2014 Assessment of the Kamchatka Flounder Stock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
In 2013 a Tier 3 approach was used to describe the stock status of Kamchatka flounder using survey and fishery age and length structured modeling. The assessment previously used Tier 5 methodology reliant upon trawl survey biomass from the Bering Sea shelf, slope and the Aleutian Islands and an estimate of natural mortality. ABC and OFL were determined from a 7-year averaging technique of survey biomass.
The Kamchatka flounder (Atheresthes evermanni) is a relatively large flatfish which is distributed from Northern Japan through the Sea of Okhotsk to the Western Bering Sea north to Anadyr Gulf (Wilimovsky et al. 1967) and east to the eastern Bering Sea shelf and south of the Alaska Peninsula (there is also a catch record from California). In U.S. waters they are found in commercial concentrations in the Aleutian Islands where they generally decrease in abundance from west to east (Zimmerman and Goddard 1996). They are also present in Bering Sea slope waters but are absent in survey catches east of Chirikof Island.
In the eastern part of their range, Kamchatka flounder overlap with arrowtooth flounder (Atheresthes stomias), a species that is very similar in appearance but was not routinely distinguished in the commercial catches until 2007. Until about 1991, these species were also not consistently separated in trawl survey catches (Fig. 7-1) and were combined in the arrowtooth flounder stock assessment (Wilderbuer et al. 2009). However, managing the two species as a complex became undesirable in 2010 due to the emergence of a directed fishery for Kamchatka flounder in the BSAI management area. Since the ABC was determined by the large amount of arrowtooth flounder relative to Kamchatka flounder (complex is about 93% arrowtooth flounder) the possibility arose of an overharvest of Kamchatka flounder as the Atheresthes sp. ABC exceeded the Kamchatka flounder biomass. Arrowtooth and Kamchatka flounder have been managed separately since 2011. There is no evidence of stock structure.