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Status of Stocks & Multispecies Assessment Program

Groundfish Stock Assessments for 2011: Fishery Quota Recommendations

The preparation of the stock assessment and fishery evaluation (SAFE) reports (more than 3,000 pages) provides the scientific basis for groundfish catch recommendations. These reports present analysis of the extensive data collected by NMFS-trained fisheries observers and AFSC scientists aboard dedicated research surveys. Observer data are used to estimate catch of target and prohibited species (e.g., salmon, crab, herring, and Pacific halibut) to ensure that fisheries do not exceed annually specified total allowable catches (TACs) or violate other fishery restrictions (such as time-area closures). Results from the AFSC surveys combined with observer data are critical in conditioning statistical stock assessment models. Results from these models (and their estimates of uncertainty) are used to determine the status of individual species and make recommendations for future catch levels. This TAC-setting process involves annual presentations of these reports at a series of public meetings.

The reports present analyses on individual stocks and/or species groups and provide targets and limits—acceptable biological catches (ABC) and overfishing levels (OFL), respectively. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (NPFMC, Council) Groundfish Plan Teams review drafts of these reports in September and November meetings and make recommendations for ABC and OFL levels (one each for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska regions) for review by the NPFMC Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC). The SSC then makes the final ABC recommendation to the Council and the Council’s Advisory Panel of industry representatives makes TAC recommendations during the December NPFMC meeting. Finally, the recommended TAC levels are adjusted (for some species) by the Council to ensure that other constraints (e.g., limiting the sum of all TACs in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands to be less than 2 million t) are met.

Read the summary stock assessments and fishery quota recommendations for 2011 for the Bering Sea-Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska groundfish resources. (pdf; 6.17MB)

By Jim Ianelli


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