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AK Bristol Bay Salmon Drift Gillnet Fishery

Current Classification on 2017 LOF

Category II
Estimated Number of Participants 1,862
Target Species Sockeye salmon is the most abundant salmon, Chinook, chum, Coho, and pink salmon returns are also targeted
Applicable Take Reduction Plans N/A
Observer Coverage This fishery has not been observed by the Alaska Marine Mammal Observer Program.
Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured Beluga whale, Bristol Bay;
Gray whale, Eastern North Pacific;
Harbor seal, Bering Sea;
Northern fur seal, Eastern Pacific;
Pacific white-sided dolphin, Central North Pacific;
Spotted seal, AK;
Steller sea lion, Western U.S

^ Number of participants estimates are based on state and federal fisheries permit data.  The estimated number of participants is expressed in terms of the number of active participants in the fishery, when possible.  If this information is not available, the estimated number of vessels or persons licensed for a particular fishery is provided.  If no recent information is available on the number of participants, then the number from the most recent LOF is used.  NMFS acknowledges that, in some cases, these estimations may be inflating actual effort.  

*Observer coverage levels include the latest information reported in the most current final Stock Assessment Report (SAR)

1 Indicates the stock or species is driving the classification of the fishery 

Note: Current classification based on final LOF, no proposed changes are reflected in this table.

Basis for Current Classification

Based on analogy to other Category II AK set gillnet fisheries.  The level of marine mammal mortality and serious injury in this fishery is assumed to be similar to those in other Category II gillnet fisheries.


This fishery generally operates from June 17 to the end of August in Bristol Bay.  Approximately 80% of the salmon catch in Bristol Bay is caught with drift gillnets.  The Bristol Bay Management Area consists of five management districts including all coastal and inland waters from Cape Newenham to Cape Menshikof.  There are eight major river systems in the area, and these form the largest commercial sockeye salmon fishery in the world. 

Gear Description

This fishery uses drift gillnet gear with continuous soak times for part of the net, while other parts of the net are tended.  Fishing effort occurs during the day and night, with a continuous number of sets per day.        


This fishery is managed by the AK Department of Fish and Game as a limited entry fishery with gear restrictions the mesh and net size, and area closures.

Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) II (1996)
Original Number of Participants 1,741
Basis for Original Classification

This fishery was categorized as a Category II based on logbook data.  Observer coverage was inadequate to determine mortality and serious injury levels of marine mammal stocks across all fisheries, but available data suggested that, if observer data were available, serious injury and mortality levels may have been greater than the Potential Biological Removal (PBR) levels for each stock with which this fishery interacts.  Also, known mortality and serious injury was greater than 1% of PBR for harbor seal (Bering Sea stock) and beluga whale (Bristol Bay stock).

Past Names AK Bristol Bay drift gillnet (until 1999).
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A


Timeline of Changes

  • Estimated number of participants updated from 1,862 to 1,863.
  • Removed the superscript “1” following Steller sea lions (Western U.S.) in the list of species/stocks killed/injured in this fishery.  Although Steller sea lions were reported taken in this fishery in logbook entries prior to the 1996 LOF, there have been no reported interactions since 1993.  Therefore, takes of this Steller sea lion stock re not driving the classification of the fishery.  Inclusion of the superscript was a typographical error
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 1,903 to 1,862.
  • Added a superscript “2” in Table 1 after this fishery, indicating that this fishery is classified by analogy.
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 1,884 to 1,903.
  • Clarified that the fishery was classified as Category II based on the absence of observer data, similar gear type to other Category II fisheries, and the temporal and spatial overlap of this fishery with the marine mammal stocks listed as injured or killed.
  • Renamed the fishery the "AK Bristol Bay salmon drift gillnet" to specify the target species of the fishery.
  • Estimated number of participants was updated from 1,882 to 1,884.
  • Spotted seal (AK) and Pacific white-sided dolphin (Central North Pacific) added to list of species/stocks incidentally killed/injured in this fishery. The 1997 SAR for each stock reported that mortalities were recorded in logbook records in 1990 (5 spotted seals and 3 white-sided dolphins), and 1991 (1 spotted seal).  Logbook data for drift and set gillnet fisheries were combined.  As a result, some of the mortalities may have occurred in the set gillnet.
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 1,741 to 1,882.


Updated January 15, 2017