November 26, 2013
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – A first glimpse at next year’s groundfish catches. More after this
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The numbers for next year’s groundfish catch quotas are scheduled to be posted today/Tuesday by federal overseers. Based on summer surveys, the stocks for Alaska’s largest fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands appear to be holding fairly steady.
Most of them were a slight uptick up or a slight downtick down. So we are not expecting major changes.
Jane DiCosimo is Senior Plan Coordinator with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Anchorage. The Council will decide on advancing the numbers in early December. That’s likely to mean a pollock catch of close to three billion pounds and P-cod at a half billion pounds.
Setting TACs, or Total Allowable Catches, requires going through a months-long process of federal advisory postings. For Alaska, it means crunching biomasses, catches and a dozen other kinds of data gathered into November. DiCosimo calls the North Pacific’s ability to ‘crank out’ sound quotas ‘unique in the nation.’
It’s a complicated but it’s designed to be able to use the summer survey information and the catch data practically up until the stock assessment is run. And that is unusual for the country. I think we are in a unique and lucky situation where we have such resources devoted to being able to fish on the most current biomass that we can do.
What also is unique is the number of stock assessment surveys done in Alaska – for 23 separate species in both the Bering Sea/Aleutians and the Gulf.
So we have this on year, off year cycle for the gulf of AK and the Aleutian Islands and we have an annual cycle for the trawl surveys for the eastern Bering Sea.
The numbers run on two year cycles, DiCosimo says, and are always tweaked to reflect the latest data.
The way the Alaska Fisheries Science Center conducts stock assessments is to provide a two year set of numbers and the Council does adopt two year numbers. Each year it replaces the second year and adopts the third year. And then next year it adopts a revised third year and a new fourth year. So we are constantly replacing that second year out.
More than 80 percent of Alaska’s seafood landings come from federal waters, and Alaska provides over half of the nation’s wild caught seafood.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.