Fish Radio
Set net ban resurfaces, bycatch causes trawl closures …
May 6, 2015 

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Salmon setnet ban resurfaces, bycatch trips trawl closures, new jig regs – more updates after this …

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 Despite a court ruling declaring it unconstitutional, the move to ban setnets in parts of Alaska still aims to put the question before voters. The Kenai-based Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, a sport fish group, is collecting signatures statewide to get the ban on a ballot next year. It needs about 30,000 signatures by mid-August to make it.

 Although it’s targeted at Cook Inlet’s 734 setnetters, the Alliance wants sites also pulled from the Mat Su Valley, Ketchikan, Juneau, Valdez, Fairbanks and most areas around Anchorage.

 A dozen trawlers are tying up for the year early due to tripping the 2,700 Chinook salmon bycatch cap in Central and Western Gulf fisheries. Only half of the cod catch and 10 percent of the flatfish were taken, says NOAA Fisheries. The pollock and rockfish fleets are far from their caps and are still fishing. This is the first year for Chinook bycatch caps in the federally managed trawl fisheries – the total cap for the Gulf is 7,500 salmon.  

 New rules for jig gear in the Eastern Gulf go into effect on May 9. Vessels are limited to no more than five mechanical jigging machines with no more than 30 hooks per line. Check with Fish and Game for other restrictions.

At Alaska’s largest roe herring fishery at Togiak, the catch is at the half way point of nearly 30,000 tons.

And the results are in for the Sitka Sound herring fishery – Fish and Game reports the final harvest was 8,756 tons, slightly over the quota. Roe counts were nearly 12 percent of body weight. Spawning covered nearly 90 miles of shoreline near Sitka, the second highest since the department began recording spawn in 1964.

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Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, celebrating 105 years of partnership with Alaska’s coastal communities. In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.