The big operational obstacle, a 14-day quarantine for all people coming into the state of Alaska, remains in effect with a review and update due no later than June 2. The number of cases of COVID-19 in the state is extremely low.
AU hopes it will be safe to lift this quarantine on June 2. If that happens, we’ll be operational for groups starting to fish on June 7. We have filed our COVID-19 operation plans with the Borough of Sitka and the State of Alaska. These plans include all steps we’re taking to provide maximum safety for our guests and our community.
Halibut Regulations Improved
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the guided fishing effort on halibut will be well below what was projected last winter. In response, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has changed the halibut reverse slot limit from under 40 inches and over 80 inches to under 45 inches and over 80 inches. The daily limit remains 1 with no annual limit. That 5 inches more in length represents nearly 14 pounds in round weight.
Kings Are In
What do our captains that live in Sitka do to pass the time during the COVID-19 shutdown? Go fishing, of course. And what they’ve found are lots of kings within a pretty short run from the dock. With fishing effort down in the charter fleet, we’re hoping the Alaska Department of Fish and Game liberalizes the annual limit as we go into July and August. We’ll keep you posted on that.
Alaska Air begins much better schedules to Sitka on June 1. Delta will begin flying in on June 8. Both airlines have lenient policies for rescheduling if you need to change plans.