Alaska Pollock TAC up Slightly for BSAI, Down Significantly for GOA

Federal fisheries managers meeting in Anchorage in early December raised the total allowable catch of Alaska Pollock in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands by 5,000 metric tons, while lowering the TAC in the Gulf of Alaska by nearly 50,000 tons.

While the BSAI has a 2 million ton cap on total commercial groundfish harvests, there is no such cap for the Gulf.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Advisory Committee had recommended that the council adopt for the Gulf of Alaska TACS for both Alaska Pollock and Pacific cod that had been adjusted to account for the state water guideline harvest level fisheries for those species.

Council member Craig Cross, of Aleutian Spray Fisheries in Seattle, said it is important that the public and markets understand that the Alaska Pollock TAC in groundfish fisheries was not increased overall for the 2017 fisheries.

“If you looked at just the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, you would say the Pollock TAC is up,” Cross said, “but in reality the entire Alaska Pollock TAC is down by 40,000 metric tons.” While the council increased the Alaska Pollock TAC for the BSAI by about 5,000 MT, they decreased it by almost 50,000 MT in the Gulf, he said.

The overall Eastern Bering Sea 2016 Pollock catch as of Dec. 5 was 1,352,007 MT, while in the Gulf, the latest reports showed a harvest of 172,927 MT from a 2016 TAC of 257,872 MT.

The Pacific cod TAC for the Bering Sea was down from 238,680 MT in 2016 to 223,704 MT in 2017. The overall 2016 catch as of Dec. 5 was 220,039 MT. In the Gulf, the catch stood at 172,927 MT for 2016, out of a TAC of 257,872 MT.

Also in the BSAI, the council approved a 10,000 MT increase in the TAC of yellowfin sole, after the 2016 TAC of 144,000 MT yielded a harvest of 128,236 MT, and boosted the TAC for Greenland turbot from 2,873 MT to 4,500 MT, after a harvest of 2,205 MT.

The TAC for Pacific Ocean perch, with a harvest of 30,408 MT, rose from 31,900 MT to 34,900 MT, and the TAC for northern rockfish, for which there was a harvest of 4,532 MT, rose from 4,500 MT to 5,000 MT.