(Anchorage) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is reducing the number of pots allowed to be used per person and per vessel in the 2022 Prince William Sound (PWS) noncommercial (sport and subsistence) shrimp pot fishery. This regulatory restriction is effective from 12:01 a.m. Friday, April 15 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, September 15, 2022, with no bag limit.
The pot limit per person and per vessel has been reduced to three pots; however, of those three pots only two pots can be set in areas of historical high effort including areas near the Port of Valdez, near the Port of Whittier, and in portions of Port Wells and Culross Passage (see map below). These areas of historically high effort make up the majority of the harvest in PWS and in these areas’ pots will be limited to only two pots per person and per vessel. Shrimpers that want to use three pots will have to travel further from the two roadside ports in PWS (Valdez and Whittier; see map below). A map will also be provided with each permit for shrimpers to reference. Additionally, spare pots may be carried on board a vessel participating in the noncommercial fishery. The noncommercial shrimp pot fishery is allocated 60% of the total allowable harvest limit while the commercial shrimp pot fishery receives 40%. In 2021, with a noncommercial guideline harvest level (GHL) of 104,978 pounds, the pot limit was reduced to two pots for the entire season and the estimated harvest was 87,005 pounds of shrimp. The noncommercial fishery harvest was 17,973 pounds below the GHL. In 2022, the noncommercial GHL is 100,300 pounds of shrimp.
“Noncommercial shrimpers that want to stay near Whittier and Valdez area’s will only be able to shrimp with two pots in that area and if they want to put out a third pot, they will have to travel outside of those areas to do so. Enforcement is aware of the regulation change and will be actively checking gear to make sure shrimpers are following these regulations. Noncommercial shrimping regulations this season are going to be a little more complex and shrimpers are going to need to pay close attention to where they are shrimping. This harvest management strategy is driven by shrimp harvest report data and will provide additional opportunities in areas where there is currently less harvest. This will also allow the fishery to get closer to the established GHL. Management actions like this are only possible with shrimpers reporting, so thank you to all those people that report their shrimp harvests on time,” stated the Sport Fish Area Manager Jay Baumer.
The PWS noncommercial shrimp permits will be available online in early April. All fishery participants are required to have a permit with them while shrimping. In addition, all permit harvest reports are due by Saturday, October 15, 2022, regardless of whether you went shrimping or not. Participants may report their harvest online at any time, whether they have completed shrimping for the season or not. The total season’s harvest, by individual set, must be reported by the due date. Please look closely at the permit for additional details about pot limits and areas where only two pots are allowed.
The commercial shrimp fishery rotates every year between three defined locations in PWS. This season this commercial fishery will be harvesting in Area 1 which is in the northern area of PWS and includes popular locations such as Unakwik Inlet and Wells Bay. For additional information about the commercial shrimp fishery for the PWS area, please see the commercial fisheries advisory announcements page.
If you would like to learn more about PWS shrimp fisheries, PWS shrimp management will be discussed at the Cook Inlet, Kodiak, Westward, Arctic Shellfish, and Shellfish General Provisions, and Prince William Sound Shrimp Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) meeting at the Egan Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage on March 26 through April 2, 2022. You can participate in person or listen online. The agenda, proposals, and staff comments are available online. Check out the BOF website for more details about the meeting.
For additional information about the PWS sport shrimp pot fishery, please contact Area Management Biologist Jay Baumer in Anchorage at (907) 267-2265. For additional information about the PWS subsistence and commercial shrimp pot fisheries, please contact Area Management Biologist Jan Rumble in Homer at (907) 235-8191.