The US North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) on Sunday evening approved advisory panel recommendations for an increase in the Alaska pollock quota next year.
The decision means a 1.3 million metric ton total allowable catch (TAC) will be set for the Eastern Bering Sea Alaska pollock fishery, an increase of 17 percent over this year's quota.
The council also approved a recommended lower quota for Eastern Bering Sea Pacific cod of 127,409 metric tons in 2023, nearly 7 percent lower than the Pacific cod TAC in 2022.
For the Aleutian Islands pollock fishery, last year's TAC of 19,000 metric tons will be sustained, but the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod TAC will be dramatically slashed, by 39 percent to 8,425 metric tons.
The council's decision, while still needing approval of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), is effectively final.
A report presented Nov. 10 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the NPFMC planning team recommended an acceptable biological catch (ABC) of Bering Sea pollock of 1.688 million metric tons, a nearly 52 percent increase from the 1.1 million metric ton ABC recommended for the 2022 harvest.
The ABC is the maximum amount of fish stock that can be harvested without impacting the biomass.
The ABC is typically significantly higher than the TAC ultimately approved by the NPFMC when it adopts its recommendations. However, for the 2022 season the ABC and TAC ended up being the same. The TAC ultimately was set 19 percent lower than the year prior.
For 2021, fishery managers recommended an ABC of 1.626 million metric tons, and the council approved a TAC of 1.375 million metric tons.
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