The seven-member Fish Board sets management policy for commercial, sport, charter and subsistence fisheries under state jurisdiction. It has the power to set harvest levels, quotas and bag limits, and can determine the methods used for fishing in state waters.
In the January meeting, the board agreed with a proposal from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to set a daily limit of five black rockfish caught and 10 in possession — half the previous limit. The daily limit includes two non-pelagic and one yellow eye rockfish.
Trevor Brown, executive director of the Kodiak Chamber Commerce, is attending this week’s meeting in Anchorage on behalf of the Kodiak borough and city governments. He said only Fish Board member Sue Jeffrey voted in favor of reconsidering the rockfish bag limits.
The other members of the board cited a lack of scientific proof in not reconsidering the limit, Brown said.
Jeffrey, from Kodiak, was appointed by Gov. Sean Parnell to the Board of Fisheries and officially became a member in July. She replaced another Kodiak board member, Mel Morris.
The agenda change request was spearheaded by the Kodiak Association of Charter Operators, who argued in their application that the new bag limit for black rockfish had been applied area-wide instead of just to the area of concern, Chiniak Bay.
Fisheries throughout the state are considered on a three-year cycle by the board, and the request would have put the black rockfish bag limit on the agenda before it would typically be re-examined.
Chris Fiala, treasurer of the Kodiak Association of Charter Operators, said an earlier compromise to have a five-rockfish bag limit inside Chiniak Bay and seven-fish bag limit outside the area had been favored by both the Kodiak Fisheries Advisory Committee and a subcommittee of the Fish Board. However, that was not the final decision of the board in January.
Increasing black rockfish harvest has come as the species has gained favor with sport fishermen, leading to more local charter operators retaining it.
The Board of Fisheries meeting officially opens today and will run until Monday, with several other regulatory proposals for commercial fishing of Pacific cod in Kodiak waters under consideration. Among them are:
• Developing regulations to coordinate state and federal Pacific cod fisheries;
• Addressing harvest overage in the state-waters Pacific cod pot fishery;
• Allowing only jig gear onboard a registered state-waters Pacific cod jig vessel;
• Capping jig vessels 58 feet and larger to 10 percent of the state-waters Pacific cod jig allocation;
• Capping jig vessels longer than 58 feet to 25 percent of the state-wasters Pacific cod jig allocation.
Contact Mirror writer Wes Hanna at email@example.com.