Fishing in Glacier Bay: Practicing a Conservation Ethic

Glacier Bay scenic scene

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”

~ Attributed to Chief Seattle, 1855
fish and coral
Glacier Bay has unique legal status

A Federally-Managed Sanctuary

Glacier Bay National Park is federally managed to protect marine life and habitat “unimpaired” for future generations. National Park status was achieved in 1980 when Glacier Bay was designated as one of four park units intended to be:

“Large sanctuaries where fish and wildlife may roam freely, developing their social structures and evolving over long periods of time as nearly as possible without the changes that extensive human activities would cause.” ~ ANILCA Senate Committee Report 96-413, p. 137.

Marine Protected Area

Glacier Bay National Park is a federally- designated Marine Protected Area (MPA) and part of a larger nationwide system of MPAs. MPAs are marine environments reserved by federal, state, or other laws or regulations to provide lasting protection for natural and cultural resources within its boundaries for the benefit of present and future generations. Management objectives across MPAs are broad but conservation is a primary goal.

follow the angler code

Fishing in Glacier Bay's rich waters is truly a unique experience. You can help protect it for future generations by following these best practices:

Follow the Angler Code

  • Value and respect the aquatic environment and all living things in it.
  • Carefully handle and quickly release all unwanted or prohibited fish.
  • Avoid removing fish from the water when planning to release them.
  • Keep no more fish than needed for consumption.
  • Treat retained fish humanely; kill quickly with a sharp blow to the head.
  • Employ best practices in caring for your catch: bleed by cutting a gill and keep your catch cold.
  • Cease fishing once you reach your bag limit in order to reduce catch-and release mortality.
release best practices
To enhance survival, don’t remove fish intended to be released from the water.

Release Best Practices

Studies suggest that 1 of 20 halibut released by recreational anglers does not survive. Since halibut can live up to 55 years, proper catch and release best practices can help future generations enjoy this memorable experience:

  • Reel in as quickly as possible to avoid fish exhaustion and improve survival.
  • Quickly decide whether you want to keep or release the fish. A legal fish that is deeply hooked or bleeding from the gills is unlikely to survive and should be retained.
  • Circle hook use prevents deep ingestion and lethal hooking effects.
  • Using hooks with the barb removed will enable a safer, quicker release.
  • If the hook can’t be safely or easily removed, cut the line at the hook.
  • To enhance survival, don’t remove fish intended to be released from the water.
  • For species with specific size limits, employ an in-water measuring device that can be safely used while the fish is alongside the boat.
steward the ecosystem

Steward our Marine Ecosystem

It is up to each of us to play our part in preserving the ecological integrity of Glacier Bay for generations to come.

  • Keep the environment clean by avoiding pollutant spills, and properly disposing of trash including fishing line, gear and hooks.
  • Prevent the spread of exotic plants and animals by cleaning your gear before traveling between waters.
  • Keep wildlife wild. Ensure that birds, bears, sea lions and other wildlife don’t get your bait, catch or other food items.

Last updated: February 20, 2018

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


907 697-2230

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