2015 Groundfish Harvests off Alaska Totaled 2.2 Million Tons

The latest draft federal Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report for groundfish in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands concludes that 2015 groundfish harvests off Alaska totaled 2.2 million tons.

That amount was about equal to the catch in 2014, according to the report prepared for next week’s North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage. Groundfish made up 80 percent of Alaska’s 2015 total catch, which was slightly less than typical because of high Pacific salmon harvests.

Notable increases in catch were observed in the Alaska Pollock, particularly in the Gulf of Alaska, and Atka mackerel fisheries, while the flatfish catch was significantly decreased, the report noted.

The gross value of the 2015 groundfish catch after primary processing (first wholesale) was $2.26 billion, a decrease of 3.6 percent from a year earlier.

Pacific cod fisheries, the second largest by volume in Alaska, with a total catch of 289,000 tons in 2015, saw a decrease of 3 percent from 2014. Decreases in both catch and ex-vessel price had the combined effect of an 8.7 percent decrease in exvessel value to $186 million.

The ex-vessel value of all Alaska domestic fish and shellfish catch, including the amount paid to harvesters for fish caught, and the estimated value of pre-processed fish species caught by catcher processors, decreased from $1,853 million in 2014 to $1,720 million in 2015. The first wholesale value of 2015 groundfish catch after primary processing was $2,262 million.

The 2015 total groundfish catch decreased by 1 percent, and the total first wholesale value dropped by 4 percent, relative to 2014. The complete draft report is online at http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/refm/stocks/plan_team/economic.pdf