We reported earlier that a Board of Fish committee came to no consensus on the issue of barbless hooks, but the Board itself today moved to implement a barbless hook policy when the sportsfishery in the Kenai River is limited to king salmon catch and release.
The Department of Fish & Game didn’t support the proposal, which originally applied to all waters where catch and release is in effect…
ADF&G: “The savings, if there’s any savings from barbless hooks, it’s not going to be in decreased mortality from releases. It’s going to be in the inefficiency of the gear.”
But Board Chair Karl Johnstone said he felt the proposal would have merit, if it were more limited in its scope…
Johnstone: “If this was limited to one system where we know that every fish counts, or a small number of fish count, it might help. I have personal experience, as do other people, I know that the longer you handle a fish, the more damage is done to the fish. And I think most people would agree that a barbless hook can be taken out of a fish’s mouth much more quickly than a barbed hook. And to that extent, it has a conservation aspect to it. I know many fishers do a barbles hooks because of that very aspect. It’s easy to get the hook out of the mouth.
New Member Fritz Johnson introduced an amendment to limit the restrictions to the Kenai River, which was passed. The measure was then approved with a vote of 4-3 with Morisky, Huntington, and Jensen opposed.
A barbless hook was defined as: a manufactured barbless hook, a manufactured barbless hook that has a smooth bump on its shank, a hook with the barb filed completely off, or a hook with the barb crimped to the point that it is making contact with the shank.