Nonresident Rockfish Limits Reduced In Eastern Afognak and Kodiak Islands

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

Eastern Afognak and Kodiak Islands Rockfish Limits Reduced for Nonresidents

(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, nonresident bag and possession limits for rockfish are being reduced for much of eastern Afognak and Kodiak islands due to increasing participation in the fishery and concerns over sustainability of these populations during the 2023 season. This regulation restriction is effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, April 3 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, December 31, 2023. The nonresident angler bag and possession limit for rockfish is reduced to three per day, six in possession, of which two per day, four in possession may be nonpelagic and only one per day, two in possession of the nonpelagic limit may be yelloweye. In addition, captain and crew of charter vessels may not retain rockfish in this area while clients are on board.

The reduced nonresident bag and possession limit 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. lat., 152° 24.292′ W. long.), north of a line extending eastward from Dangerous Cape (eastward from 57° 16.596′ N. lat., 152° 42.388′ W. long.) and east of a line at 153° W. lat. in Kupreanof Straight, equivalent to groundfish statistical areas 525803, 525804, 515801, 515802, 525805, 525806, 525807, 525731, 525732, 525733, and 525701. Please refer to the map below for the waters where rockfish limits have been reduced for nonresidents.

Resident bag limits are not changing at this time and will remain as published in the 2023 Southwest Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

“With reduced travel to the Kodiak Area in 2020 and emergency orders issued in 2021 and 2022 to restrict the harvest of rockfish for nonresident anglers, harvest estimates indicate that rockfish harvests and particularly black rockfish harvest was reduced from pre-2020 levels,” stated Area Management Biologist Tyler Polum. “As nonresident participation and interest in sport fishing for rockfish is expected to remain high for 2023 and possibly increase, it is warranted to implement similar restrictions in this area to ensure sustainable harvests of rockfish, given that they are long-lived, slow-growing, and vulnerable to overfishing, particularly in localized areas.” If harvest continues to increase, further restrictions could be implemented according to the management plan criteria:

  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.

Eastern Afognak and Kodiak Islands Rockfish Limits Reduced for Nonresidents