Kodiak boats gear up for cod, pollock, halibut and more


Holidays aside, Alaska fishing stakeholders are gearing up for the start of some of the state’s biggest fisheries and fish meetings.

Starting January 1, boats will drop pots and lines for cod and other groundfish in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.

Trawling for pollock, the nation’s largest food fishery, begins on January 20.

A pollock fishery also opens that day in Prince William Sound. Fish and Game also is seeking trawlers for a pollock test fishery in the Sound to offset management costs.  Bids are due at the Homer office by January 7.

A Tanner crab fishery opens on January 15 at Kodiak, Chignik and the South Peninsula with a combined catch of 1.8 million pounds. Most of the catch – 1.1 million pounds – goes to the Kodiak district.

Tanner crab and golden king crab fisheries open in Southeast Alaska on February 11.

Bering Sea crabbers have taken just 14% of their Tanner quota of about one million pounds while the nearly 6 million pound golden crab catch is about a wrap. No landings yet for snow crab which typically gets going in mid-January.

Southeast divers are still going down in some regions for sea cucumbers and geoduck clams.

Alaska halibut fishermen took 93% of their 18.5 million pound catch limit when the fishery closed on December 7, one month longer than usual. Homer, Seward, Kodiak and Juneau and Sitka were top ports for halibut landings.

For sablefish, or black cod, 75% of the 43.4 million pound quota was taken by shareholders during the eight month fishery that began in March. Seward, Kodiak, Sitka, Juneau and Dutch Harbor led all ports for deliveries.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission also is calling for longliners charters for its surveys next summer. Apply by January 31.

Halibut catches for 2022 will be announced at the annual Halibut Commission meeting –  held online from January  24-28.

The state Board of Fisheries is planning to meet in person January 4 to 15 in Ketchikan. It will take up 157 proposals on Southeast and Yakutat commercial, sport, subsistence and personal use fisheries.

The meetings will be held in two separate sessions – salmon, herring and non-groundfish is up first from January 4-11 followed by groundfish and shellfish issues from January 12-14. Video and audio will be streamed live.

Finally, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council crab plan teams meets online Jan 10-14 followed by a Council meeting February 7-10.