Bristol Bay Drift Gillnet Vessels to Be Inspected For Length Restrictions

Image: Alaska State Troopers.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers (AWT) are giving advance notice to Bristol Bay commercial salmon drift gillnet permit holders that their vessels will be measured during the 2023 season to be sure that they adhere to the 32-foot overall length rule.

AWT noted in a Feb. 14 letter to the permit holders that some adaptations in equipment have occurred in the past few years to promote produce quality and overall safety within the fleet, but that other modifications had been made for operational performance.

The regulation limits gillnet vessels to 32 feet in overall length with few exceptions, they said. One exception is an anchor roller may extend no more than eight inches beyond the 32-foot overall length and may not be more than eight inches in width or height.

The regulation defines “overall length” as the straight-line measurement between the extremities of the vessel, but does not include fish drop-out baskets, anchor rollers, gillnet rollers, trim tabs, outdrives or outdrive guards. 

Current regulations approved by the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) provide for a fair and equitable playing field for all permit holders. Other adaptations beyond what is currently allowed needs to be proposed to the BOF through the proposal process and amended in regulation prior to implementation, they said.

AWT said that while many vessels are 32 feet in overall length, they have noted multiple items that have been modified, added to or repositioned on vessels that extend beyond 32 feet and are not allowed by regulation.

They include anchor rollers, gillnet roller structures or mounts and outdrive mounts that exceed the allowable length, modified fish drop-out baskets, outdrive guards built with large diameter sealed aluminum tubing and modified trim tabs that act as extension of the hull. 

Also unauthorized are miscellaneous items like refrigerated seawater systems, washdown systems, transducers, exhaust, ladders, platforms, and other items that have been located aft of the transom are not authorized to be beyond the 32-foot length. 

Those with questions about their vessel are urged to call the Alaska Wildlife Trooper Post in King Salmon at (907) 246-3307, Dillingham at (907) 842-5351, Kodiak at (907) 486-4762 or Captain Aaron Frenzel at (907) 334-2501.