The Council reviewed the 2019 Alaska Weathervane Scallop SAFE report and specified scallop ABC for the 2019/2020 fishing year at 1.161 million pounds of shucked scallop meats, a level equivalent to 90% of the OFL (1.29 million pounds), based on the ABC control rule in the Scallop FMP. The specification of Scallop OFL and ABC applies to all waters off Alaska, and guideline harvest levels (GHLs) are established by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for each of the State’s scallop registration areas and districts.
According to the Scallop SAFE, total harvest off Alaska in the 2017/18 season was 238,740 lb (108.3 t) of shucked scallop meats, and preliminary harvest for the 2018/19 season is 238,088 lb (108.0 t). These very consistent harvest levels are both about 21% of ABC (1.161 million lb; 527 t). Guideline harvest levels were achieved in roughly half of the State’s scallop districts, specifically Yakutat and District 16 in the Southeast Region, Prince William Sound in the Central Region, and Kodiak Shelikof, Kodiak Southwest, Unimak Bight, and Bering Sea Districts in the Westward Region. Some areas with low productivity were abandoned by the fleet before the GHL was harvested, and these included the Kodiak Northeast and Dutch Harbor districts.
Although recent statewide scallop production levels of 240k lbs. annually are half of what was harvested in the mid-2000s, scallop harvest and revenue has been stable for four years. Additionally, fishery CPUE has been trending up since 2015 driven by increasing catch rates of small scallops in the Yakutat district and the Shelikof, Northeast, and Southwest Kodiak districts. The stock status of Alaska weathervane scallops is not viewed as a conservation concern since scallops are distributed in many areas that have been closed to fishing to protect crab populations.
Staff contact is Jim Armstrong.