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Prince William Sound location map

Commercial Fisheries Overview
Prince William Sound Management Area

CDV Harbor
Photo courtesy of Bert Lewis

The Prince William Sound Management Area encompasses all coastal waters and inland drainages entering the Gulf of Alaska between Cape Suckling and Cape Fairfield. Prince William Sound (PWS) is a mixture of glacier-hewn fjords, rainforest-blanketed islands, and rugged mountain peaks. PWS’s complex coastline, protected waters, and close proximity to nutrient-rich Gulf of Alaska waters support a broad array of marine life. PWS salmon and herring fisheries, along with other natural resources, such as copper, oil, and gold, were integral in forming the modern economic landscape. Salmon fisheries in PWS have greatly expanded since the mid-1970s, largely due to the addition of hatchery produced salmon. PWS is home to five salmon hatcheries, including the largest pink salmon and second largest chum and sockeye salmon enhancement programs in the state. Salmon fisheries are a major economic driver in PWS, harvesting annually upwards of 74 million fish. Beginning in the early 1900s with razor clams, diverse shellfish fisheries including those for shrimp and scallops as well as king, Dungeness and Tanner crabs, sustained area residents through the 1980s. As shellfish resources declined, fisheries developed for groundfish including Pacific cod, sablefish, and pollock.