Alaska Board of Fisheries

Alaska Department of Fish and Game and The Alaska Board of Fisheries

The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) is charged with regulatory and allocative authority of state fisheries, while the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) manages the fisheries. The Alaska Constitution mandates fishery resources be developed and maintained under the principle of sustained yields.  For salmon management, policies and programs promote the sustainability of stocks that are wild, abundant, and healthy.  Allocation of yields between users groups is the responsibility of the BOF.

Working through the public process, management policies such as the Sustainable Salmon Fisheries Policy, the Wild Trout Policy and other vital fishery conservation policies define fish habitat protection and sustainable levels of use of salmon resources, with priority given to protection of wild stocks.

The BOF reviews regional fisheries plans on a three-year cycle, with authority to act more quickly in emergency situations. ADFG management is based on the in-season abundance of salmon stocks to maintain adequate spawning escapements, with authority to open and close fisheries as needed.  Strong returns allow managers to liberalize harvests, while poor returns oblige managers to close harvests to provide for escapement needs crucial for long-term sustainable yields.

 

2017-18 Southeast & Yakutat Sport Fish Proposals

The BOF will be meeting January 11-23, 2018, in Sitka’s Centennial Hall to review proposals for Southeast and Yakutat Finfish and shellfish.  Below are the sportfish proposals up for review; this list may change based on the BOF Work Session taking place in Anchorage October 17-19, 2017.  The proposals below will be updated to reflect ADFG’s positions once those are released to the public.  For more details on the meeting and proposals, visit the BOF website here.

In addition to considering the proposals laid out below, the Board will be addressing the ADFG recommendations for listing four stocks of management concern in Southeast. These four stocks are: Chilkat River Chinook, King Salmon River Chinook, Unuk River Chinook, and McDonald Lake sockeye.

Over the first few years when a stock’s escapement drops below average, ADFG will implement fishery restrictions to increase productivity. If escapement goals still aren’t met despite restrictions and closures, ADFG will consider a stock of concern status. A stock of management concern is one which is chronically unable to maintain its escapement goals, despite implementing restrictive management measures. Whether a stock is chronically unable to meet its escapement goals is typically determined by the most recent five to six years of stock assessments. ADFG recognizes that poor marine survival has recently become a crucial factor for Southeast king salmon productivity.

  • The Chilkat River Chinook have an escapement range of 1,750-3,500 fish, and have not met the lower end of this goal five of the last six years. 2016 and 2017 were the lowest recorded returns since 1991, despite restrictions on Haines-area direct sport and commercial troll fishing, as well as restrictions on nearby fisheries where Chilkat Chinooks are caught incidentally.
  • The King Salmon River Chinook, found around Admiralty Island south of Juneau, have an escapement range of 120-240 large fish which has not been met four of the last five years. Though there is not a directed fishery for this stock, they are caught incidentally in nearby fisheries and management restrictions for the Haines and Juneau area are thought to be protective of the stock.
  • The Unuk River, north of Ketchikan, supported a Chinook stock with an escapement goal between 1,800-3,800 for 35 years, but has not met this goal for five of the last six years, despite implementation of restrictive measures in the Ketchikan-area since 2014.
  • McDonald Lake sockeye, also north of Ketchikan, were designated as a stock of concern in 2009 after failing to meet an escapement goal of 55,000-120,000, then removed from the list in 2012 after meeting this goal for three years. The stock is harvested incidentally in all southern Southeast commercial salmon net fisheries, and has not met its escapement goal for four of the last five years.
Proposal No. Proposed Action & Rationale Reg. Section Proposed by:
57

58

Action: Close waters around Klawock to sport fishing for Dungeness crab

Rationale: Depletion of subsistence crab opportunity and no Local Area Management Plan

5 AAC 47.021 Klawock Tribe

Personal

59 Action: Close Yakutat area Dungeness crab sport fishery

Rationale: Closed annually by Emergency Order since 2005

5 AAC 47.021 ADFG
60 Action: Establish guided sport ecotourism (viewing only) for Dungeness crab in Sitka Sound New section Personal
77 Action: Amend methods and means for sport harvest of shellfish in Southeast and allow take by hook and line in addition to other gear specified

Rationale: Eliminate redundancy and add detail

5 AAC 47.035 ADFG
116 Action: Establish a regional sablefish nonresident limit of 4 daily, 4 in possession, and 8 fish annual limit, as well as require a harvest record for the species

Rationale: Recent increase in sport fishing pressure, specifically 2010 estimated harvest of 4,793 increasing to the 2015 estimate of 13,338 fish – the stock is stable, but at a historic low abundance

5 AAC 47.020 Personal
125 Action: Repeal mandatory retention requirements for nonpelagic rockfish

Rationale: Better to release very small or non-target fish so they can survive

5 AAC 47.065 Personal
126 Action: Require all anglers release nonpelagic rockfish at depth with deep water release mechanisms 5 AAC 47.030 Personal
127 Action: Set provisions for reducing resident pelagic rockfish bag limit in Central Southeast Outside by refraining from sport reduction below 5 fish per day unless the residential share of sport pelagic harvest exceeded 50% for two consecutive year

Rationale: Action intended to distinguish between charter and non-charter anglers in response to 2016/17 reduction in all sport catch from 5 fish to 3 per day, despite non-charter anglers’ decrease in catch from 2007-15

5 AAC 47.021

47.020(8)(A)

Personal
128 Action: Reduce pelagic rockfish limits in Sitka Area to 3 fish and 6 in possession, no size limit

Rationale: Respond to the three-fold increase in sport catch and gradual decline in average weight

5 AAC 47.021(g) ADFG
132 Action: Amend sport king salmon restrictions for Lynn Canal & Chilkat River FMP inside the surfline from April 15-June 30 when preseason projects of run strength falls within certain pre-established ranges

–          Upper 1/3 of escapement range: Taku Inlet north of Cooper Point closed to king fishing April 15 through June 15. Waters of Lynn Canal above latitude of Eldred Rock closed to king fishing. Maximum limit two (2) king salmon per day

–          Middle 1/3: Taku Inlet and waters from Limestone Inlet to a line from Pt Louisa to Symonds Point closed to king fishing April 15 through June 15. Waters of district 15 that are open to sport fishing, maximum limit one (1) king salmon per day.

