Management changes initiated over the last several years for the Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod fishery limited access and reduced opportunities for the small boat fleet. To minimize these negative impacts, Alaska Jig Association leaders – with support from AMCC – spearheaded the development and approval by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) of a set aside in the Pacific cod fishery for the low impact, entry-level jig sector.
Fishery managers created a unique opportunity for fishermen to harvest a portion of the Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod and rockfish catch with hand-tended, hook and line jig gear. Fishermen now only need a boat, a $75 permit, and some hooks and line to participate in this new cod and rockfish jig fishery.
In the first year of the jig fishery, cod were abundant and the price was strong. Local residents took to the water with jig machines. Some young fishermen earned enough income from the fishery to upgrade their boats and put down payments on salmon permits. Yet in the second year, a glut of cod on the global market sent prices plummeting as low as 25 cents per pound. It didn’t make financial sense for fishermen to leave the dock. Out of anticipation of the need to develop markets that valued the strong quality, conservation and community values of the jig fishery, the Kodiak Jig Initiative was born. The project is a testament to the fact that local fishermen not only need viable access to fisheries, they also need to earn a living wage by engaging in profitable fisheries.
Thanks to funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Fisheries Innovation Fund, AMCC has been working with Kodiak’s jig fishermen to increase profitability of the jig fishery and deliver outstanding jig-caught seafoods to the marketplace.
With development of the Kodiak Jig Seafoods brand, sales of jig seafood are now underway! Visit Kodiak Jig Seafoods to learn more.