2013 Assessment of the Sculpin Complex in the Gulf of Alaska

April 23, 2013

The Gulf of Alaska (GOA) sculpin complex has been managed as an independent complex with its own harvest specifications since 2010, when the North Pacific Fishery Management Council passed Amendment 87 to the GOA Fishery Management Plan, which separated the Other Species complex into its constituent species groups. This non-target species complex is on a biennial assessment schedule to coincide with the frequency of trawl surveys in the Gulf of Alaska. The 2011 full assessment can be found at http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/REFM/docs/2011/GOAsculpin.pdf . Due to a temporary lapse in appropriations, the U.S. federal government implemented a shutdown from October 1 – October 16, 2013. Although the GOA trawl survey was completed in 2013, the shutdown did not allow time to produce a full stock assessment for the sculpin complex and many other species. Therefore an executive summary is presented to provide management recommendations for the 2014 fishing season. Gulf of Alaska sculpins are managed as a Tier 5 stock, and a weighted average of species-specific natural mortality rates (M) is applied to the aggregate sculpin biomass to estimate standard reference points. Biomass and reference points are presented based on standard methods using data from the 2013 NMFS GOA trawl survey