–          Lower 1/3: all waters of district 11 and 15 closed to king salmon fishing. Waters of district 12 and 14 open to sport fishing, maximum limit of one (1) king salmon/day.

Rationale: Projections and current stock information put the population at an all-time low, maintenance requires adequate annual escapement into the Taku and Chilkat.

Similar proposals submitted by this individual for troll & gillnet fleets

5 AAC 47.021

5 AAC 33.384

Personal
134 Action: Close the spring commercial salmon troll fishery to chinook when the Juneau sport fishery is closed to chinook

(To affect: Districts 9, 12, and 14 between April 15 – June 15)

5 AAC 29.090 Territorial Sportsmen
136 Action: Extend the area closed to sport fishing downstream and upstream of the Situk River weir to 300 yards during June and July, reverting to 100 yards if the adult chinook count reaches minimum escapement goals 5 AAC 47.023 Yakutat Fish & Game Advisory Committee
137 Action: Increase the residential king salmon possession limit to 6 fish over 28 inches when the preseason abundance index is greater than 2.0 5 AAC 47.055 Personal
138 Action: Clarify in regulation whether ADFG allows the retention of other salmon or rockfish while fishing for kings with two rods, propose allowing retention of other salmon 5 AAC 47.055 Personal
147 Action: Amend Mist Cove salmon closure to allow taking salmon with fly fishing gear and prohibit snagging

Rationale: The closure was intended to prevent damage to net pens and provide safety for site crew and fly fishing gear does not cause damage or safety issues

5 AAC 47.021 Personal
148 Action: Expand the Herring Bay Sportfish Terminal Harvest Area by opening a sub-area to Ketchikan STHA for additional sport fishing for hatchery-produced king salmon with a 2-fish daily bag limit that does not count against anglers annual limit

Rationale: Alleviate inequities between inside and outside port fisheries earlier in the season

5 AAC 33.369 Personal
151 Action: Recreate a terminal harvest area and mgmt. plan for Carroll Inlet to distribute hatchery produced king salmon in the area between purse seine, troll, and drift gillnet fleets

Rationale: Thoroughly discussed by the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association Board of Directors, with alternatives and changes to reflect consensus between the various affected groups

New section: 5 AAC 33.xxx SSRAA
195 Action: Establish non-resident annual limits for sockeye salmon in Southeast salt waters to be twice the daily bag limit

Rationale: Claims abuses to sport fish bag and possession limit by nonresident anglers and that the mail-out sport harvest survey is inadequate to account for catch

5 AAC 47.020(2) SE Subsistence Regional Advisory Council
196 Action: Establish nonresident annual limit for sockeye salmon in Southeast fresh waters to be twice the daily bag limit

Rationale: Claims abuses to sportfish bag and possession limits and that the mail-out harvest survey is inadequate to account for catch

5 AAC 47.022(b)(2) SE Subsistence Regional Advisory Council
197 Action: Simplify current freshwater sport regulations for king salmon in freshwater drainages of Sitka Sound Special Use Area; bag and possession limit proposed as 10 fish, no size limit, and a king taken by a nonresident does not count towards nonresident annual limit

Rationale: No wild stocks present

5 AAC 47.023(g)(10) ADFG
198 Action: Amend the open season for Dolly Varden in Auke Bay to change dates from June 1 – March 31 to July 1 – April 30, to allow May and June fishing

Rationale: Healthy population with little fishing pressure

5 AAC 47.021 Personal
199 Action: Increase the bag limit for Dolly Varden on the Juneau road system to 4 fish

Rationale: There is a 10 per day and 10 in possession limit in most other locations in Southeast, so roadside anglers can usually see boats with those limits nearby; proposer could not find rationale for roadside limit anywhere

5 AAC 47.023€(1)(A)(v) Personal
200 Action: Prohibit snagging in all salt and freshwaters along the Juneau road system with minor exceptions in approved areas when hatchery fish abundance is strong

Rationale: Growing concern of user group conflict between sport groups

5 AAC 47.021 Personal
201 Action: Make Dredge Lake area catch-and-release only 5 AAC 47.023 Personal
202 Action: Allow only single, barbless hooks on artificial lures in Dredge Lake area Personal
203 Action: Rescind salmon sport fishing closure in Sheep Creek

Rationale: no longer necessary

5 AAC 47.023(e)(1)(J) ADFG
204 Action: amend sockeye salmon management measures in Windfall Creek so that if escapement goals are reached, ADFG has a harvest tag system to allow annual catch taken in single day; propose closure June 1-August 1, with Tues-Thursday/Sat-Sun exceptions in June

Rationale: seeing excessive crowding on the open days right now

5 AAC 47.023 Personal
205 Action: Prohibit multiple and barbed hooks in the Tsiu River drainage 5 AAC 47.023 Personal

Issue Affecting You

It is important for charter and lodge owners, our clients, our supporters and the communities our fishing dollars support be aware of the actions being proposed at the Alaska Board of Fish and to TAKE ACTION when necessary. Check back here to follow the happenings at the Alaska Board of Fish and for opportunities to get involved by writing letters or testifying.