Local meetings this week on new Cook Inlet federal salmon regulations

New rules manage fisheries in the area for “total allowable catch,” rather than escapement goals; sport catches also affected.

by | May 15, 2024

Federal management of Cook Inlet waters begins May 30

 The Peninsula Clarion reports a series of meetings hosted by NOAA Fisheries this week in Kenai and Homer intends to familiarize commercial salmon fishermen with new fishing regulations in the Cook Inlet Exclusive Economic Zone, from three to 200 miles out.

In Kenai, the meeting will be held today/ Wednesday, May 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Quality Inn.

In Homer, the meeting will be held Thursday, May 16, also from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Best Western Bidarka Inn.

Federal management of the Cook Inlet EEZ is set to begin on May 30, for a commercial fishing season scheduled to run June 20 to Aug. 15. Under the new regulations, commercial drift gillnet fishermen in the zone are subject to new requirements such as obtaining a new federal permit, installing a vessel monitoring system, and others.

The rule also manages fisheries in the area for “total allowable catch,” rather than in pursuit of escapement goals like in state fisheries.

If the total allowable catch limit is hit for any species of salmon, the fishery will automatically be closed.

Sport fishing will be allowed in the zone, with no federal permits, but fishermen must comply with federal regulations and state regulations — including bag limits.

The meetings are intended to “assist stakeholders in complying with these new regulations,” the service wrote.

An online webinar will also be held on Wednesday, May 22 via Google Meet.

For more information, including to view the whole text of the rule or join the webinar, visit fisheries.noaa.gov.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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