2014 Groundfish Bycatch Regulations in the Commercial Halibut Fishery Applicable in State Water

Sitka…The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) announced today the following information concerning regulations that apply during the 2014 Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) commercial halibut fishery. This news release details bycatch regulations and allowances for state waters of Southeast Alaska, east of 144° W. longitude. The IFQ halibut fishery opens at 12:00 noon, March 8 and closes at 12:00 noon, November 7, 2014.

Rockfish Possession and Landing Requirements (5 AAC 28.171)
A vessel or Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) interim use permit holder fishing for groundfish or halibut must retain, weigh, and report all demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) and black rockfish taken. The DSR assemblage includes yelloweye, quillback, canary, copper, tiger, china, and rosethorn rockfish.

In the Northern Southeast Inside (NSEI) and Southern Southeast Inside (SSEI) Subdistricts only, a vessel or CFEC permit holder fishing for groundfish or halibut must retain, weigh, and report all rockfish species (excluding thornyheads) taken.

All rockfish retained in excess of allowable bycatch limits shall be reported as bycatch overage on an ADF&G fish ticket. All proceeds from the sale of excess rockfish bycatch shall be surrendered to the state. Excess rockfish retained due to full-retention requirements may be kept for a person’s own use however; the pounds must be documented as overage on the fish ticket.

Federal Demersal Shelf Rockfish Landing Requirements:
Fishermen are reminded that full retention of demersal shelf rockfish is also required in federal waters east of 140° W. longitude (Southeast Outside District). DSR taken in federal waters must be reported on an ADF&G fish ticket and DSR in excess of bycatch allowances must be reported as bycatch overage. DSR overage from federal waters may be retained for personal use or donated but cannot be sold or enter commerce. Full-retention regulations for DSR do not apply in federal waters of the Icy Bay Subdistrict (IBS).

Lingcod bycatch in the halibut longline fishery is allocated by management area. Lingcod management areas include IBS, East Yakutat (EYKT) Section, Northern Southeast Outside (NSEO) Section, Central Southeast Outside (CSEO) Section, Southern Southeast Outer Coast (SSEOC) Sector, Northern Southeast Inside (NSEI) Subdistrict, and Southern Southeast Internal Waters (SSEIW) Sector (Figure 1). The 2014 SSEIW lingcod allocation has been taken and this area is closed to lingcod retention in longline fisheries for the remainder of the year. Lingcod catches will be closely monitored and fishermen are advised that additional closures may occur on short notice as allocations are taken. Closures will be announced by news release, the United States Coast Guard “Notice to Mariners” report and National Weather Service broadcast. For information on lingcod bycatch status and closures, contact the Sitka Area Office at 907-747-6688 or the Groundfish Hotline at 907-747-4882.

Groundfish Bycatch Limits for the IFQ Halibut Fishery in State Waters:
Percentage indicates amount that may be sold and is based on round weight of halibut and round weight of bycatch species.

Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR)
10%, Full retention required in all state waters internal and outside (0-3 miles)

Black, Blue and Dark Rockfish (State and Federal Waters)
15% in aggregate full retention required for black rockfish only in State outside waters (0-3 miles); and 15% in aggregate full retention (all species)  required in State internal waters (NSEI/SSEI)

All Other Rockfish and Thornyheads
5% in aggregate State Outside waters; and 5% in aggregate, full retention required for all rockfish except thornyheads in State Internal waters (NSEI/SSEI)

Lingcod –  Longline Fishery
5% (IBS)
0% (SSEIW), no retention
Minimum size limit 27″ (tip of snout to tip of tail)

Pacific Cod
20% State Outside and Internal Waters

Spiny Dogfish - Longline Fishery
35% State Outside and Internal Waters

Sablefish – 0% retention

Other Groundfish – 20% in aggregate

For Jig fishery see ADF&G news release Feb 6, 2014.
For information on the halibut fishery bycatch allowances in federal waters refer to: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries_reports/reports/details/?report_id=386
and http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/rr/tables/tabl10.pdf or
5804 (Ketchikan).

Harvest of bait by commercial permit holders in the state waters of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska:
A CFEC interim use permit holder may take groundfish in waters of Alaska, for use as bait in waters of Alaska, in the commercial fishery for which the permit is held. A person who takes groundfish for bait during a fishing trip and uses the bait during that trip, must report the bait taken by species and estimated weight on the fish ticket prepared for that fishing trip. Groundfish harvested for bait shall be reported on the fish ticket using fish ticket delivery code 92. Sablefish, lingcod, thornyhead, shortraker, rougheye, and yelloweye rockfish may not be taken for bait or used for bait (5AAC 28.190).

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