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(a) By employing a conservative harvest regime, the department shall manage wild Arctic grayling populations in the Upper Copper River and Upper Susitna River Area for long-term sustained yield. Following sustained yield principles, the department may manage wild Arctic grayling fisheries to provide or maintain fishery qualities that are desired by sport anglers.
(b) In a sport fishery covered by this management plan, the commissioner, by emergency order, may take one or more of the management actions specified in this subsection if there are conservation or biological concerns for the sustainability of the fishery or for a stock harvested by that fishery. The concerns must arise from harvest, effort, or catch data for that fishery which has been derived from statewide harvest survey data, on-site creel survey data, stock status data, stock exploitation rates, or from inferential comparisons with other fisheries. The management actions are as follows:
(1) reduce the bag and possession limits;
(2) reduce fishing time;
(3) allowing only a catch-and-release fishery;
(4) modify methods and means of harvest.
(c) To achieve sustained yield and provide diverse fishing opportunities, the board and department will manage wild Arctic grayling fisheries under one of three management approaches. The three management approaches are the
(1) regional management approach;
(2) conservative management approach; and
(3) special management approach.
(d) Regional management approach. Under the regional management approach, sport anglers may use baited or unbaited artificial lures and the bag and possession limit is five fish. The season is open year round, however there are fisheries where catch-and-release is imposed during part or all of the spawning period from April 1 through May 30.
(e) Conservative management approach. Under the conservative management approach, sport anglers may use baited or unbaited single-hook artificial lures. The bag and possession limit is two fish. The fishing season is open year round, and is restricted to catch-and-release fishing during the spawning period of April 1 through May 30. The use of size limits does apply to certain stocks and fisheries under this approach. If a fishery for a species other than Arctic grayling occurs in the water body, the use of larger multiple hooks and bait on larger single and multiple hooks is allowed.
(f) Proposed changes to the conservative management approach may
(1) allow a limited harvest of fish 18 inches or greater in length;
(2) accommodate a fishery that is consistent with this management approach due to its historic features; or
(3) propose another management strategy for a fishery that has documented biological or conservation issues that are not severe enough to warrant a catch-and-release fishing restriction.
(g) The department shall manage Mendeltna Creek, Moose Lake, Our Creek, and the Gulkana River drainage upstream of Paxson Lake as described in 5 AAC 52.023(9) (C) and 5 AAC 52.023(20) (B) under the conservative management approach.
(h) Special management approach. Under the special management approach, only unbaited single-hook artificial lures and unbaited single hook artificial flies may be used. Size limits may be imposed for certain fisheries and may include trophy designation, which is a fish 18 inches or greater in length. The bag limit is one fish, except that a fishery may be restricted to catch-and-release or closed. Single-hook waters may be established. The fishing season is open year round, but fishing is restricted to catch-and-release fishing during the April 1 through May 30 spawning period. If a fishery for a species other than Arctic grayling occurs in the same water body, the use of larger multiple hooks and bait on larger single and multiple hooks is allowed.
(i) Proposals to change the management approach for a water body or fish stock to the special management approach should tend to diversify sport fishing opportunities, such as by limiting fishing to catch-and-release, limiting fishing to fly-fishing, or limiting harvest to fish that qualify for a trophy designation, meaning that a fish retained must be 18 inches or greater in length. Before adopting changes to the special management approach, the board should review any overlapping or concurrent fisheries that harvest other species, and attempt to minimize gear conflicts, or seasonal use pattern conflicts with those fisheries. The board should tend to adopt the special management approach for a fishery exhibiting particular conservation, biological, or restoration issues. The board should tend to adopt the approach for a water body or for a fish stock that presents a unique opportunity for conducting research. That opportunity would exist for example, where the stock or water body is located near a research facility or within a unique habitat, or where there is an unexploited population that could be studied to determine population parameters such as natural mortality, growth rate, or the age at sexual maturity.
(j) If a proposal for managing wild Arctic grayling would apply to a water body in which there are fisheries for other species, the department shall provide detailed information to the board about potential conflicts that may be caused by the proposal.
(k) In addition to other criteria in this section, the board should consider applicable components of the following issues when dealing with a proposal for managing wild Arctic grayling under the conservative and special management approaches:
(1) biological attributes of the targeted stock: the board should consider whether the targeted stock has a sufficient population of fish 18 inches or greater in length that would enable it to support either the existing harvest or the projected harvest without undue risk to the conservation of the stock; the board should consider the impact of the proposal on other fisheries that harvest the stock and whether the other fisheries and harvests would threaten a sustained opportunity that the proposal presents;
(2) legal access to the fishery: it is desirable to have legal access to the fishery from several places along the affected water body; at least 50 percent of the lands bordering the water body should be in public ownership; the water body should be navigable, and a proposed fishery should have either road access, trail access from a road, or boat access that is not more than one day's travel from a boat launch or urban area;
(3) characteristics of the water body: the board should consider whether the water body affected by the proposal offers a unique fishing experience, such as that provided by a spring-fed, clear stream; the board should evaluate the water body's physical characteristics and its biological attributes, such as seasonal use by Arctic grayling or other life history traits, in order to meet angler preferences;
(4) conflicts with fisheries for other species or with subsistence fisheries: the board should attempt to minimize potential conflicts with concurrent or overlapping fisheries that harvest other species in the water body; the board should consider whether a proposal is compatible with subsistence practices that occur in the affected drainages or that occur on a fish stock that is impacted by a proposal;
(5) historical precedence: the board should tend to establish fishing opportunities in water bodies or on stocks that historically have provided special or unique angling opportunities;
(6) proximity of similar fishing opportunities: the board should tend to establish fishing opportunities where there are no similar types of fisheries that are within a day's travel.
History: Eff. 5/19/2004, Register 170; am 3/30/2006, Register 177
Authority: AS 16.05.060
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Last modified 7/05/2006