As of 2018, biologists with ADF&G are exploring the potential for a relatively small scale commercial fishery for hagfish. In a 2017 test fishery, the catch rate was 90 percent female. Researchers are working to learn if that is the optimal sex ratio for the species, or if fishing somehow targets females more than males. They are also looking at the stock structure and genetic similarities between hagfish in different areas.
Animals caught in test fisheries are shared with University of Alaska Southeast biology classes. Students dissected the fish and also ran through the same sampling process fisheries biologists use in their work. They looked at the weight, length, sex, maturity, eggs, all the things noted in the study and port sampling program used to help manage the fishery and collect biological data.