The annual Groundfish Stock Assessment and Fisheries Evaluation (SAFE) Economic Status Report is produced by staff of the Economic and Social Sciences Research Program (ESSRP) at the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC). Refer to the most recent year’s Economic Status Report for staff contact information.

Data in the SAFE tables and SAFE .csv files are aggregated to satisfy requirements for public disclosure of fisheries data–in general, three entities reporting for federal fisheries data and four entities reporting for State of Alaska data. A value of ‘-9999’ indicates a confidential value that does not meet the threshold for public disclosure.

Overview

Prohibited-species catch (PSC) refers to catch of species that groundfish vesselS are prohibited from to targeting and retaining due to their economic value in non-groundfish fisheries. Managers of the groundfish fisheries off Alaska have prohibited retention of Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis), king and tanner crab (Chionoecetes, Lithodes and Paralithodes spp.), Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), and Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) since the days when the fisheries were prosecuted mostly by foreign fleets. These prohibitions are designed to ensure that groundfish fishermen have no incentive to target these species.

Tables 11 - 15 of the groundfish Economic Status Report present estimates of PSC and PSC rates in the groundfish fisheries off Alaska. These data come from estimates assembled and maintained by the NMFS Alaska Regional Office (AKR) in the Alaska Catch Accounting System (CAS). Detail on catch estimation procedures are available in Cahalan et al. (2014). The Alaska Fisheries Information Network provides access to AKR’s PSC data in the COUNCIL.COMPREHENSIVE_PSC database table.

PSC catch and catch rates are reported separately for red king crab (Paralithodes camtschatica) and other king crab, with the latter category including blue king crab (Paralithodes platypus) and golden king crab (Lithodes aequispina). Similarly, PSC catch and rates are reported separately for bairdi tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) and other tanner crab, which is mostly (if not exclusively) snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio). For salmon, PSC catch and rates are reported separately by chinook (king) salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and other salmon, of which chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) is caught as PSC in the largest numbers.

PSC amounts for halibut and herring are reported by weight (metric tons) and for other species by counts (numbers of animals). The PSC rate is calculated as the PSC catch divided by total round weight of groundfish catch–hence, metric tons per metric ton (mT/mT) for halibut and herring and number of animals per metric ton (count/mT) for other prohibited species.

Halibut PSC is given in terms of halibut mortality; halibut mortality rates generated every three years by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) based on the estimated condition of halibut sampled by fisheries observers (Williams 2012). For all other PSC species, the mortality rate is assumed to be 100%.

References:
Cahalan, J., J. Gasper, and J. Mondragon. 2014. Catch sampling and estimation in the federal groundfish fisheries off Alaska, 2015 edition. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-286, 46 p. Available at: http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/Publications/AFSC-TM/NOAA-TM-AFSC-286.pdf

Williams, G.H. 2012. Recommendations for Pacific halibut discard mortality rates in the 2013-2015 groundfish fisheries off Alaska. Int. Pac. Halibut Comm. Report of Assessment and Research Activities 2012: 337-354. Available at: http://www.iphc.int/publications/rara/2012/rara2012337_dmr.pdf

Tables 11 - 15

Source: NMFS Alaska Region Blend and Catch-accounting System estimates. Data compiled and provided by the Alaska Fisheries Information Network (AKFIN). National Marine Fisheries Service, P.O. Box 15700, Seattle, WA 98115-0070.

Table 11 reports total PSC in the federally managed commercial groundfish fisheries off Alaska by species, area and gear. Refer to the data-dictionary table at the end of this document for breakdowns of the areas, species and gear types for which catch is reported.

Tables 12 and 13 report PSC in the federally managed groundfish fisheries off Alaska by species, gear and groundfish target fishery for the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI), respectively.

Tables 14 and 15 report PSC rates in the federally managed groundfish fisheries off Alaska by species, gear and target fishery for the GOA and BSAI, respectively. As described above, we define the PSC rate as the PSC catch divided by total round weight of groundfish catch.

NOTE: The CSV files of Table 12 - 15 data report PSC catch (weights or counts, depending on the species) and total round weight of groundfish (the “groundfish basis weight” used to calculate PSC rates). We leave it to you to calculate PSC rates by dividing PSC catch by total groundfish weight. You may also aggregate these data across areas, gear types or targets, while summing PSC estimates and groundfish weight, and calculate PSC rates for the aggregated data.

NOTE: In general, the AKR assigns the target to the species that had the largest amount of retained catch (for the haul, trip or time period). There are two exceptions to this rule:

  1. If the total catch of pollock is at least 95% of the total groundfish catch (excluding prohibited species and other non-target species), then the AKR assigns the “mid-water pollock” target. If pollock had the largest amount of retained catch but did not meet the 95% threshold, then the general rule assigns the “bottom pollock” target.
  2. In the BSAI, if the combined retained catch of flathead sole (FSOL), rock sole (RSOL), yellowfin sole (YSOL) and other flatfish (FLAT) is the largest amount of retained catch, then
    1. If the retained catch of YSOL is at least 70% of the combined retained catch of FSOL, RSOL, YSOL and FLAT, then the AKR assigns a YSOL target;
    2. Otherwise, the greatest of FSOL, RSOL or FLAT is the target fishery.

Data fields and descriptions

Column Name Description Values Translation
year Calendar year
zone Numeric area code 5 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
6 Gulf of Alaska
fmp_area FMP area BSAI Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
GOA Gulf of Alaska
gearcode Code for gear used to land catch HAL Hook-and-line
POT Pot
TWL Trawl
gear Translation of gear code
targcode Code for target species A Atka mackerel
B Bottom pollock
C Pacific cod
D GOA deep-water flatfish
E Alaska plaice flounder - BSAI
F BSAI other flatfish
H GOA shallow-water flatfish
I Halibut
K Rockfish
L Flathead sole
M Kamchatka flounder - BSAI
O Other species
P Midwater pollock
R Rock sole - BSAI
S Sablefish
T BSAI Greenland turbot
W Arrowtooth flounder
X GOA rex sole
Y BSAI yellowfin sole
Z No retained catch
NULL Other or unknown
target Translation of target code
groundfish_mt Round weight of groundfish catch in metric tons
herring_mt Prohibited-species catch (PSC) of herring (metric tons)
red_king_crab_1000s PSC of red king crab (thousands of animals)
red_king_crab_count PSC of red king crab (number of animals)
other_king_crab_1000s PSC of other king crab (thousands of animals)
other_king_crab_count PSC of other king crab (number of animals)
bairdi_crab_1000s PSC of bairdi tanner crab (thousands of animals)
bairdi_crab_count PSC of bairdi tanner crab (number of animals)
other_tanner_crab_1000s PSC of other tanner crab (thousands of animals)
other_tanner_crab_count PSC of other tanner crab (number of animals)
chinook_salmon_1000s PSC of chinook salmon (thousands of animals)
chinook_salmon_count PSC of chinook salmon (number of animals)
other_salmon_1000s PSC of other salmon (thousands of animals)
other_salmon_count PSC of other salmon (number of animals)
halibut_mt PSC of halibut (metric tons)
halibut_mortality_mt PSC halibut mortality (metric tons)