(Released: December 31, 2019 - Expires: January 31, 2021)
Division of Sport Fish
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Contact: Bob Chadwick, SE Regional Management Coordinator
(Juneau) – Today the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced that the retention of nonpelagic rockfish will be prohibited during 2020. The following regulations are effective 12:01 a.m. January 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021:
All Southeast Waters
- No retention of nonpelagic rockfish.
- All vessels must have at least one functional deepwater release mechanism on board and readily available for use when sport fishing activities are taking place. Persons sport fishing in marine waters when releasing rockfish (pelagic or nonpelagic), must use a deepwater release mechanism to return the fish to the depth it was hooked or to a depth of at least 100 feet.
Despite conservative management action yelloweye rockfish biomass (used as an indicator for all nonpelagic rockfish) has decreased 60% in the last 20 years and potential impacts on the reproductive potential of the population and future recruitment of juvenile rockfish. Nonpelagic rockfish are particularly vulnerable to overexploitation and are slow to recover once fished below sustainable levels given their longevity, slow growth, late maturation, and high site-fidelity, with yelloweye rockfish reaching an estimated maximum age of 122 years and maturing at 18–22 years. Restrictive management actions in the Southeast Alaska nonpelagic rockfish sport fishery need to be taken to ensure the sustainability of these stocks. Mandatory release at depth will ensure that most released nonpelagic rockfish will survive. Based on research studies, the department estimates that proper use of release devices reduces mortality of nonpelagic rockfish by over 95%.
For further information, contact the nearest ADF&G office or visit: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishregulations.se_sportfish