2014 Assessment of the Atka Mackerel Stock in the Gulf of Alaska
Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Atka mackerel has been moved to a biennial stock assessment schedule to coincide with the availability of new survey data from the biennial trawl survey. A full assessment was presented in 2011, which included data from the 2011 GOA bottom trawl survey. On alternate (even) years we present an executive summary with updated catch, last year’s key assessment parameters, any significant new information available in the interim, and projections for this year. Although a survey was conducted in 2013, we only provided an expanded executive summary with updated catch and the 2013 survey
information, due to the government shut-down in October 2013.
Gulf of Alaska Atka mackerel have been managed under Tier 6 specifications since 1996 due to the lack of reliable estimates of current biomass. In 2007, the assessment presented for consideration, Tier 5 calculations of ABC and OFL based on 2007 survey biomass estimates. However, the Plan Team and SSC agreed with the authors that reliable estimates of Atka mackerel biomass were not available and recommended continuing management under Tier 6. The 2012 and 2013 updates presented Tier 6 recommendations and did not present Tier 5 calculations given the large variances associated with the 2011 and 2013 survey biomass estimates, which were essentially based on one to two significant hauls encountered in the western Gulf of Alaska. The Council set the Gulf-wide 2014 (and 2015) OFL, ABC, and TAC for Atka mackerel at 6,200 t, 4,700 t, and 2,000 t, respectively.