Update: Fish and Game has pushed back the date they will begin requiring the new shrimping and crabbing permits. Instead of enforcing the requirement June 17, they will begin enforcement June 25. This article has been updated to reflect the change.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will soon require sport, personal use and subsistence — all non-commercial — shrimpers in Southeast Alaska to register for shrimp permits. As part of the same regulations changes, regional personal use king crab users need to obtain permits.
The new permits will help the department gather more data on how many shrimp and crab are leaving the water, managers say. It’s also part of a larger move for Southeast managers to get fishery permitting online.
Fish and Game will be able to manage both fisheries a little better with the information, fishery biologist Dave Harris said. They include reporting requirements, or the sharing of notes on how a shrimper or crabber fared during the season, and where they caught their catch, if any.
Even if a permit holder doesn’t fish, they need to turn in their permit at the end of the season, Harris said. Fish and Game will start enforcement June 25. Permits are free of charge.
“Whenever you do fish, or pull pots or do trawls or fish for salmon, or whatever, you fill out how you did that day, whether you caught anything or not,” Harris said.
Shrimping has been closed in the Juneau area, 11A, for several years, Harris said, and remains closed this year. Other shrimp fishing locations outside of 11A, like Hawk Inlet, on the backside of Admiralty Island, are accessible to Juneauites.
Shrimp populations are on the recovery in 11A, Harris added, a process which he expects to take about six years. The recovery process is about five years in. Harris said he hopes to see improvement in shrimp surveys conducted this year and next. If surveys say 11A’s shrimp have recovered, they may open it again in the area.
Red king crab season was opened up for the first time in six years last year. A summer opening in July lasted four days, and resulted in about half of the allocation being caught. It was continued again in the winter, when nearly the rest of the allocation was caught, Harris said.
Southeast Alaska doesn’t have as many fishing permits available online as the rest of the state, Harris added. Both of the new shrimp and personal use king crab permits will go online as soon as they’re available, likely Thursday. They’ll join subsistence/personal use salmon permits, personal use sablefish, personal use king crab (outside 11A), and personal use king crab, 11A, summer and winter permits.
Both shrimp permits will be available by the end of the week, and the king crab permits will be available by the July 1 opening date for the waters outside of 11A. Permits are available online and at the Douglas Fish and Game office.