Fish Radio
March 10, 2014

his is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini. A big Opportunity for a smaller fishing fleet. Hear more after this…  
Jig fishing 
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Jig fishermen around Kodiak will be targeting two ground fish species this season, when the state water pacific cod fishery opens this week. Jiggers are now  allowed to deliver pollock along with cod for the first time in the state season.  Jigging for pollock has been open before in federal waters but with little to no effort.

“Currently those federal pollock seasons occur in the winter or when the weather is poor. So when the jig fleet is active the pollock seasons are closed and jig vessels are limited to retaining pollock as by catch, so this test fishery will provide them an opportunity during a period when they are actively fishing.”

Trent Hartill is taking the lead on the newly developed test fishery. He is a groundfish Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish Game in Kodiak. Opening state waters for pollock  was a pressed issue  at the Board of fish meeting in Kodiak back in January.  

“The Jig fleet expressed a lot of interest in being able to have the extra opportunity to harvest pollock around Kodiak.”

Mark Stichert is also a groundfish biologist in Kodiak. He says due to the little experience about a  jig pollock fishery the board directed the department to come up with a plan.

“And this will give jig fishermen an opportunity to determine how to catch pollock, at what levels they might be able to retain pollock and also give them the opportunity to test the market to see what the processors interest in buying the fish during different times of the year.”    

Stichert says a smaller volume could be a good thing.

“In Kodiak it is harvested by trawl vessels and it usually comes in at a couple  specific times of the year and they usually come in at vary large volumes. So it might be unique for processors to buy smaller volumes of pollock delivered in a different sort of way.”

“So that is the other piece of the puzzle that the board may need to consider before choosing weather or not to develop a full pollock fishery, is if there are markets that will be willing to purchase those fish.”

Where they catch the pollock, when they catch it, and how much is what managers are looking for in the test fishery.  They will  present it to the board during the next session.

“ This is an initial opportunity to get some information back and then use that in a larger process to determine if a jig pollock fishery is viable.”   

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – serving Alaska’s fishing communities for 103 years.  On the web at .. In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.