Petition Opens Up Spawning Beds Debate

One popular topic in the 300+ pages of Cook Inlet fisheries proposals submitted to the Board of Fish this year was fishing on spawning beds. It’s a issue which has been revived by a recent petition to ban set netting, brought forward by noted sportsfishing advocates.


To gain some perspective, the KSRM News Department has been reaching out to other state fisheries, to see how the biology is handled far from the political shores of Alaska. In Florida, Director of Marine Fisheries Research Luiz Barbieri referenced a national working group which met recently in Texas…


Barbieri: “And they have released a press release that talks about the devastating impact of fishing on spawning aggregations in the Caribbean.” 


Barbieri referred to spawning fish as the deposit into a bank, ensuring future returns. He said they’re particularly vulnerable during spawning because they’re confined to a small, well-known area. While Florida restricts anglers, Barbieri said most leave the spawning grounds alone as a sign of respect…


Barbieri: “Even for stocks that are not formally closed during spawning season, a lot of people just avoid targeting them during the spawn, because they feel like, well, if we save that fish is spawning now, we have that long-term sustainability that we are reaching towards.”


In Minnesota, State Fisheries Program Consultant Al Stevens…


Stevens: “You know, fishing during the spawning period can add additional harvest, so it’s really a lake by lake basis. Can that lake withstand additional harvest if you were to open it up or not?”


Of the randomly chosen states contacted so far, while some states had species with different habits to salmon, all said they close fishing on their popular species during the spawn as a conservation measure.



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