Two Southeast Alaska Areas Remain Closed To Sport And Personal-Use Shrimp Fishing
The following press releases are courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
JUNEAU AREA SECTION 11-A REMAINS CLOSED TO SPORT AND PERSONAL USE SHRIMP POT FISHING IN 2023
(Juneau) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that the sport and personal use (PU) shrimp pot fisheries in the Juneau area will remain closed until further notice. The closed area consists of all marine waters of Section 11-A (see attached map) 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 the Coast Guard marker and light on Point Arden 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 to Point Retreat Light.
Due to declining commercial fishery catch per unit of effort (CPUE) indicating low spot shrimp abundance in Section 11-A, the commercial, sport, and personal use fisheries were closed July 1, 2013, to allow the shrimp population in this area to rebuild. Creel census data from 2003–2007 indicated that the PU/sport fishery harvests were approximately equal to commercial harvests during this time. Therefore, closure of all shrimp pot fisheries that harvest spot shrimp in this area are necessary to rebuild the population.
The intention of these closures is to allow spot shrimp abundance to rebound to a sustainable level. The Section 11-A personal use and sport shrimp pot fisheries will remain closed until survey data indicates the spot shrimp population can support directed harvests. The department has conducted four surveys of the area from 2017–2021 to gather data on spot shrimp population size and structure, and results of these surveys indicate a continued decline in spot shrimp abundance and a lack of replacement of large size shrimp by small size shrimp. The department will continue to survey Section 11-A in future years and will be prepared to react if the spot shrimp population recovers to sufficient levels to sustain fisheries.
Sport and personal use shrimp pot fishing closed (dark shaded area) in Juneau Section 11-A for 2023.
HOONAH SOUND SUBSISTENCE AND SPORT SHRIMP FISHERIES REMAIN CLOSED
(Sitka) – Subsistence and sport shrimp fisheries in the Hoonah Sound portion of Section 13-C will remain closed north and west of a line from 57°35.07? N. lat., 135°33.57? W. long. to 57°37.89? N. lat., 135°28.65? W. long., from 12:01 a.m. Sunday, January 1 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, December 31, 2023 (Figure 1).
The Section 13-C spot shrimp survey has been conducted annually by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game from 1999 through 2014 and from 2017 through 2022. From 1999–2014 the spot shrimp population in Hoonah Sound was considered healthy and relatively stable based on survey data and commercial fishing harvests. Beginning in 2015, commercial spot shrimp harvest data indicated declining stock health. Spot shrimp surveys conducted in Hoonah Sound from 2017–2022 have shown a continued decline in the numbers and the catch rates of younger, small spot shrimp. The catch rate of large spot shrimp in 2022 has also declined when compared to the previous two surveys.
The subsistence and sport shrimp fisheries have been closed in Hoonah Sound since March of 2020. Additionally, the commercial pot shrimp fishery in Section 13-C will be closed through the remainder of the 2022/23 season. The continued closures of these shrimp fisheries are warranted to protect the younger age classes and the older female spot shrimp to aid in the recovery of the stock.
Figure 1: Subsistence and sport shrimp fishing closed (crosshatched area) in Sitka Section 13-C for 2023.