More herring, ling cod, shrimp fisheries begin; NPFMC meeting; Deadline for BOF proposals

Fishing regions of AK

Even more Alaska fisheries get underway in April and many are still going on throughout the Gulf and Bering Sea. Cod fishing has been ongoing since January 1 and all kinds of boats are also targeting pollock, ocean perch, rockfish, flounders and more.

In Southeast Alaska, the roe herring fishery at Sitka Sound wrapped up on March 29.  The fleet took the 14,600 ton quota after four openers in about one week.

The golden king crab fishery is a wrap throughout the Panhandle with some of the lowest catches in 17 seasons. Put pulls at Icy Strait and Northern Areas yielded just over half of the 20,000 pound limit for the two regions.

Lingcod opens in Southeast waters on May 16 for jig and troll gear with a 310,700 pound harvest limit.

At Prince William Sound an exclusive sablefish fishery kicks off for longliners on April 15 with 117,000 pound catch quota.  That same day, a trawl fishery begins for sidestripe shrimp in the Sound with a catch set at just under 113,000 pounds.

Kodiak’s herring season begins on April 15, with a lower harvest this year of 1,645 tons.   Managers said they expect an uptick in the local herring biomass but of mostly younger, 3-5 year old fish. Thus, the smaller Kodiak quota.

It’s still slow going for halibut with just over one million pounds, or seven percent, taken out of the 18 million pound catch limit.  Ditto black cod with less than two million pounds harvested out of the 22.5 million pound limit.

And the Bering Sea snow crab fishery should finish off its 19 million pound catch quota any day.

Switching to fish meetings – The North Pacific Council is meeting now through April 11 in Anchorage. On the agenda – changing halibut bycatch limits in the Bering Sea to an abundance based system.

The Alaska legislature is set to confirm three Board of Fisheries nominees on April 13. John Jensen of Petersburg and Reed Morisky of Fairbanks are current   members and Fritz Johnson of Dillingham is set to return to the Fish Board after a year’s absence.

Finally, deadline to submit proposals for the next round of   Board of Fish meetings is April 11. The cycle which begins in November will take up Southeast, Yakutat, Prince William Sound fisheries and miscellaneous state shellfish issues.