(Released: March 21, 2018)
Division of Sport Fish
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Contact: Jay Baumer, Area Management Biologist
(Anchorage) – The Alaska Board of Fisheries (board) met in Anchorage from March 6–9, 2018, for a Statewide Dungeness Crab, Shrimp, and Miscellaneous Shellfish meeting. The information below summarizes the topics that affect the Prince William Sound (PWS) area. This is not a comprehensive list of all of the changes but a summary of the board decision’s that impact the sport fishing regulations in PWS.
The board deliberated on 10 proposals effecting the sport and/or commercial PWS shrimp pot fishery. No changes were made to the current PWS shrimp pot fishery management plan.
During the board Finfish meeting in Valdez, December 1-5, 2017, the board reduced the bag and possession limits for rockfish and eliminated the requirement to keep the first two nonpelagic rockfish caught. The mandatory use of deepwater release mechanisms (DRM) for all rockfish released was tabled until the March 2018 meeting to provide additional time for public input. At the March 2018 meeting, the board adopted the following regulation pertaining to the release of all rockfish in PWS. Effective January 1, 2020, all vessels that are sportfishing in PWS will be required to carry and use a DRM when releasing rockfish. All rockfish released, must be done so with a DRM at capture depth or 100 feet, whichever is shallower.
Using DRMs greatly increases rockfish survival by mitigating the effects of “barotrauma.” To learn more about rockfish life history, identification, conservation, and how to use a DRM, please visit the ADF&G’s Rockfish Conservation and Deepwater Release webpage. For additional information about DRMs or if you are interested in a free DRM, please contact the Anchorage Sport Fish Information Center at (907) 267-2218.
For additional information about the decision and discussions that occurred at the Anchorage meeting, please visit the Alaska Board of Fisheries Meeting Information webpage.