2015 Assessment of the Northern Rockfish Stock in the Eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
In 2005, BSAI rockfish were moved to a biennial assessment schedule to coincide with the frequency of trawl surveys in the Aleutian Islands (AI) and the eastern Bering Sea (EBS) slope. These surveys occur in even years and for these years a full assessment of northern rockfish in the BSAI area will be conducted. In years without a scheduled Aleutian Islands survey, an “update” is produced by revising the recent catch data and re-running the projection model using the results from the previous full assessment as a starting point. Therefore, this update does not incorporate any changes to the 2014 assessment methodology, but does include updated catch estimates for 2014-2016.
Changes in input data: The new information for this update is replacing the estimated 2014 catch with the final catch value, and revising the 2015 catch estimate. The 2014 catch was 2,342 t, 5.1% smaller than the estimate of 2,469 t was used in the 2014 projection. The 2015 catch through October 17th was 7,040 t, an approximately three-fold increase over the total catch from recent years. The estimated 2015 catch of 7,589 t was obtained by summing the reported 2015 catch through September (6,491 t) plus an estimate of the Oct-Dec 2015 catch. The October 2015 catch through October 17 was 549 t (183 t /week), and this was doubled to obtain the Oct-Dec catch. This corresponds to the rate of catch per week observed to date in October continuing into early November, which corresponds to an estimate of when the Pacific ocean perch and Atka mackerel fisheries (i.e., the fisheries that catch northern rockfish) will end their 2015 fishing operations (Mary Furuness, NOAA-Fisheries, pers. comm.). The 2016 catch was obtained from the projection model and was based on a fishing mortality rate equal to the estimated 2015 F.