The Alaska Board of Fisheries Saturday changed reporting requirements for shrimp pot fishermen in Southeast. All shrimp pot catcher-processor vessels in Registration Area A will have to submit a logbook to the Department of Fish and Game at the end of a shrimp fishery.
Updates to Fish and Game are also no longer required before noon on Wednesdays during the season. That will give the department the flexibility of setting appropriate dates for reporting, which could be more than once a week.
The proposal was made by the Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance. SEAFA Executive Director Kathy Hansen said industry representatives have come to an agreement with Department of Fish and Game staff.
“The reporting of all the catcher-processors of the logbook data is the critical piece that the fishermen have been asking for since the 2000-2001 Board of Fish meeting, and the critical piece we need to move forward to start looking more at this in-season model and how it might work,” Hansen said.
Some Southeast fishermen told the Board of Fisheries they are worried shrimp stocks will decline if management decisions are not made in-season.
Although the passing of this proposal does not guarantee in-season shrimp pot management, it gives the department more data to evaluate the fishery.
Department of Fish and Game biologist Troy Thynes said Districts 6 and 7 have an experimental shrimp pot fishery with logbook requirements and in-season management.
“Only three years into it, we don’t feel entirely comfortable that this is going to be a successful way to go, as far as adjusting our fisheries management approach to these pot shrimp fisheries,” Thynes said.
He said that is because there are 21 distinct pot shrimp fisheries in Southeast.
Wrangell fisherman Sylvia Ettefagh said the shrimp pot fishery is more complex, so she thinks guideline levels are not adequate for management.
“Because of all the effort that we as fishermen in District 7 have put in as catcher-processors, we’re concerned that if a good management plan isn’t expanded to the other districts, that in effect, what happens is we end up concentrating vessels throughout Area A into specific districts that are better managed. And so we have more effort and therefore shorter fisheries, as well,” Ettefagh said.
The Board of Fisheries completed its Southeast shellfish meeting in Wrangell Saturday.