PWS cod seasons: a closure and an opener

The parallel Pacific cod season for pot gear and the state waters seasons for longline and jig gear ends at midnight Dec. 31 and the parallel P-cod season opens immediately on Jan. 1 to vessels using pot, jig and longline gear.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials are reminding harvesters that all fish must be landed within 24 hours following closure of the 2018 season and prior to participating in the 2019 season.

The Prince William Sound parallel Pacific cod season closures for jig and pot gear coincide with their respective closures in the adjacent federal Central Gulf of Alaska regulator area, and the PWS parallel season closure for longline gear likewise coincides with the federal closure of the less than 50-foot hook and line gear sector in the Central Gulf.

Registration for the PWS parallel P-cod season must be completed before fishing commences, and participants using pot or longline gear in the parallel P-cod fisheries must have a functioning National Marine Fisheries Service approved vessel monitoring system as described in regulations and adhere to federal seabird avoidance measures required in all longline fisheries for groundfish in the outside district of PWS.

Further information is available online at alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/cwm, and alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/pr/seabird-avoidance-gear.

State fisheries biologists are also reminding harvesters that vessel operators participating in directed halibut and/or parallel groundfish fisheries inside state waters should be familiar with the North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer program. More information is online at fakr.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/observers/ or by contacting the NMFS Sustainable Fisheries Division in Juneau at 907-586-7228.

State biologists are also advising harvesters to keep in mind that directed fishing for all groundfish species is closed in waters within three nautical miles of two Steller sea lion rookeries within PWS and certain waters are also closed to fishing with groundfish pot gear.