2019 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Report for the Groundfish Resources of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Regions
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 reports: a “Stock Assessment” report, the “Economic Status of Groundfish Fisheries off Alaska” (i.e., the “Economic SAFE report”) and the “Ecosystem Status Report” (by Area between the Eastern Bering Sea (EBS) and Aleutian Islands (AI)).
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 Ecosystem Status Report 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.
The BSAI Groundfish Plan Team met in Seattle on November 12-15, 2019 to review the status of stocks of twenty-two species or species groups that are managed under the FMP. The Plan Team review was based on presentations by ADF&G and NMFS AFSC scientists with opportunity for public comment and input. Members of the BSAI Groundfish Plan Team who compiled this SAFE report were: Grant Thompson (C0-chair), Steve Barbeaux (Co-chair), Steve A. MacLean (BSAI Groundfish FMP coordinator), Kirstin Holsman, Jane Sullivan, Andy Kingham, Allan Hicks, Mary Furuness, Cindy Tribuzio, Alan Haynie, Brenda Norcross, Kalei Shotwell, and Chris Siddon.