A directed Pacific cod fishery is underway in Southeast Alaska, with the established guideline harvest range of 750,000 to 1,250,000 pounds, in the wake of decreased participation and a lower harvest in the past year.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) noted in a statement released from Sitka on January 2 its plan to monitor the catch of Pacific cod by geographic area to prevent localized depletion and overharvest of spawning aggregations.
State biologists said they will continue to manage the resource as it has in the past, closing specific areas as necessary to distribute effort and harvest throughout the Northern Southeast Inside subdistrict and the Southern Southeast Inside subdistrict.
In 2017, 10 vessels caught 225,191 pounds of Pacific cod as direct harvest and another 47,009 pounds as bycatch, for a total of 272,200 pounds. In 2016,16 vessels caught 572,705 pounds of Pacific cod in the directed fishery and 667,625 pounds as bycatch, for a total of 639,330 pounds. The 2015 harvest saw 882,521 pounds in the directed fishery and 77,657 pounds as bycatch for a total of 960,178 pounds.
The highest overall catch of Pacific cod for that area since 2002 came in 2010, with a direct harvest of 869,828 pounds and 58,574 pounds of bycatch, for a total of 928,402 pounds.
The 2017 annual management report for the Southeast and Yakutat commercial groundfish fisheries is online at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/regulations/regprocess/fisheriesboard/pdfs/2017-2018/se/WR12_FMR17-54.pdf