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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Division of Commercial Fisheries
Division Overview

Average Commercial Fishing Exvessel Values, by Fishery, 2008-2012

*includes federally managed groundfish


Average Commercial Fishing Harvests, by Fishery, 2008-2012

*includes federally managed groundfish

The Division of Commercial Fisheries manages commercial, subsistence, and personal use fisheries within the jurisdiction of the State of Alaska. Some commercial fisheries occurring in the Exclusive Economic Zone--those waters extending seaward from state waters to the U.S. 200 mile limit--and subject to federal jurisdiction, are also managed by the division under authority delegated to it by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council. The division also permits and oversees the state's non-profit salmon hatchery and the aquatic shellfish farming programs and operates three scientific laboratories: a fish genetics laboratory, a fish pathology laboratory, and a laboratory for reading coded wire tags, otoliths, and determining the age of fish.

Commercial Fisheries is the largest division within the Alaska Department of Fish and Game; employing over 300 fulltime, and 425 seasonal, staff; and allocated an annual budget of over $70 million by the Alaska Legislature. The division is organized into a headquarters unit and four regional units. The division headquarters staff is split between Juneau and Anchorage, while regional headquarters offices are located in Douglas, Anchorage, and Kodiak. Permanent area offices are situated in Ketchikan, Petersburg, Wrangell, Sitka, Haines, Cordova, Soldotna, Homer, Fairbanks, Dutch Harbor, King Salmon, Dillingham, and Nome. Seasonal offices are maintained in Craig, Yakutat, Sand Point, Chignik, Cold Bay, Port Moller, Unalakleet, and Emmonak. The division also hires seasonal technicians for its many seasonal field camps.

The division’s core fishery management and research staff is composed of highly trained professionals with college degrees in the biological sciences and other related scientific and technical disciplines. Many have earned master’s degrees and PhDs in their respective fields. These research scientists and fishery managers are supported and assisted by other staff, specializing in accounting, personnel management, procurement, data management and analysis, writing, editing, publishing, and public information; many seasonal technicians are stationed at remote field camps. The division also operates several large research vessels requiring experienced captains and crews. Frequently, these positions are filled by individuals who have previously run fishing vessels and other work boats in Alaskan waters.

Since fishery resources are migratory, cross jurisdictional boundaries, and are subject to the fisheries of multiple states and countries, staff from the Division of Commercial Fisheries are involved in the research and policy making activities of the Pacific Salmon Commission, the Joint Canadian/US Yukon River Panel, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, and several other interstate and international fisheries research and policy making bodies.

For more fishery specific information, please see Information by Fishery.