United States Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Cooperative Program

United States Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Cooperative Program

In Alaska, the fishing industry is integral to both the culture and the economy. Kodiak residents participate in 28 separate fisheries, some of which date back to the 1800s, and Kodiak Island remains the hub for fishery operation in the Central Gulf of Alaska (GOA). During the 1990s, a spike in fishery participation in Alaska fisheries prompted a number of management interventions to prevent overfishing, which had little success. Fishery management problems also impacted shore-based processors. The rockfish season overlapped with salmon season, causing gluts of fish to be landed at the same time. The result was frequent unloading delays and rushed conditions that resulted in poor quality products. 

Under direction of the U.S. Congress, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council implemented a pilot Cooperative fishing rights program for GOA rockfish fisheries in 2007 to provide urgent economic relief to the community.  The pilot program was originally authorized for two years, through 2009, but the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act extended the pilot program through December 31, 2011. After five successful years, the Cooperative program was again extended, this time for 10 more years with some key design changes to improve the program and to ensure alignment with the requirements of the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act.