2018 Assessment of the Northern Rock Sole Stock in the Bering Sea Aleutian Islands
The 2018 bottom trawl survey point estimate is a 21% decrease from the 2017 estimate. These two estimates are the lowest in the past 25 years and have the effect of lowering the assessment model time series abundance estimates relative to the last full assessment conducted in 2016. The model results indicate that the stock condition has been at a high and stable level but in a slow decline for the past 9 years. The female spawning biomass is now at a peak and is starting to decline as a result of the combination of strong recruitment from the 2001-2003 and 2005 year classes, which are presently at the age of maximum cohort biomass, and light fishery exploitation. Model 15.1 is the preferred model evaluated in this assessment. Models 18.1 through 18.3 represent Model runs made to examine alternate states of nature for contrast to the primary models results. Ensemble modeling was also investigated.
The northern rock sole stock is not overfished or approaching overfishing.
Responses to SSC and Plan Team Comments on Assessments in General In this section, we list new or outstanding comments on assessments in general from the last full assessment in 2017.
“The SSC recommends that, for those sets of environmental and fisheries observations that support the inference of an impending severe decline in stock biomass, the issue of concern be brought to the SSC, with an integrated analysis of the indices in future stock assessment cycles. To be of greatest value, to the extent possible, this information should be presented at the October Council meeting so that there is sufficient time for the Plan Teams and industry to react to the possible reduction in fishing opportunity.”