One of the changes coming out of the Board of Fisheries meeting in Anchorage earlier this month was Proposal 228, prohibiting the practice of “high-grading” fish.
The term “high-grading” refers to when anglers land a fish, usually halibut, but keep the fish alive in the hopes that a better, bigger, nicer fish might come along. If something ‘more desirable’ is caught, the first fish is released. In this way, the angler remains within his bag limit, but still gets to make sure he goes home with the best possible fish. Current terminology only includes fish that are actually killed in the bag limit.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game sponsored Prop 228, saying high-grading leads to ‘needless mortality.’ Now, any fish which is not immediately released will count in the bag limit. ADFG says fishermen still have the option of hook and release, so long as the fish is let go immediately.