Sablefish Stock Assessment

On November 14,2016, I attended the much anticipated Groundfish Plan Team meeting  held at the NOAA Western Regional Center in the Alaska Fisheries Science Center building on Sand Point Way in Seattle. Although the Plan Team meeting covers many different species of fish, the predominant draw for myself and other Union members is the annual stock assessment for black cod or sablefish. In recent years the stock assessment for black cod has not been favorable and as a result, our Total Allowable Catch or TAC has declined. However, at the most recent meeting the stock assessment conducted during the 2016 fishing season  appears to not only become healthier for the upcoming 2017 fishing season, but models show a positive trend in the near future. The Plan Team suggested a 14% increase in the black cod TAC across the board, but for the first time in their stock assessment, the effects of killer and sperm whale predation are being considered. As a result, the black cod TAC is said to be going up by 12% across all regulatory areas. In my opinion we have a bright future on our horizon!