Board of Fish Picks Up Barbless Hook Proposal

An Alaska Board of Fish committee is currently considering proposals to require barbless hooks for sport fishing during catch and release periods.


Sports fishermen say barbless hooks haven’t been biologically proven to reduce mortality. Kenai River Guide Joe Haines…


Haines: “If I’m fighting a silver salmon, I fight ‘em for four or five minutes and I lose them because I don’t have a barb on the hook, fish probably gonna’ die. We’ll have more mortality just from fish that get off the hook when you get them up to the boat and they’re shaking hard than you would ever with a barbed hook.”


Supporters of the proposals say barbless hooks make it easier to release fish, thereby reducing stress on the fish. They insist that the Board has taken extraordinary steps in the commercial fisheries to preserve king salmon, so this is only fair as a “paired” step-down measure. Commercial fisherman Paul Shadura II…


Shadura: “To do the least amount of damage would seem like something the Board would consider seriously.”


Homer’s Rep. Paul Seaton has previously supported this idea through the Legislature…


Rep. Seaton(R-Homer): “Just trying to say when there is a catch and release fishery, that you’d use a barbeless hook because it reduces mortality. The object is not to establish more catch and release fisheries, but to make it that there’s more fishing opportunities ’cause if you have a higher mortality in a population that is causing some restrictions in fishing, then that could close the entire season. Where as, if you can lower that mortality, such as with the king salmon last year, if you can lower that catch and release mortality, then that should extend the ability to have those fisheries continue.”


The committee came to no consensus on the issue. You can view the full book of proposals on the Board of Fish websiteTo listen to the  meetings online, click here.

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