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MESA: Pelagic Shelf Rockfish Fishery & Assessment

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Dusky rockfish account for 98% of the pelagic shelf rockfish assemblage commercial catch and are caught almost exclusively with bottom trawls. The fishery for pelagic rockfish is concentrated in the Central Gulf of Alaska but also occurs in the Western Gulf, Bering Sea, and Aleutian Island regions. The majority of the pelagic shelf catch is typically harvested by the same trawlers that target Pacific ocean perch and northern rockfish. Annual catches of pelagic shelf rockfish in the Gulf of Alaska have ranged from 1,600 to 4,600 metric tons since the early 1990s.

F/V Unimak Enterprise, an Alaskan rockfish factory trawler
F/V Unimak Enterprise, an Alaskan rockfish factory trawler.

Large catch of rockfish being hauled aboard F/V Unimak Enterprise
Large catch of rockfish being hauled aboard F/V Unimak Enterprise.

Rockfish in Alaska are conservatively managed and although trends in abundance are difficult to discern, itís believed pelagic shelf rockfish stocks in the Gulf of Alaska are healthy and not overfished. Stock assessments are prepared annually for many fish species including those in the pelagic shelf rockfish assemblage. These reports include information regarding estimated population size and status and recommended harvest quotas.


Contact:
Chris Lunsford
Auke Bay Laboratories
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries

Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Pt Lena Loop Rd
Juneau AK 99801
Chris.Lunsford@noaa.gov


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