Assessment of the Walleye Pollock Stock in the Gulf of Alaska
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  • Alternative Title:
    GOA Chapter 1
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    The base model projection of female spawning biomass in 2017 is 363,800 t, which is 54.5% of unfished spawning biomass (based on average post-1977 recruitment) and above B40% (267,000 t), thereby placing GOA pollock in sub-tier “a” of Tier 3. The new survey data for 2016 included the Shelikof Strait acoustic survey, and the ADFG bottom trawl survey. The Shelikof Strait acoustic survey remains at high levels and is consistent with assessment model results. The large and unexplained decline in pollock biomass in the 2015 ADFG survey continued in 2016 with a further 56% percent decline, which is a concern, especially since this time series has been the most stable used in the assessment. Since these low observations are included in the model, the estimated ABCs and OFLs are lower as a result of this declining trend. Although the GOA pollock stock is currently estimated to be at relatively high abundance, it is apparent that we have entered into a period of increased uncertainty regarding future abundance trends. There has been a marked decline in pollock weight at age, a lack of recruitment to the stock for three years, and most of stock consists of a single very strong year class. In 2017, there will be full complement of assessment surveys in the Gulf of Alaska, so it is reasonable to expect that this uncertainty will be reduced when the results of these surveys are available.
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