The Council approved the BSAI Groundfish SAFE report and annual catch limits based on recommendations from its advisory committees. The sum of the total allowable catches (TACs) or quotas for all BSAI groundfish is 2 million t for 2017 and 2018. The TACs were set below the sum of the recommended ABCs. The sum of the recommended ABCs for 2017 and 2018 are 4,013,993 t and 4,214,648 t, respectively. The primary increase from previous years is due to EBS pollock. The abundances of all stocks with the exception of sablefish are projected to be above BMSY or the BMSY proxy of B35% in 2016. Overall, the status of the stocks continues to appear favorable. Nearly all stocks are above their target biomass size (BMSY). The sum of the biomasses for 2017 represents an 9% increase from 2015.
The Council set the annual ABC reserve for three flatfish species, northern rock sole, flathead sole and yellowfin sole. The Council approved the entire ABC surplus as the ABC reserve. This ABC surplus is used to allow for more efficiency in the harvest of these flatfish species. The Council also approved revised PSC limits for crab stocks, Pacific halibut, and herring including apportionments where applicable.
The final BSAI groundfish harvest specifications will be published as a final rule in the Federal Register by late February/early March 2017. They will replace the current 2016 harvest specifications that were adopted by the Council in December 2015. Groundfish specifications for 2017-2018 as well as additional motions related to halibut indicators and consideration in TAC-setting are available on the Council’s website. Staff Contact is Diana Stram.