March 7, 2017
More Alaska fisheries get underway in March, joining many others that have been underway since the start of the year. Throughout the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, trawlers, pot gear, jig and hook and line boats are targeting cod fish, pollock, rockfish, flounders and more.
Pollock reopens in the Gulf for trawl gear on March 10.
In Southeast Alaska, the golden king crab fishery closes for all regions on March 8 with a catch that is likely less than the 105,000 pound limit. The Tanner crab fishery also is a wrap in the region.
It’s been slow going for Southeast’s winter troll fishery with just over 11,000 king salmon taken so far by about 260 fishermen. The fishery can remain open until the end of April.
The Bering Sea snow crab fishing is slow going with 85 percent of the 19 million pound catch taken. That leaves less than 3 million pounds to go.
The winter red king crab at Norton Sound wrapped up March 4 after about a month. The fishery has a 40,000 pound winter quota. A summer opener will produce a combined catch of nearly half a million pounds.
In the big sigh of relief category – the Pacific halibut fishery will open on schedule on Saturday, March 11. Donald Trump’s freeze on all new and pending regulations had threatened to delay the halibut opener. Alaska gets the lion’s share of the Pacific halibut catch – a 5.5 percent increase adds up to 22.6 million pounds, or an extra million pounds for commercial and sport users. Also a go – new regs allowing sablefish to be taken in the Gulf with pot gear to prevent whales from robbing the pricey fish from longline hooks.
The state’s first roe herring fishery will kick off when the fish arrive at Sitka Sound, usually in mid- to late March. The quota is 14,649 tons, similar to last year. Fishermen averaged $250 per ton for the Sitka herring and hopes are for at least that or more this season.
Finally, the state Board of Fisheries meets March 20–24 in Anchorage. The board will consider 38 king and Tanner crab, including reopening a Tanner fishery throughout Prince William Sound for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Find links to Alaska fish catches and more at www.alaskafishradio.com and on Facebook and Twitter. And check out our growing line up of pod casts!