Board of Fish meets in Anchorage

The Alaska Board of Fisheries is holding a meeting for state-wide Dungeness crab, shrimp and other miscellaneous shellfish next week, from March 6 through 9 at the Egan Center in Anchorage.

Among the proposals are some related to Cook Inlet, including efforts by ADF&G to repeal the personal use regulations on taking of clams, since they are identical to sport regulations, and another allowing scallops drug commercially in Kamishak Bay to be delivered live.

That proposal, submitted by permit holder Thorne Tasker, states that vessels would still be required to follow guidelines requiring 100 top valves of the scallop to be selected randomly from each trip or during each five-day fishing period to be used to calibrate the scale to estimate poundage of the meat offloaded in Homer.

“From our market research we have found that live scallops command a much higher value than shucked meat alone. By following this proposal there will be the same number of scallops landed but an attempt to get the most revenue out of a limited resource. The scallops can then be held in an on land holding facility while awaiting to be packed and shipped to the market place,” Tasker wrote.

Other proposals include establishing a pot limit in the Dungeness crab fishery on the Alaska Peninsula in an effort to discourage over-capitalization.

The proposal, submitted by Kiley Thompson, suggests that vessels under 40 feet be limited to 50 pots; vessels 40 to 50 feet be allowed 75 pots, and vessels over 50 feet be capped at 100 pots.

“More vessels are considering entering the fishery,” Thompson writes, “without a pot limit (the fishery) will surely collapse.”

ADF&G proposes having all Dungeness gear removed from the water at least every 14 days, or else have bait jars removed and doors firmly tied open in the same area.

“Dungeness crab fisheries in Registration Area J are open-access fisheries and there are no limits on the amount of pot gear that can be operated by a vessel. Pots that are not regularly lifted, inspected and maintained have a greater likelihood of becoming lost or irretrievable. Lost or irretrievable pots may increase Dungeness, Tanner and king crab mortality through ghost fishing and increase gear conflicts with other fisheries that occur after Dungeness closes,” the Department writes.

For a full list of proposals, visit www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.main.

Cristy Fry can be reached at realist468@gmail.com.

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Willy Dunne is a member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. (Courtesy photo)
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