The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
SECTION 11-A AND TENAKEE INLET PERSONAL USE AND SPORT SHRIMP POT FISHERIES REMAIN CLOSED
Personal use and sport shrimp pot fisheries in Section 11-A and Tenakee Inlet will remain closed from 12:01 a.m. Monday, January 1 through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, December 31, 2024. Section 11-A includes all marine waters north and west of a line extending from a regulatory marker near Point Bishop at 58°12.32? N lat, 134°10.14? W long to Point Arden Light at 58°09.55? N lat, 134°10.68? W long, south of the latitude of Little Island Light at 58°32.41? N lat, and east of a line from Little Island Light at 58°32.41? N lat, 135°02.83? W long to Point Retreat Light at 58°24.69? N lat, 134°57.31? W long. All marine waters of Tenakee Inlet will be closed west of the longitude of Corner Point at 135°06.50? W long (Figure 1).
Decreases in spot shrimp abundance observed in department shrimp pot survey catch per unit effort (CPUE) data, commercial shrimp pot fishery CPUE data, or both, have instigated closures of shrimp pot fisheries in Section 11-A and Tenakee Inlet. Section 11-A was closed to commercial, personal use, and sport shrimp pot fisheries in July of 2013 due to declining commercial fishery CPUE. Historical creel census data indicated that annual personal use/sport fishery harvests were of similar magnitude as the commercial harvests warranting closures in all fisheries. The department conducted four surveys of Section 11-A from 2018–2021 to gather data on spot shrimp population size and structure, and the results indicated a decline in spot shrimp abundance and a lack of recruitment to replace large size shrimp.
The Tenakee Inlet spot shrimp stock has been annually surveyed by the department since 2000. Based on a substantial decrease in survey CPUE observed in 2011, the commercial shrimp pot fishery was closed and remained closed for seven seasons (2011/12 – 2016/17). Personal use and sport shrimp pot fisheries were closed in 2012 and remained closed for five years until they were reopened in December of 2017 after five years of increasing survey CPUE. Limited, two-day commercial shrimp pot fisheries occurred in October of 2018–2020, and a similar opening was scheduled to occur in 2021 but was canceled due to declining survey CPUE and a lack of small shrimp recruiting into the population. The 2022 and 2023 surveys showed substantial declines in CPUE of all size classes of shrimp to the lowest levels on record, likely due to decrease in abundance of recruits and prerecruits in previous years.
The intention of these closures is to allow spot shrimp abundance to rebuild to levels that would allow sustainable harvest. Section 11-A and Tenakee Inlet shrimp pot fisheries will remain closed until survey data indicates the spot shrimp population can support directed harvests. Tenakee Inlet will continue to be surveyed annually, and surveys will resume in Section 11-A in the fall of 2024.