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Community Perception and Recommendations on the Use of Pot Fishing Gear in the Gulf of Alaska Sablefish Fishery

Abstract

The Gulf of Alaska sablefish fishery experiences significant whale depredation due to its recovering whale stocks and a longer fishing season as a result of the individual fishing quota (IFQ) system. In response, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has amended the North Pacific Groundfish Fishery Management Plan to allow the use of pot fishing gear in addition to longline gear starting in the 2017 fishing season. Through a series of interviews and surveys with stakeholders of the fishery, this project sought to gauge community reception of the amendment, as well as to identify any unforeseen consequences and recommend potential solutions. A survey of those involved in the community was conducted; 43 written surveys were distributed with a total of 18 responses. Twelve of these responses were longline fishermen, 5 were pot fishermen, and 1 was a longliner. The fishing community was found to

be generally supportive of the amendment but recommended some improvements, such as limiting soak time and improving gear location techniques. Recommendations for the fishery include improvement of depredation quantification techniques and increased fisherman involvement in policy decisions.

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