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2013 Assessment of the Pacific Cod Stock in the Eastern Bering Sea

April 22, 2013

Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) is a transoceanic species, occurring at depths from shoreline to 500 m. The southern limit of the species’ distribution is about 34° N latitude, with a northern limit of about 65° N latitude (Lauth 2011). Pacific cod is distributed widely over the eastern Bering Sea (EBS) as well as in the Aleutian Islands (AI) area. Tagging studies (e.g., Shimada and Kimura 1994) have demonstrated significant migration both within and between the EBS, AI, and Gulf of Alaska (GOA). However, recent research indicates the existence of discrete stocks in the EBS and AI (Canino et al. 2005, Cunningham et al. 2009, Canino et al. 2010, Spies 2012). Although the resource in the combined EBS and AI (BSAI) region has traditionally been managed as a single unit, the SSC has indicated that it intends to set separate 2014-2015 harvest specifications for the two areas.

Pacific cod is not known to exhibit any special life history characteristics that would require it to be assessed or managed differently from other groundfish stocks in the EBS or AI areas.