Harvest Methods

Fishers catch fish and shellfish in Alaska using different methods that are thoroughly checked, tested and managed to guarantee that only certain species of particular sizes are harvested. They also use specific types of tackles depending on areas and species.



Salmon is caught by a spinner or some trolling lure or bait. As a rule, every fishing boat has 4 sea lines with eight to twelve leaders on each of them. A hook with bait is stuck to these leaders to lure salmon. Shortly after being caught salmon species are processed, dressed and cooled in the boat. This harvesting method is widely used in Southeast Alaska, and there is a quite limited quantity of high-quality salmon, primarily quinnat and silver salmon, caught in accordance with this method.

Purse Net

Salmon is also can be caught in purse nets being tangled up in fine and firm mesh. The seine is lowered into the water just from the boat, circles fish stocks and then is pulled out to the boat completing the catching circle. Fishermen then thoroughly seal or “purse” the net bottom to catch salmon before pulling it out. Many seine vessels include a special system circulating cold water to ice salmon after the catch. This method is quite popular in different Alaska parts and is used to catch keta, silver and humpback.

Tangle net

Returning salmon are caught while swimming along the paths in coast areas where tangle nets are set. They can be set just from the boat or even from the shore. When the fish enters the tangle net, the fish’s head is caught behind the gill filaments. Mesh of the net is tied exactly for catching species of a particular size. Then, the hydraulic drum of the fishing board pulls out the net and fishermen manually remove salmon from mesh. Tangle nets are primarily used in Bristol Bay to harvest quinnat, keta, silver and blue-backed salmon.

Halibut and Whitefish


A long heavy line is placed on the bottom and helps longliners to harvest Alaska halibut and sablefish. Many leaders with lure are stuck to longlines, fixed at a particular place and left for one day. Then fishermen pull out longlines with catch with a special winch. They dress and pack fish in containers with ice just in the boat.

Trawl Net

This method can be used to catch most species of whitefish, except turbot. A long trawl funnel- shaped net is stuck to the rear of the board. The entering opening of the net is closed with steel “doors” when the net is towed. When it enters the fish stock, whitefish is caught at the end of the “funnel”.

Jig (Spoon Bait)

Fishermen use automatic jigging equipment to catch such whitefish species, as cod and scorpion fish. 2 to 4 lines with hooks with baits and a weight stuck to the boat are automatically dipped into the water and pulled out several times to lure the fish. The fish caught by jig is usually dressed or placed in containers with ice just after being harvested.


Fishermen catch a few Pacific cod with wire netting steel traps, or pots. They are usually stuck to each other in a line and every line is defined by a buoy. They are dipped into the water, left there and after some time fishermen pull it out with a power winch. They can dress or ice fish in the boat depending on fish species and fishing areas.



As a rule, exactly divers catch geoducks, sea cucumbers and urchins. They do it at a depth of 1.5 to 30 meters. Rakes or hooks used by divers removing cucumbers and urchins from the bottom. Then, caught shellfish is places in a net basket or pack that is pulled out to the board.


Twines with baits and wire netting steel traps are also used to catch Alaska shrimp or crab. There are various sizes and shapes of the pots in dependence of the sort of shrimp or crab. The pot is set, left for some time and then pulled out with a special winch. Crabs that are caught with pots stored alive in containers with seawater and then delivered to plants where they are cooked and processed.