Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Prince William Sound Cod Fishery Opens
with 992,080-lb GHL

The Prince William Sound area Pacific cod state waters fishery opens at noon on February 15 with a guideline harvest level (GHL) of 992,080 pounds, of which 85 percent (843,268 pounds) is allocated to vessels using longline gear and 15 percent (148,812 pounds) for those with pot and jig gear. A reduction compares to the 2017 GHL of 4,338,141 pounds, which was also down from 4,841,902 pounds in 2016.

A dramatic drop in recruitment prompted fisheries managers’ decisions in December to make more severe cuts for this fishery.

The season is set to open 24 hours after the Prince William Sound P-cod parallel fishery closes to vessels using pot gear and coincides with the National Marine Fisheries Service closure of the P-cod pot gear sector in the federal Central Gulf of Alaska area.

Area registration for the state-waters season is exclusive. It allows no more than 60 groundfish pots to be operated from a vessel and each pot must display a buoy identification tag. A vessel may not participate in a Pacific cod state-waters season and any other P-cod season at the same time.

Following closure of the parallel P-cod season, all groundfish pot gear must be removed from the water, except those on vessels registered for the state-waters P-cod season, which may store theirs per state regulations guidelines. Groundfish storage provisions allow groundfish pot gear to be stored in waters no more than 25 fathoms deep on the north side of Montague island for up to 10 days prior to the opening and 10 days after closure of the state-waters season to pot gear. All bait and bait containers must be removed and all doors secured open at the time of the parallel season closure. After the 10-day period has elapsed, no groundfish pot storage is permitted.

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