New Assessment Shows Abundant Pollock

A new assessment produced by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center shows that the abundance of Alaska Pollock stocks – Alaska’s largest fishery by volume – in the Eastern Bering Sea is quite robust.

According to a draft copy of the assessment prepared for the December meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Anchorage next week.

It is at the council’s December meeting each year that the total allowable catch for groundfish in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands, as well as the Gulf of Alaska, are set.

The recommended acceptable biological catch for Bering Sea Pollock for 2017 is 2,800,000 tons and the recommended ABC for 2018 is 2,979,000 tons.

That compares with last year’s estimated ABC of 2,090,000 tons for 2016 and 2,019,000 tons for 2017.

The projections are based on estimated catches assuming 1,350,000 tons used in place of maximum permissible ABC for 2017 and 2018, biologists said.

New data in this assessment suggests that the above average 2008 year-class is slightly higher than before and that the 2012 year-class also appears to be above average, biologists said.

Alaska Pollock is the dominant species in terms of catch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, accounting for 69 percent of the BSAI’s fishery management plan groundfish harvest and 89 percent of the total Pollock harvest in Alaska.

Retained catch of Pollock increased 2.2 percent to 1.3 million tons in 2015.

BSAI Pollock first-wholesale value was $1.28 billion in 2015, down slightly from $1.3 billion in 2014, but above the 2005-2007 average of $1.25 billion.

Prior to 2008, Pollock catches were high at about 1.4 million tons in the BSAI for an extended period.
The complete draft report is online at