Harvesting Gulf of Alaska groundfish
Management of our Fishery
Read about the Rockfish Program...a successful trawl Catch Share Program currently operating in Kodiak, AK
The Gulf of Alaska trawl fishery is managed by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, one of eight federal agencies established to manage the nation's fisheries.
Our fleet uses a self-management style to work through each season. The group of trawl fishermen who fish the Central Gulf come together to discuss price, best time to fish, where to fish, and at least once a year, they sign-on to a catch share agreement to split up the available target catch.
Each new season brings a new price; what was paid for cod or pollock the previous season is not necessarily what will be paid in the current season. This is due to market fluctuations and availability. It is not uncommon for our fleet to "stand down" for a better price.
Our fishing seasons fall into different times of year, determined by law, not by nature. Often, the fish have not "schooled up" in a way that we are able to target them or they are aggregating in a different area than usual. There are also times of year when the other fisheries, salmon for instance, are keeping the canneries busy. It is during these times that we hold off on the start of our season.
Towards the end of the year, when the canneries have slowed down and we have caught most of our target amount or are coming close to exhausting our allowable PSC, the fleet elects to sign-on to a catch share agreement. We take our allowable catch and divide it amongst ourselves, based on nothing more than a gentleman's agreement. We have successfully done this for many years. There are two main reasons for this; it allows us to slow down and catch all of our targeted species without going over our allowable PSC, and it spreads out the deliveries of fish over time, keeping the canneries working longer in the year.