Prince William Sound Management Area

PWS Shrimp Fishery

This popular pot fishery takes place from April 15 to September 15. This fishery is managed inseason by emergency order, meaning the fishery may not open or may close at any time, or the bag limits may be reduced at any time. Always check your local Fish and Game office before going shrimping.

The fishery is accessed primarily from Whittier and Valdez. Pots are easy to lose, so always take GPS readings of your sets, pay attention to currents, and use buoys that are large and brightly colored. Oily, strong smelling baits like herring, canned tuna in oil or canned cat food work well, and herring oil added to bait canisters always helps. Keep your bait in containers with holes drilled in them to make your bait last longer.

Pots tend to fish best when fished on underwater structure like pinnacles, rock slides, and drop-offs. Always use stout weighted line about 15% longer than the water depth to allow for currents and tides. Use weight in the pots to help them stay anchored.

Shrimp Permits

Prince William Sound sport and subsistence shrimp permits are only available online. Prince William Sound Subsistence Shrimp Pot permit holders cannot fish in the Valdez nonsubsistence area (PDF 175 kB). All permit holders, regardless if you have a sport or subsistence permit, are required to submit their harvest report at the end of the season in gallons of shrimp harvested online. Please review your permit requirements. For additional information about the PWS commercial shrimp fishery areas, please see the Commercial Shellfish Fisheries webpage. For additional questions about the PWS sport and subsistence shrimp fisheries, please contact the Anchorage Sport Fish Information Center at (907) 267-2218.

Harvest Reporting

End of the season harvest reporting is only accepted online. ADF&G is no longer accepting mailed or dropped off permits. You are required to report online even if you did not go, or if you went but did not catch anything. If you fail to report online by the deadline, you may not be eligible to receive this permit next season.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a permit and how do I report?

Yes, anyone who is participating in the "taking" of shrimp must have a permit or be listed on a permit. The permits are available online and are free. Harvest reporting is required and available online. The information gained from this permit assists in future management decisions."taking" - is defined in the sport fishing regulation as the taking, pursuing, fishing, or in any manner disturbing, fish, or killing or attempting to take, purse, fish, or in any manner capture or kill fish or shellfish.

Is the PWS shrimp permit a household permit?

No, this is not a household permit. If everyone on the boat is from the same household and shrimping from one boat, they have the option of being listed on one permit for the household OR each having their own individual permit. Multiple permits can be issued to a household in this fishery, but it does not change the number of pots allowed to fish from a vessel.

Do my kids, spouse, and friends need a shrimp permit on my vessel to assist with operating shrimp gear?

Anyone who is participating in the taking (deploying or pulling the pots, etc.) of shrimp is required to have a PWS shrimp permit. If your kids or another individual are not participating in the "taking" of shrimp then they do not need a permit. More permits onboard a vessel does not mean more shrimp pots can be deployed/used.

Can I give my shrimp to my friends?

Yes, you are allowed to give sport caught fish and shellfish to friends and family. In the current Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet there is a Transfer of Possession Form, which you will need fill out and complete. This form is not necessary if the person possessing the fish or shellfish is accompanied by the person who took the fish or shellfish.

Who has to report harvest?

All individuals who get a permit are required to report their harvest by October 15. Reporting is online and you need to report whether you deployed gear or not. Please do not duplicate harvest. If more than one permit holder is on the vessel, please only report harvest on one permit or split the harvest among permits. We are working on improvements to our online reporting tool which will make reporting easier and reduce the potential for duplicate reporting.

Why do I need to report where I shrimp and for how long?

Information on where harvest is occurring and how much time is spent shrimping is important for managers in maintaining a sustainable shrimp fishery.

Why is it important to report my harvest and how is the information used?

Accurate and timely reporting is important so the PWS shrimp fishery can be managed sustainably. Harvest report information from all PWS shrimp fisheries (sport, subsistence, and commercial) goes into the PWS shrimp surplus production model to determine the next year's Total Allowable Harvest (TAH) and provides valuable information to fisheries managers.

Who is the best person to contact if I have additional questions regarding shrimp permits or reporting on my Prince William Sound Shrimp permit?

General permit questions can typically be answered by our excellent front desk staff but if you have specific questions regarding the Prince William Sound permit you can email the PWS Shrimp email address or contact Area Sport Fish Management staff.

Summary of Shrimp Fisheries Regulations

Summary of Regulations Sport Subsistence
Alaska Residency Required? No Yes
Fishing License Required? Yes No
Open Season? April 15-September 15
Bag Limit? None
Number of Pots Allowed? See the Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet and always check the PWS Emergency Orders and Advisory Announcements to see if there are any changes to the fisheries.
Open Areas? All salt waters of PWS All salt waters of PWS (except Valdez nonsubsistence area)
Can Keep crab caught? No
Can Keep finfish? No
Can Keep Octopus? Yes
Can Buy, Sell, or Trade Shrimp? No
Can I carry a spare pot onboard? Yes

  1. A permit is required. You are required to have your permit in your possession while shrimping and you must record your catch immediately after you harvest shrimp.
  2. Shrimp may be taken only from April 15 – September 15.
  3. No bag, possession, or size limits for shrimp.
  4. Bag, possession, and pot limits for shrimp allowed under sport fishing MAY NOT be added to bag, possession, and pot limits under subsistence fishing regulations.

*Regulations may change through an emergency order at any time.

Shrimp Pot Requirements

  1. Each keg or buoy must have the name of the fisher (first initial, last name) the address, and the name or AK number of the boat used to fish the pots. A phone number is also recommended.
  2. Two vertical sides of all shrimp pots must be entirely made of webbing big enough to allow a 7/8-inch round wooden dowel to go through without stretching or otherwise deforming the opening. The two vertical sides must touch each other. The webbing on these two sides cannot be covered by anything. The other two sides, as well as, the top and bottom, and tunnels may be composed of any material. The 7/8-inch size allows undersized and juvenile shrimp to escape.
  3. A shrimp pot with no definable sides, such as a round pot, must have 50% of its vertical surface area covered with the 7/8-inch webbing. The other 50% of the vertical sides, as well as, the top and bottom, may be composed of any material.
  4. The 7/8-inch requirement does not apply to the tunnels.

Shrimp Pot Escapement Mechanism

Rigid mesh pot illustration

Rigid mesh pots:

Each pot must have an opening at least four (4) inches square with its lower edge within six (6) inches of and parallel to the bottom of the pot. This opening may be covered with a single panel secured with no more than four (4) single loops of 100% untreated cotton twine no larger than 30-thread. Each single loop of cotton twine may contain only one knot. Cotton twine fastenings may not be looped or laced along the edges of the opening. The panel must be attached in such a manner that when the cotton twine degrades the panel will drop away leaving the opening fully exposed.

Net mesh pot illustration

Net mesh pots and pots with no definable sides:

Each pot must have an opening at least six (6) inches long on one sidewall. The opening must be within six (6) inches from the bottom of the pot. The opening must be parallel to the bottom of the pot. To lace the opening together, you must use 100% untreated cotton twine no larger than 30-thread. Knots may be used only at each end of the opening, not in the middle. The twine cannot be tied to or looped around the web bars.

If a pot is lost, the 100% cotton twine will degrade and allow shrimp to escape. Please report all lost pots on your permit.

How many shrimp pots am I allowed to fish/drop and can I carry extra shrimp pots?

The shrimp pot regulations are by vessel, meaning that you cannot fish more than the maximum number of pots allowed per vessel. Multiple people could fish pots from the same vessel but the additive number of extra posts cannot exceed the number of pots allowed per vessel.