2017 Alaska Fisheries Science Center Skates Stock Assessment in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
The Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report summarizes the best available scientific information concerning the past, present, and possible future condition of the stocks, marine ecosystems, and fisheries that are managed under Federal regulation. It provides information to the Councils for determining annual harvest levels from each stock, documenting significant trends or changes in the resource, marine ecosystems, and fishery over time, and assessing the relative success of existing state and Federal fishery management programs. For the FMP for the Groundfish Fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Area, the SAFE report is published in three sections: a “Stock Assessment” section, which comprises the bulk of this document, and “Economic Status of Groundfish Fisheries off Alaska” (i.e., the “Economic SAFE report”) and “Ecosystem Considerations” sections, which are bound separately.
The BSAI Groundfish FMP requires that a draft of the SAFE report be produced each year in time for the December meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Each stock or stock complex is represented in the SAFE report by a chapter containing the latest stock assessment. New or revised stock assessment models are usually previewed at the September Plan Team meeting, and considered again by the Team at its November meeting for recommending final specifications for the following two fishing years. This process is repeated annually.
This Stock Assessment section of the SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries is compiled by the BSAI Groundfish Plan Team from chapters contributed by scientists at NMFS Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC). These chapters include a recommendation by the author(s) for the overfishing level (OFL) and acceptable biological catch (ABC) for each stock and stock complex managed under the FMP for the next two fishing years. This introductory section includes the recommendations of the Team (Table 1), along with a summary of each chapter, including the Ecosystems Considerations chapter and the Economic SAFE report.
The OFL and ABC recommendations by the Plan Team are reviewed by the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), which may confirm the Team recommendations or develop its own. The Team and SSC recommendations, together with social and economic factors, are considered by the Council in determining total allowable catches (TACs) and other measures used to manage the fisheries. Neither the author(s), Team, nor SSC typically recommends TACs.