Shellfish Gear Requirements
Shrimp may be taken only with pots and ring nets;
Crab may be taken only with pots, ring nets, diving gear, dip nets, hooked or hookless handlines, or by hand; a line attached to a pole or rod may be used in the Bering Sea only when fishing a line through the ice;
Clams may be taken only by hand or with rakes, shovels, and manually operated clam guns;
Abalone may be taken only with abalone irons, diving gear, or by hand.
Other shellfish may be taken with trawls, hand jigging, and hand-operated dredges, except that in the waters of Southeastern Alaska sea cucumbers may not be taken with the use of diving gear.
Each pot used to take Dungeness, Tanner or king crab must have at least two circular escape rings on opposing vertical or sloping sides of the pot. The size of the escape rings must be at least 4⅜ inches inside diameter for Dungeness crab pots, 4¾ inches inside diameter for Tanner crab pots, and 6¼ inches inside diameter for king crab pots. Rings used in Dungeness pots must be on the upper half of the vertical plane of the pot. Any pot used to take shrimp must not have (a) more than 4 tunnel eye openings that individually exceed 15 inches in perimeter, (b) a bottom perimeter greater than 153 inches, or (c) a volume that exceeds 25 cubic feet.
Pots must include an escape mechanism in accordance with the following provisions:
- A sidewall, which may include the tunnel, of all shellfish pots must contain an opening equal to or exceeding 18 inches in length, except in shrimp pots the opening must be a minimum of 6 inches in length. The opening must be laced, sewn, or secured together by a single length of untreated, 100% cotton twine, no larger than 30-thread (see illustration). The cotton twine may be knotted at each end only. The opening must be within 6 inches of the bottom of the pot and must be parallel with it. The cotton twine may not be tied or looped around the web bars. Dungeness crab pots may have the pot lid tie-down straps secured to the pot at one end by a single loop of untreated, 100% cotton twine no larger than 60-thread, as a substitute for the above requirements; the pot lid must be secured so that, when the twine degrades, the lid will no longer be securely closed.
- All king crab and Tanner crab pots may, instead of complying with (1) of this section, satisfy the following: a sidewall, which may include the tunnel, must contain an opening of 18 inches or more in length, which must be laced, sewn, or secured together by a single length of treated or untreated twine no larger than 36-thread. A galvanic timed release device, designed to release within 30 days in salt water, must be integral to the length of twine, so that when the device releases, the twine no longer secures or obstructs the opening of the pot. The twine may be knotted only at one end and at the attachment points on the galvanic timed release device. The opening must be within 6 inches of the bottom of the pot and must be parallel with it. The twine may not be tied or looped around the web bars.
- In addition to escape rings required in all crab traps (see earlier section), all rigid mesh pots used to take shellfish must have at least one opening in a sidewall of the pot which may include the tunnel, except Dungeness crab pots that have a pot lid tie-down that complies with (1) of this section. The opening in a king or Tanner crab pot must be equal to or exceed a 12-inch by 8-inch rectangle. The opening in a Dungeness crab pot must be equal to or exceed a 10-inch by 6-inch rectangle. The opening in a shrimp pot must be equal to or exceed a four-inch square. The lower long edge of the opening must be parallel to and within six inches of the bottom of the pot. The opening may be covered with a single panel secured to the pot with no more than four single loops of untreated, 100% cotton twine no larger than 30-thread; each single loop of cotton twine may not be laced along the opening. The panel must be attached to the pot in a manner that when the cotton twine degrades, the panel will drop away from the pot exposing the opening completely.