Increasing Harvests Prompt Changes For Kodiak Rockfish Limits

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

Kodiak Island Rockfish Limits Modified

(Kodiak) – To ensure sustainable harvests of rockfish and implement provisions of the Kodiak Area Rockfish Management Plan adopted by the Board of Fisheries in January 2020 and amended in 2024, bag and possession limits for rockfish are being modified in the waters of Afognak Island and Northeastern Kodiak Island north of a line extending westward from Outlet Cape (north of 58° lat.) and eastward from Dangerous Cape (north of 57° 16.596′ N. lat.). This is equivalent to the Afognak and Northeast Districts and the part of the Eastside District consisting of groundfish statistical areas 525701 and 525702 north of Dangerous Cape. This is due to increasing harvest and participation in the fishery and concerns over long term sustainability of these populations.

This regulation restriction is effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 1 through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, December 31, 2024. The bag and possession limit for all anglers for rockfish is five per day, 10 in possession, of which no more than two per day, four in possession may be of a single rockfish species and only one per day, two in possession may be yelloweye. In addition, captain and crew of charter vessels may not retain rockfish while clients are on board. The modified bag and possession limit for rockfish supersedes rockfish bag limits for Chiniak and Marmot Bays.

“Emergency orders issued in the previous several seasons have been effective in reducing the harvest of black rockfish to below pre-2019 levels in accordance with the goals of the management plan, however, the portion of the harvest composed of black rockfish continues to increase when compared to historical catches. Preliminary harvest estimates indicate that the 2023 harvest of black rockfish is above sustainable harvest thresholds for Afognak and the Northeast and Eastside of Kodiak,” stated Area Management Biologist Tyler Polum. “As participation and interest in sport fishing for rockfish is expected to remain high for 2024 and possibly increase, it is warranted to implement restrictions for harvesting individual species of rockfish to ensure sustainable harvests, given that they are long-lived, slow-growing, and vulnerable to overfishing, particularly in localized areas. Retaining the overall, five fish limit for rockfish will allow anglers increased opportunity for rockfish species, but they would be required to retain a variety of species.”

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.

Kodiak Island Rockfish Limits Modified