Board of Fish Groundfish Regulation Changes Takes Effect May 31st

Sitka… The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that the new groundfish regulationsapproved by the Board of Fish in February will go into effect on May 31. The new regulation bookletsshould be available by the middle of June. Following is a summary of the new regulations.

LINGCOD

5AAC 28.173(a)(1) The allowable bycatch of lingcod taken by halibut fishermen using longline gear will now be set by emergency order. Prior regulation established a 10% bycatch of lingcod in the Icy Bay Subdistrict and 5% bycatch in the remaining waters of Southeast. With this new regulation, the department has the ability to set the appropriate bycatch percentage to achieve the harvest allocation of lingcod in each management area. Effective May 31, lingcod bycatch allowances for the halibut longline fishery are as follows:

Icy Bay Subdistrict (IBS)- 10%

East Yakutat Section (EYKT)- 10%

Northern Southeast Outside Section (NSEO)- 10%

Central Southeast Outside Section (CSEO)- 15%

Southern Southeast Outer Coast Sector (SSEOC)- 10%

Northern Southeast Inside Subdistrict (NSEI)- 5%

Southern Southeast Internal Waters Sector (SSEIW)- 5%

Fishermen are reminded that lingcod are managed by area and area closures will occur as allocations are taken. Closures will be announced by news release as well as the Coast Guard “Notice to Mariners” report and the National Weather Service broadcast. Updates of area closures will also be available on the Groundfish Hotline at 747-4882.

DEMERSAL SHELF ROCKFISH

5AAC 28.160(c)(1)(A) In the Southeast Outside Subdistrict, the annual allowable catch of DSR is  calculated based on the federal total allowable catch (TAC) of DSR with 84 percent allocated to commercial fisheries and 16 percent allocated to the sport fisheries, after the estimated subsistence harvest has been subtracted from the TAC. Prior to the new regulation, the estimated subsistence harvest was deducted from the commercial allocation after the 84/16 split was computed.  5AAC 28.171(a) The allowable bycatch of DSR in commercial fisheries will be set at 10% of the target  species on board unless the department sets a different bycatch percentage in an emergency order. The prior regulation set a maximum of 10% bycatch of DSR for most fisheries. This new regulation gives the department the ability to set the appropriate bycatch percentage to achieve the harvest allocation of DSR. Effective May 31 the DSR bycatch allowance for commercial groundfish, halibut, and troll fisheries is increased to 15% of the target species on board the vessel, except the DSR bycatch allowances will remain at 1% for sablefish fisheries and 0% in fisheries operating pot gear.

The new regulation also clarifies that the DSR full retention and reporting requirements apply only to permit holders fishing for groundfish or halibut. Permit holders fishing for salmon are exempt from full retention requirements.

BLACK ROCKFISH

5AAC 28.150(e) The prohibition on selling black rockfish taken as bycatch in the closure areas listed in  this regulation has been repealed. Black rockfish taken as bycatch in Sitka Sound and the four other black rockfish closure areas located in NSEO, CSEO, and SSEOC may now be sold, up to the allowable bycatch limit. Directed fishing for black rockfish is still prohibited in these areas.

LOGBOOK REQUIREMENTS

5AAC 28.175(b)(1) The latitude and longitude for start and ending positions must now be reported in degrees and decimal minutes for each set in a longline logbook. This new regulation specifies that the location is recorded in a particular format. Additional information on Southeast Regional Groundfish Fisheries can be found on our web site at:

http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/region1/finfish/grndfish/grndhom1.php

 

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