ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has issued emergency orders closing all Dungeness crab fisheries and restricting the shrimp fishery in Prince William Sound.
Surveys conducted by the agency show that Dungeness crab and spot shrimp remain severely depressed throughout the sound.
The emergency regulations take effect Friday. The new regulations, however, are not legally enforceable until signed by Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, perhaps later this summer.
''The department is concerned that the current Dungeness crab population is too low to ensure that any Dungeness fishery could be conducted in a sustainable manner,'' the agency said in a news release Wednesday.
The Dungeness closure applies to commercial, sport, personal use and subsistence fishing. The fishery will be closed until the stock recovers and the Alaska Board of Fisheries approves a new management plan, the agency said.
The fisheries board also decided in its March meeting in Anchorage that the shrimp fishery in the sound should be restricted because of low numbers. The board reduced the number of shrimp pots allowed per sport and personal vessel to five, down from 10 pots. The number of pots allowed per person remained at five.
The board also implemented a seasonal restriction on shrimp pots. Sport and personal use anglers will be permitted to catch shrimp only from April 15 to September 15. The restrictions are meant to prevent the harvest of egg-bearing females between the fall spawn and spring hatch. The commercial shrimp pot fishery in the sound has been closed since 1992.
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