The Council reviewed the 2021 Alaska Weathervane Scallop SAFE report and specified scallop ABC for the 2021/2022 fishing year at 1.156 million pounds (524 t) of shucked scallop meats, a level equivalent to 90% of OFL, which is 1.284 million pounds (582 t). The federal specification of scallop OFL and ABC applies to all waters off Alaska, while guideline harvest levels (GHLs) for the State’s scallop registration areas and districts are established by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
To reduce review time, the Scallop Plan Team prepared an abbreviated SAFE report this year while still providing the most recent information on stock status, scallop harvest, and socioeconomic conditions. According to the Scallop SAFE report, total harvest off Alaska in the 2019/20 season was 246,900 lb (112 t) of shucked scallop meats, and preliminary harvest for the 2020/21 season is 226,130 lb (103 t). Guideline harvest levels were achieved in the Kodiak Northeast, Kodiak Shelikof, and Kodiak Southwest districts. COVID precautions limited air travel for scallop crew members and left scallop beds in Dutch Harbor unfished by the fleet.
Restaurant demand for scallops was greatly reduced in 2020 and scallop prices were down by 7%. These factors, and the travel restrictions that limited harvest, contributed to the lowest total first wholesale revenue historically at $2.359 million. Port landings of scallops in Alaska were limited to Kodiak and Yakutat.
Since OFL and ABC have not changed for the scallop fishery for several years, the SSC discussed setting multi-year specifications, as is done for some stocks in the groundfish and crab SAFE reports. The Council cannot follow that model yet for scallops since the SAFE report must still be produced every year. To address this, the Council may consider an FMP amendment that would allow the scallop SAFE to be prepared less frequently and would facilitate multiyear specifications of scallop OFL/ABC.
Staff contact is Jim Armstrong.