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Assessing Alaska Fish Stocks

NOAA Fisheries assessment scientists are responsible for determining the current status of commercial and recreationally caught fish species in the waters of Alaska from 3-200 miles off shore or in federal waters.

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Assessment scientists are responsible for determining the current status, whether a fish stock is healthy, overfished or overfishing is occurring, for 54 fish stocks in the federal waters of Alaska (i.e., the ocean waters extending 3 miles to 200 miles around the U.S.). Other NOAA Fisheries scientists conduct regular research surveys and provide the data used to prepare these assessments.

The assessment involves updating information on population trends (i.e., whether populations are increasing or declining over time), estimating "biological yields," or the amounts that can be safely removed through fishing activity without comprising stock health, and providing recommendations for resource managers on sustainable catch limits. 

At the Alaska Fisheries Science Center two programs are responsible for developing fish stock assessments, the Status of the Stocks and Multispecies Assessment Program and the Marine Ecology and Stock Assessment Program.

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