coregonus spp.) are most commonly used for subsistence purposes along with Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma), and Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus). A commercial fishery for freshwater finfish has existed in the Colville River delta since 1964 primarily harvesting (Coregonus spp.). Historically, commercial fishing generally took place during late June and July for broad and humpback whitefish, and October through early December for Arctic and least cisco. Beginning around 1990 commercial fishing effort shifted to predominately occurring in October and November for Arctic and least cisco using set gillnets operated under the ice.