Alaska/Pacific Coast

AP Recommends Modest Increases in Pollock, POP, and Sablefish TACs in Bering Sea
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – December 7, 2017
The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council will not adopt final catch limits until Friday or Saturday, but so far the Advisory Panel has recommended a 19,000 met increase in the pollock TAC for 2018 to 1,383,841 mt. That total includes the Aleutian Islands and Bogoslof; the recommendation for the Bering Sea alone is 1,364,341.

The AP also recommended an increase for sablefish of nearly 15% to 3,452 mt for the upcoming season.

The council sets TACs for over 20 different commercial species in the BSAI, balancing TACs against population stock size and working within a statutory requirement to keep total catch at a ceiling of exactly 2 million metric tons each year.

With a 15% drop in Pacific-cod Allowable Biological Catch (ABC), the AP’s recommendation for the 2018 TAC was reduced by more than 35 mt to 204,101 mt.

Pacific-cod’s 2017 TAC was 239,399 mt. As of Nov. 27, actual catch was 206,952 mt.

The 19,000 mt added to the recommended pollock TAC for 2018 was a 1.5% increase from last year’s TAC of 1,364,500 mt.

Even with the increase, the pollock TAC (recommended) still keeps the total pollock take close to its traditional two-thirds of all of the BSAI output. if the council approves the AP’s recommendations, pollock will take 69% by weight of all BSAI commercial fish landings.

Pacific Ocean Perch’s recommended TAC for 2018 was 74,722 mt, up almost 5,000 mt from last year.

Northern rockfish TAC was recommended to be higher by 22% to 6,100 mt. Atka mackerel’s TAC recommendation was up 9% to 142,000 mt.

In the flatfish category, arrowtooth flounder saw a 3% decrease in recommended TAC to 13,621 mt.

Yellowfin sole, the third largest  speices by volume in the BSAI, remained at 154,000 mt for 2018.

TAC recommendations for Greenland turbot (10,588 mt, up almost 18% from last year’s 9,000 mt), flathead sole (up by 500 mt to 14,500 mt), Alaska plaice (up 24% to 16,100 mt) and “other flatfish” (up 60% to 4,000 mt) were all increased over last year.

The Advisory Panel was still working on Gulf of Alaska TAC-setting late Wednesday. The GOA saw a stunning downturn in Pacific cod stocks this year, making the TAC setting process even more complicated.

Recommendations from the AP on that area will be submitted to the Council Thursday.

The Council takes up groundfish specifications Friday morning.

Report identifies ways to rejuvenate Alaska’s commercial fishing fleet by Paula Dobbyn – December 6, 2017
A new report on Alaska’s aging fishing fleet and loss of access to commercial fisheries in rural communities recommends five steps to reverse these troubling trends.

Modest harvests in Southeast’s red king crab fishery
KFSK by Angela Denning – December 6, 2017
This fall’s commercial fishery for red king crab in Southeast Alaska was the first opening in six years. Initial data that’s been collected shows modest harvests in the strictly managed fishery. KFSK’s Angela Denning reports:

Age of Alaska’s fishermen on the rise
KUTT by Jack Carney – December 6, 2017
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – The state’s fishing population is aging according to those at Alaska’s Young Fishermen’s Summit at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage.–462426193.html

Alaska Board of Fisheries backs proposed Dutch Harbor grab of Togiak herring quota
Board generated proposal 236 aims to shift three percent of allowable harvest of herring stock from Togiak sac roe fishery to Dutch Harbor food and bait quota. “I’m dumbfounded as to why they would circumvent the public process,” said Frank Woods, Togiak herring gillnetter and Nushagak Fish and Game Advisory chairman.
KDLG by Dave Bendinger – December 6, 2017
A regulatory change proposed by Alaska’s Board of Fisheries would shift the dates of the Dutch Harbor food and bait fishery to align closer with the timing of the run, according to one of just a few seiners who participate. Proposal 236 would also end the specific allocation to a gill net fleet that does not participate anymore, a move no one has thus far objected to. But the board generated proposal, backed by Chairman John Jensen, would also shift three percent of the allowable harvest quota from Togiak to Dutch Harbor.

2018 forecasts out for Stikine, Taku kings
Cordova Times – December 6, 2017
Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game say preseason forecasts for Chinook salmon returning to the Stikine and Taku rivers in Southeast Alaska in 2018 are below the escapement goal range and will not provide for an allowable catch in the U.S. or Canada.


Flying fish: Alaska Air Cargo eases concerns about decreased carrying capacity for seafood
National Fisherman by Jessica Hathaway – December 5, 2017
Alaska Air Cargo’s presentation was one of the highlights of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s All Hands on Deck meeting in Anchorage last week.

Fishing fellow wants to tell the stories of Homer fishermen
KBBI by Renee – December 5, 2017
The Alaska Marine Conservation Council and the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network are welcoming their inaugural class of young fishing fellows. The non-profits created the fellowship to support the next generation of fishing leaders by providing mentorship, support and hands-on learning through fisheries-related projects. Current Homer resident Jamie O’Connor is one of the five people chosen for the fellowship.

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December 7, 2017