Alaska bans rockfish from commercial and personal fishing

SITKA, Alaska — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has announced a full-year closure of both commercial and personal fishing of two varieties of rockfish.

The moratorium is the result of a 60% decrease in rockfish biomass since assessments began in 1994, The Daily Sitka Sentinel reported Tuesday.

Demersal shelf rockfish and yelloweye rockfish fisheries in southeast Alaska are included in the ban, the fish and game department said.

The rockfish decrease occurred despite conservative management practices over the past decade, the department said.

In addition to the decline in the number of rockfish, annual biological data reveal the reproductive potential of the species has been reduced.

The yelloweye rockfish comprises more than 95% of the commercial and sport harvest and is the primary target compared to six other species, including quillback, copper, rosethorn, canary, China and tiger rockfish.

The department encouraged individual, personal-use fishermen to use rockfish deepwater release devices to decrease the mortality rate of yelloweye while fishing for other species.

The Associated Press