NONRESIDENT ROCKFISH LIMITS REDUCED AT EASTERN AFOGNAK AND KODIAK ISLANDS

The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

(Kodiak) – To ensure sustainable harvests of rockfish and implement provisions of the Kodiak Black Rockfish Management Plan adopted by the Board of Fisheries in January 2020, the nonresident bag and possession limits for rockfish is being reduced for much of eastern Afognak and Kodiak islands due to increasing harvest rates and concerns over sustainability of these populations. This regulation restriction is effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, April 1 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, December 31, 2020. The nonresident angler bag and possession limits for rockfish is reduced to 3 per day, 6 in possession, of which 2 per day, 4 in possession may be nonpelagic and only 1 per day, 2 in possession of the nonpelagic limits may be yelloweye. In addition, captain and crew of charter vessels may not retain rockfish in this area while clients are on board.

The nonresidents reduced bag and possession limits for rockfish include the waters of eastern Afognak and Kodiak islands south of a line extending east from Big Fort Island near Shuyak Island (eastward from 58° 30.026’N, 152° 24.292’W), north of a line extending eastward from Dangerous Cape (eastward from 57° 16.596’N, 152° 42.388’W) and east of a line at 153° W in Kupreanof Straight, equivalent to groundfish statistical areas 525803, 525804, 515801, 515802, 525805, 525806, 525807, 525731, 525732, 525733, and 525701. Anglers please refer to the map below for the waters where rockfish limits have been reduced for nonresidents.

Resident bag limits will remain the same at this time, as published in the 2020 Southwest Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

“Despite reduced bag limits in the Chiniak and Marmot bays area, harvest continues to increase, particularly for black rockfish,” stated Area Management Biologist Tyler Polum. “Since 2005, the Kodiak Management Area rockfish harvest has increased substantially to the point where anglers are the primary user of the resource. Much of this increase can be attributed to the areas nearest the Port of Kodiak and harvest rates in some areas are approaching rates that are considered unstainable according to the best available information.”

If harvest continues to increase, further restrictions could be implemented according to the management plan criteria in this priority order:

  1. implement an annual limit for nonresidents for rockfish
  2. reduce nonresident bag and possession limit for rockfish
  3. reduce the rockfish bag limit by area as specified by ADF&G
  4. implement a rockfish season
  5. reduce the resident bag and possession limit for rockfish

ADF&G will continue to monitor harvests and biological information using saltwater guide logbooks, dockside sampling data, and the Statewide Harvest Survey. An ongoing hydroacoustic abundance survey for black rockfish will also be conducted to compare harvest rates in all fisheries with the latest abundance estimates.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Tyler Polum at (907) 486-1880.

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