2013 Assessment of the Skate Stock Complex in the Gulf of Alaska
The Gulf of Alaska (GOA) skate complex is managed as three units. Big skates (Raja binoculata) and longnose skates (Raja rhina) each have separate harvest specifications, with acceptable biological catches (ABCs) specified for each GOA regulatory area (western, central, and eastern). A single gulfwide overfishing level (OFL) is specified for each stock. All remaining skate species are managed as an “Other Skates” group with gulfwide harvest specifications. All GOA skates are managed under Tier 5, where OFL and ABC are based on survey biomass estimates and natural mortality rate.
Gulf of Alaska skates are normally on a biennial stock assessment schedule, with full assessments due in odd years. In 2013 however, the shutdown of the federal government limited the amount of time to prepare assessments and the author was requested to do only an executive summary similar to an “offyear” assessment. The full assessment from 2011 is available on the web (Ormseth 2011, http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/REFM/docs/2011/GOAskate.pdf ).