Ups and downs for Alaska cod and pollock

Article from National Fishermen

By Laine Welch  October 18, 2018

Quotas for next year’s groundfish fisheries reflect ups and downs for Alaska’s key species —  pollock and cod — and the stocks appear to be heading north to colder waters.

The bulk of Alaska’s landings come from waters federal waters. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council reviews stock assessments for groundfish each October, sets preliminary catches for the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, and updates them as new data become available.

If the proposals get the go-ahead in December, the Bering Sea pollock TAC will increase slightly to nearly 1.4 million metric tons, or over 3 billion pounds of pollock.

For Pacific cod, the Bering Sea TAC could be reduced to 350 million pounds, a drop of 64 million pounds from this year.

The cod numbers might change as a result of big differences between the 2017 and 2018 survey results in southeastern and northern waters, where large numbers of fish appear to be migrating. Over the year, the cod biomass dropped 21 percent in the southern region but increased 95 percent in the northern area.

The northern cod are genetically similar to the southern cod, making it unlikely that the fish hail from Russia or the Gulf of Alaska, said NOAA research biologist Ingrid Spies in a presentation to the council last week.

The numbers are more straightforward for pollock and cod in the Gulf of Alaska and reflect declines for both species. The proposed pollock quota shows a 34 percent drop to 228 million pounds, down 118 million pounds from this year. For Gulf cod, next year’s quota is likely to be down 5.5 percent to 27.2 million pounds, a decline of 1.6 million pounds.

One of the brightest Gulf of Alaska findings is the continuing upward trend of blackcod seen over several years. The preliminary sablefish quota for 2019 was boosted by 40 percent to nearly 36 million pounds.


The Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union will likely advocate for at least the 2018 Sablefish status quo levels for the 2019 season.

Plan on listening into the Groundfish Joint Plan Team meeting starting at 9:45 PST by calling the WebEx/call-in number for the Joint Plan Team on Tuesday or any of the other groundfish-related meetings the remainder of the week.

BSAI Groundfish Plan Team

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

8:45 am  |  Pacific Standard Time |  9 hrs

Meeting number: 285 530 808

Meeting password: v6GKbhuf

When it's time, join the meeting.

Join by phone:

Conference Phone Number: 1-877-953-6215

Host Passcode: 1259153

Participant Passcode: 4546455


 BSAI Groundfish Plan Team

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

8:45 am  |  Pacific Standard Time  |  9 hrs

Meeting number: 286 653 646

Meeting password: QrAX8Dn6

 When it's time, join the meeting.

Join by phone

Conference Phone Number: 1-877-953-6215

Host Passcode: 1259153

Participant Passcode: 4546455


 BSAI Groundfish Plan Team

Thursday, November 15, 2018

8:45 am  |  Pacific Standard Time |  9 hrs

Meeting number: 285 299 667

Meeting password: 7vZrju29

When it's time, join the meeting.

Join by phone

Conference Phone Number: 1-866-762-1812

Host Passcode: 3157976

Participant Passcode: 5367175


 BSAI Groundfish Plan Team

Friday, November 16, 2018

8:45 am  |  Pacific Standard Time |  9 hrs

Meeting number: 285 583 594

Meeting password: pVBJ9Ypd

When it's time, join the meeting.

Join by phone

Conference Phone Number: 1-877-953-6215

Host Passcode: 1259153

Participant Passcode: 4546455


Check out the Sablefish Assessment link below:

Direct link to 2018 draft sablefish assessment:

https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/refm/stocks/plan_team/2018/sablefish.pdf

Links to the rest of the draft assessments:

https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/refm/stocks/plan_team/2018/NovDraftDocs_2018.htm