Prince William Sound Shrimp Pots Reduced For Sport, Subsistence Fishers

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

(Anchorage) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is reducing the number of pots allowed to be used per person and per vessel in the 2021 Prince William Sound (PWS) sport and subsistence shrimp pot fishery from five pots to two pots. This regulatory restriction is effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday, April 15 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, September 15, 2021. This season’s guideline harvest level (GHL) for the noncommercial (sport and subsistence) shrimp fishery is 104,978 pounds of shrimp.

The noncommercial shrimp fishery is allocated 60% of the total allowable harvest limit (TAH), while the commercial shrimp fishery receives 40%. Harvest in the noncommercial shrimp fishery is unknown until it is reported after the season closes. In 2019 and 2020, the noncommercial shrimp fishery was limited to three pots. In 2019, the noncommercial shrimp fishery harvested 102,919 pounds exceeding the GHL by 819 pounds. In 2020, the noncommercial shrimp fishery harvested 140,488 pounds exceeding the GHL by 38,379 pounds. To stay within the 2021 season GHL of 104,978, a reduction in the number of allowable shrimp pots is necessary.

“The past year has been an interesting one and the 2020 PWS shrimp season was no exception. The noncommercial shrimpers were very effective at harvesting shrimp while their overall effort did not increase much,” stated Area Management Biologist, Jay Baumer. “What is really apparent when looking at the harvest information is the dramatic increase in catch per unit effort (CPUE). In 2020, the CPUE was the highest ever seen in the fishery.”

In October 2020, the Division of Commercial Fisheries conducted its annual PWS shrimp survey. The survey findings were positive and demonstrated that the PWS shrimp population continues to be productive.

“It is nice when a fishery independent survey confirms what was being reported by participants and provides an indicator that the Prince William Sound shrimp population still appears to be healthy for the upcoming season,” stated Area Management Biologist Jay Baumer.

The commercial shrimp fishery rotates every year between three defined locations in PWS. This season the commercial fishery will be harvesting in Area 3 which is generally the southwest side of PWS. For additional information about the commercial shrimp fishery for the PWS area, please see the commercial fisheries advisory announcement.

The PWS shrimp permits will be available online by mid-March. All fishery participants are required to have a permit with them while shrimping. In addition, all permit harvest reports are due by Friday, October 15, 2021, regardless of whether you went shrimping or not. Participants may report their harvest online at any time, whether you have completed shrimping for the season or not. The total season’s harvest, by individual set, must be reported by the due date. Be sure to review the details on your permit. Participants who report online with a valid email address will receive an emailed confirmation that their harvest report has been submitted.

For additional information about the PWS sport shrimp pot fishery, please contact Area Management Biologist Jay Baumer in Anchorage at (907) 267-2265. For additional information about the PWS subsistence and commercial shrimp pot fisheries, please contact Area Management Biologist Jan Rumble in Homer at (907) 235-8191.