2015 Assessment of the Octopus Stock Complex in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
The Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands octopus complex is assessed on a biennial stock assessment schedule with full assessments provided in even years. In odd years we present an executive summary to recommend harvest levels for the next two years.
Through 2010, octopuses were managed as part of the BSAI “other species” complex, along with sharks, skates, and sculpins. Historically, catches of the other species complex were well below TAC and retention of other species was small. However, due to recent increased market values, retention of some of the other species complex members increased. Beginning in 2011, the BSAI Fisheries Management Plan was amended to provide separate management for sharks, skates, sculpins, and octopus and set separate catch limits for each species group. Catch limits for octopus for 2011 and 2012 were set using Tier 6 methods based on the maximum historical incidental catch. In 2012, a new methodology based on
consumption of octopus by Pacific cod was introduced (Conners et al. 2012); this method was accepted and used for 2013-2015. The same method is recommended for use in 2016-2017. The consumption estimate has not been revised from 2012; the authors plan to revisit this calculation for the full 2016 assessment.