The board’s action, during its Pacific cod meeting in Anchorage Oct. 18-19, raised the allocation from the previous 6.4 percent of the overall Bering Sea cod harvest to eight percent, with an additional one percent added each year until that allocation gets to 15 percent.
Harvesters in this young, but successful fishery use pot gear on their vessels of under 60 feet. Todd Hoppe, president of the Under Sixty Cod Harvesters, described the board’s action as “a difficult but excellent decision.”
Under Sixty Cod Harvesters, formed earlier this year, was the primary driver behind the expansion effort.
“We applaud this board for recognizing how important these open-access state water fishing opportunities are for our community-based fishermen, and for the young fishermen coming up in the industry,” Hoppe said. “These vessels work year-round and are rooted in Alaska’s communities.They deliver fish and income straight into local economies. Supporting this fishery was a good move for the state of Alaska, and I think we’ll see the positive effects of that decision for a long time to come.”
The board approved RC (record copy) 12, submitted by board member Israel Payton as substitute language for four proposals 10, 12, 13 and 14, all supporting opportunities to fish locally and provide cod needed by local shore-based processors. In its proposal, the Under Sixty Cod Harvesters argued that the potential and strengths of the fishery had outgrown the modest allocations it started with, warranting an allocation increase and area expansion.