Two new state fisheries have been approved by the Alaska Board of Fisheries for vessels under 60 feet- an Atka mackerel fishery for the Aleutian Islands District and another for Pacific cod in the Bering Sea.
The board’s action during a five-day meeting that ended Oct. 22 in Anchorage are part of an ongoing effort to improve the economies of coastal fishing communities.
The Aleutian Islands proposal called for a guideline harvest level for Atka mackerel of 10 percent of the acceptable biological catch of Atka mackerel for the federal Eastern Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea district, to begin on Jan. 1 and continue either until the GHL is achieved or Dec. 31. Harvesters may use only purse seine gear, with actual net sizes still to be determined.
The Bering sea state waters P-cod fishery would open a week after closure of the federal Bering Sea-Aleutian Islands hook-and-line/pot catcher vessel less than 60 feet in overall length sector, and close when its GHL is taken or by Aug. 28, with the reopening of the parallel fishery season.
The board also increased the P-cod guideline harvest level from 25 percent to 30 percent of the Western Gulf of Alaska acceptable biological catch, but rejected proposals to increase state waters P-cod guideline harvest levels in the Cook Inlet, Kodiak and Chignik areas based on 10-year average parallel season P-cod harvests.
The King Cove fish and game advisory committee had requested the GHL increase for the South Alaska Peninsula area Pacific cod management plan, saying that the 2012 sector splits in the Western Gulf of Alaska parallel cod season had reduced opportunity for pot only vessels to harvest cod. Pot only boats had previously participated in the federal parallel season until the entire allowable catch was caught. In the two years prior to sector splits pots harvested over 50 percent of the Western Gulf’s allowable catch and 50 percent of those were harvested in state waters, they said.