Chatham Sablefish Quota Announced

The 2012 NSEI Subdistrict commercial sablefish fishery annual harvest objective (AHO) is 975,000 round pounds. There are 79 valid Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) permits for this fishery, four less than in 2011; therefore the individual equal quota share (EQS) will be 12,342 round pounds (a 16% increase from the 2011 EQS of 10,602 round pounds). The AHO is based on the sablefish acceptable biological catch (ABC) with decrements made for sablefish mortality in other fisheries.

The fishery opens by regulation at 8:00 a.m., August 15, 2012 and will close at 12:00 noon November 15, 2012. Permit holders should have received a letter detailing any legal overage or underage incurred during the 2011 fishing season (up to 5% of the 2011 EQS) and a permit holder’s 2012 personal quota share (PQS) will be adjusted based on this amount. Permit holders who did not receive that letter should contact Kamala Carroll at (907) 747-6688.

NSEI sablefish abundance has historically been estimated with a mark-recapture project. During 2011 the tagging event did not occur due to mechanical failure of the contracted survey vessel. In the absence of a tagging event, sablefish abundance could not be estimated using 2011 mark-recapture data. Instead, exploitable sablefish abundance (numbers of fish) in 2011 was assumed to be the same as 2010 and exploitable biomass for 2012 was forecast using methods similar to those employed in previous years. The ABC increased 11% in 2012 (1,160,674 round pounds) relative to the 2011 ABC (1,046,873 round pounds). The increase in 2012 ABC from the 2011 level was due primarily to updated sablefish length, age, and maturity data used in the harvest rate calculation and biomass forecast, and minor refinements in calculation methodology. The F50% biological reference point (BRP) was used for calculating the ABC in 2012, resulting in a harvest rate of 7.5%.

Don’t forget there are new regulations for sablefish from the Board of Fish meetings this winter including:
5 AAC 28.110(c). The department is no longer required to randomly select from a pool of interested permit holders when authorizing the take of sablefish outside of established fishing seasons for research purposes. Removal of the random selection process will streamline the procedure for participation of permit holders in department sablefish longline surveys.
5 AAC 28.170(g). Permit holders in the SSEI sablefish fishery are required to retain all visibly injured or dead sablefish. Sablefish that are not visibly injured or dead may be released unharmed, but the permit holder must record live releases, by individual set, in a logbook.
5 AAC 28.180(a). A vessel or person onboard a vessel from which commercial, subsistence, or personal use longline fishing gear was used to take fish in the NSEI or SSEI Subdistricts during the 72-hour period immediately before the start of the commercial sablefish fishery in that subdistrict, or from which that gear will be used during the 24-hour period immediately after the closure of the commercial sablefish fishery in that subdistrict, may not participate in the taking of sablefish in that subdistrict during that open Eastern Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Regulations page 2 of 2 June 26, 2012

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