80% Decrease in Catch Limit for 2018
The Pacific cod stock in the Gulf of Alaska has drastically declined. Scientific information suggests that this decline is the result of an unusually warm mass of water (the ‘blob’) that persisted from 2014 through 2016. The warm water increased the metabolism of cod while reducing available food, resulting in poor body condition and increased mortality. The warm water also impacted cod egg production and larval survival, greatly reducing recruitment during these years. The lower number of adult and juvenile cod will affect the population and fishery for several years to come. Management of Gulf of Alaska cod is now focused on maintaining the spawning stock and increasing the likelihood that the fishery will remain viable in the future. Accordingly, catch limits for Pacific cod were set at very low amounts for 2018 and 2019.
At its December 2017 meeting, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council approved a Gulfwide (including State waters) catch limit for cod at 18,000 metric tons (~39.7 million lbs) for 2018. Recognizing that cod fishermen in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska need to quickly get this information to adjust their fishing plans for 2018, the Council is providing the following tables that compare the 2018 catch limits to the 2017 limits by area, fishery and season. 1 State Guideline Harvest Limits (metric tons) 2018 2017 District Jig Pot Total Jig Pot Total.